Cheu Fishtown is nontraditionally delicious.
It’s Asian fusion — I spotted elements of Japanese, Korean, Middle Eastern, Burmese, Thai and Indian cuisines on the relatively small menu. There are Jewish influences, too, including brisket and matzo balls.
The signature party plate, called Bubbie Chow’s Sliced Beef is a delish-mash. But Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh’s third Philly venture (following on the heels of the uber popular CHeU Noodle Bar in Washington Square West and Bing Bing Dim Sum in East Passyunk) is yet another hit.
I lunched there one sunny Friday and found the dishes unique, delicious and unapologetically non-traditional. A note to kosher diners: The menu does feature several pork dishes. These are easily avoided and there are numerous beef, duck, tuna, chicken, vegetarian and gluten-free options.
We started with the green curry chicken wontons, a half-dozen beautifully spiced and sauced dumplings topped with a long crispy spiral of daikon, crushed peanuts, crispy shallots and a gloriously spicy curry sauce.
I then enjoyed the brisket ramen, a generous bowl of exquisitely spiced red chili broth generously laden with perfectly cooked noodles, a fluffy matzo ball and three slices of tender brisket.
Kimchi added a piquant crunch and an unexpected tang, which I loved. When the dish arrived, I announced that I would be taking half of it home for dinner, such was the bounty of the portion. However, such was the yumminess of its contents, there was nary a drop left to box up when the waiter returned.
My companion had the coconut curry ramen with tofu. The broth was divine, a rich and spicy peanut sambal, replete with noodles, tofu, daikon, cilantro and basil leaves. She was considerably more restrained than I, and she took half of her lunch home for dinner.
There is an impressive bar and cocktail menu offering interesting combinations of spirits, juices, and flavors.
The “Check the Rhyme” caught my eye — a combination of vodka, oolong tea and hibiscus orangeade — but seeing as it was lunchtime and I had to return to work afterward, I stuck with water. The beer list varies seasonally, and there is a daily juice and special tea selection. It’s not a major wine place — the menu offers “house” and “better” in red, white and rose.
Daily happy hours (Monday through Friday 5 to 7 p.m. and weekends 3 to 4 p.m.) provide a solid value. Food selections including wings, salad or buns are offered for $5, and drink special range from $1 off beers to a $6 cocktail of the day and $12 pitchers of Sapporo.
If you go:
Address: 1416 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia 19125
Hours: Monday through Thursday 12 to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday 12 to 3 p.m. and 5 to 11p.m.; Saturday 12 to 11 p.m.; and Sunday 12 to 10 p.m.