Brickell Chinese restaurant Da Tang Unique is to reopen in three months following a revamp of its kitchen to expand its menu and handle higher volume, according to its ownership company.
Yet whether the place can attract more clientele remains to be soon. A notice on its Yelp listing said it plans to resume business April 30.
The 3-month-old restaurant abruptly shuttered late last week after its owner, Shanjie Li, decided it couldn't remain open while undergoing necessary work, according to American Da Tang Group Vice President David Ju.
"We want the kitchen to be ready and effective," Ju said. "Even if we were busy, it couldn't have handled it."
The closure came after New Times twice visited the restaurant for this week's review, finding an opulent setting and flavorful cuisine reflective of the real China but few customers. During an email exchange, the restaurant's general manager, Alan Huang, did not mention its impending closure. Among the offerings was Alaskan sea cucumber meat stir-fried with snap peas in a funky Malaysian sauce built on fermented shrimp paste. But the outlandish dishes, perhaps welcomed by Li and potential Chinese investors, apparently wasn't a hit with locals.
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Ju said the kitchen will install vast steamer tables, allowing for the production of more dumplings, such as the translucent-skinned, shrimp-filled har gow, others with Chinese chives, and Shanghai soup dumplings. The dinner menu will grow to list more seafood dishes to cater to the local crowd, though traditional items such as abalone and cured baby octopus will remain.
"There is so much available to us here in Florida — we should be using it," Ju said.
Yet whether the place will in fact reopen remains to be seen. "Closed for remodeling" is often a tack that failing restaurants take to avoid admitting outright closure. For Da Tang's part, Ju said the plans for an expanded kitchen will require permitting and thus more time. The restaurant also had a bare-bones staff of about 15 at the time it closed. Head chef Kang Liu will remain onboard, Ju said. The rest had been given some notice it would shutter and would be welcome back when Da Tang unique reopens, he added.