Ben Pope wants to change folks' minds about Chinese food in Westchester.
And so, along with his partner, Erikka Hunter, the co-owner of Heart to Hand Healing Center in Tarrytown, he's opened Mr. Koo's Kitchen in Irvington, a whimsical, authentic Cantonese eatery.
The format of the cuisine is Chinese family-style, meaning food is served in small plates with large plates designed for the table.
"Dining to me is about community and sharing great moments together over a meal," he said. "Have a bottle a wine, hold onto a menu in case you want to try some other dishes, stay awhile and enjoy yourself."
Among the items on the menu: cold smoked duck breast with pickled lotus root and seared rice cakes with hot Chinese mustard, Cantonese latkes with a charred radicchio slaw; and braised pork belly with lotus root chip and Meyer lemon chutney.
As the former Executive Chef/Partner at 2 Duck Goose in Gowanus, Brooklyn, a 2015 Zagat top newcomer as well as"Best Restaurant in Gowanus" by The Village Voice, Pope knows food. And atmosphere.
The decor of his new Rivertowns place is inspired by the lagoon of New Caledonia where he spent his youth
Said the Chef/Owner, who trained with the French Culinary Institute/International Culinary Center: "I' m looking to show Westchester that there is more to Chinese cuisine beyond the greasy spoon style eateries many have come to know."
Many of the dishes on the menu are inspired by his grandfather, the original Mr. Koo, though with 2017 updates and whimsey.
Mr. Koo's Kitchen had its soft opening Wednesday, Oct. 11 and is open to the public with a limited menu that will expand in the next few weeks.
It is located at 100 Main St., 914-231-9567, www.mrkooskitchen.com .
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.