What in the world would spur a restaurateur to open a new eatery during a global pandemic? In the case of Michael Lee of Lee Tai Tai Asian Bistro, which opened last Friday in Ashburn, he simply couldn’t wait any longer. The opening was first reported by local news site, The Burn. The restaurant on Belmont Chase Drive was originally slated to debut in March, but COVID-19 delayed it. “My staff was getting itchy,” Lee says of finally pulling the trigger and beginning to serve takeout last week. “Hopefully the governor will let us have the main dining room open soon because I am bored.”
Business is slow for now, but Lee is convinced that Lee Tai Tai has what it takes to make it. After all, he is already owner of Grace’s Steak & Seafood and Grace’s Mandarin, both across the border in Maryland. Lee Tai Tai follows its predecessors in its concept of upscale Asian fusion. Chef Lee explains, “Everything is different from your normal Chinese. It’s a little unconventional; that’s why it’s fusion. It’s tough to explain the flavors until you try it.”
Those flavors include showstoppers portioned for groups. Peking duck is one example, as is an additional crispy duck dish, whole lobster in XO sauce, a deep-fried salt-and-pepper whole fish and a grilled rack of lamb. Lee, a Hong Kong native who attended the Culinary Institute of America, is proud to say that he himself eats globally. Why shouldn’t his customers dine with diversity in his own restaurant?
Because Lee Tai Tai is geared toward groups—it seats 190—Lee says that it won’t make sense to open for dine-in service when he only has room for about 20 people outdoors. Instead, he’ll continue to offer takeout and wait for Virginia’s phase two of reopening. // 19890 Belmont Chase Drive, Ashburn
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