Way back in January we talked to chef-owner Henry Liu about his plans to open Kung Pow!, his spicy spinoff restaurant to NE Broadway's Shandong. He mentioned he had hired an artist to paint a mural on one wall. "It's a cool little scene," he said.
Little? No. Cool? Definitely. Designed and painted by local artist Dom Cardoso, who works at Laika animation studio, the 20-foot by 14-foot painting took a full three months to complete, with help from five other artists.
Cardoso also painted the giant fortune cookie on the wall, which gets a new message every day, and created the signs inside and out, as well as the intricate Chinese gate near the door.
Liu's wife, Marie Liu, designed the space, which has an energetic, urban vibe thanks to the street-scene mural, of course, as well as the neon sign and giant parade dragon popping against the sleek, neutral interior.
Liu's menu includes a few Shandong favorites, like hand-cut noodles and Shandong beef, but it's mostly a brand-new lineup of spicy dishes that make liberal use of chiles and tingly Szechuan peppercorns, including sweet and spicy fish balls, lamb bao bing, and wontons in Szechuan chile oil. There's also a full bar with a signature cocktail menu of drinks named for the signs of the Chinese zodiac, plus local wines (including Teutonic riesling) and cider (from Reverend Nat's), all selected to pair with the food.
Kung Pow! is open for dinner and take-out from 5-10 p.m. this week. Lunch hours will be added on Monday, May 18. And soon, he'll add late night hours Thursday through Saturday.
Kung Pow: 500 NW 21st Ave., 503-208-2173