Openings and Closings

Dragon Palace opens in the former home of Al Bae Nae

Though Korean barbecue joints are everywhere, Korean fried chicken is surprisingly hard to come by in this town. So I was really excited to sing the praises of the glorious, crisp-skinned Korean fried chicken I'd found -- at long last -- at Al Bae Nae, a Korean street food place in an Aurora strip mall.

And then, just before I wrote the review, the joint closed.

Al Bae Nae owner Stephen Lee -- who also owns Q Table BBQ with his sister and James and Lily Kwon, owners of Seoul BBQ, which is located in the same Havana strip mall -- told us then that new owners had already purchased the space and, with a few changes, would open a new restaurant quickly.

True to his word, the turnaround took just a couple of weeks. Last Friday, Dragon Palace opened its doors at the same address.

And like Lee, new owner Jae Han, who's a native of Korea, is also connected to the Kwons: He once managed Seoul BBQ.

But he won't be serving Korean food, fried chicken or otherwise. "It's Mandarin cuisine from northern China," he explains. "It's not much different from Hunan Chinese restaurants, but it's more spicy."

Guess I'll have to keep looking for Korean fried chicken.

If you're after Mandarin cuisine, though, Dragon Palace is open for lunch and dinner.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk