Restaurant: Queen’s English

Debbie and I, along with Amy and Peter, went to Queen’s English on a Saturday night.

The restaurant first opened on April 10, 2019 and is co-owned by Chef Henji Cheung and his spouse, Sarah Thompson, who told us that she was also a chef at an earlier time. During the day, Sarah helps with the food prep and then when the restaurant is open, she manages the dining room.

Henji was born in Hong Kong and while he came to the United States when he was 8 and moved to Brooklyn, his English has a British twang. Along the way when Sarah critiques him for something he says incorrectly, he suggests he is using the “Queen’s English” and thus the name of the restaurant.

The cuisine is best described as Modern Hong Kong.

It is unusual to say the following early in a write up, but in this case, it fits. The food is interesting and tasty, and the service is first rate and friendly. It is well worth future visits.

There is a partition at shoulder-height just inside the door where a greeter welcomes you and determines whether you have a reservation. (The restaurant encourages walk-ins.) Directly behind that partition is the largest table in the restaurant, an oval that seats up to six. Directly ahead at the back of the restaurant is an open kitchen with a chef’s counter that seats six.

To the left and right of the front door are tables that seat up to 4 people in an alcove on a wooden banquette. On the left wall is a wooden banquette seating four 2-tops that can be combined. On the right wall is a wooden banquette seating six 2-tops that can be combined.

Our server (unhappily I did not get her name) was extremely well informed and has worked at the restaurant since shortly after it opened. When I commented about how much she knew about the menu and various options, she explained to us that she had gone thru a week-long training session before hitting the floor of the restaurant. And there are weekly reviews including updates on Hong Kong politics.

The items on the menu, which are written in English and Chinese, are divided into three sections that are not specifically identified as such.

There are appetizers, midsize plates and large plates. We quickly decided to share everything we ordered.

Celtuce & Cucumber – smoked trout roe, red vinegar, garlic
Chili Cockles – minced pork, anaheims, ggs
Stuffed Tofu Skin – chicken, shrimp, scallop, cabbage

Midsize plates
Twice cooked lamb rib – Chinese 5 spice, pickled onion (orders)
Bok Choy – Sarah’s xo sauce

Large plates
Drunken Duck Leg – charred scallion, bean sprouts
Crispy Rice – dried shrimp Shitake, pea & carrot

Dessert – There was only a single choice.
Sweet rice dumpling, salted cardamom, toasted cashews, sesame seeds, sea salt

Cocktails, Beer, Cider, Fizz, various wines. Mexican Coca-Cola, in glass bottles, is made with cane sugar rather than the high-fructose corn syrup that is used in the United States. There was one non-alcoholic sweet drink which I enjoyed. There are no other soft drinks and no iced tea. There is hot tea which is served in decorative pots.

By my count there were 12 people working in the restaurant the night we were there, five in the kitchen, one bartender, one of the owners working the front of the house, one greeter and four servers

Some of the written pieces about the restaurant say that it does not take reservations. That is not the case. Reservations four weeks out become available each Tuesday at 11 a.m., but only online.

On August 10th, Debbie was able to make a 6:30 p.m. reservation for 4 people on September 7th. A credit card is required but the reservation can be cancelled up to 48 hours ahead, if cancelled with less notice, there is a small fee.

There are two unisex WCs. (I am assuming they are identical.)

The walls and the floor are covered in black vertical tiles. There is a small wooden table on which is placed a large round red bowl with flower decorations. Above the bowl there is a large mirror and a silver water spigot with handle. Next to the bowl is a pile of paper towels.

To the left of the washbasin is a white floor-standing commode.

The ceiling is covered with a variety of painted figures, flowers etc.

Across from commode is a very fancy waste basket by a stand which holds five rolls of toilet paper. The door across from the wash basin is heavy dark wood.

The restaurant is closed Sunday and Monday.
Tuesday – Thursday 5:30 – 10 pm [Thursday the least busy night]
Friday & Saturday 5:30 – 11 pm

Queen’s English
3410 11th St, NW
Washington, DC 20010
There is no telephone number