The historic Old City area can now add a new sleek and chic restaurant and lounge concept to its impressive venue repertoire. Mei Mei, a Taiwanese eatery and progressive hangout destination is opening its doors this week in the City of Brotherly Love, and Philadelphians are really in for a treat.
The new space honors the family traditions of owner and Executive Chef Jay Ho with flavorful dishes, refreshing cocktails and an aesthetic that transports you out of Philadelphia and into a lustrous world of the debonair.
Mei Mei was designed and inspired by a plethora of unique elements, and features cherry blossoms, velvet wall panels, hues of pink and purple and a wall of lucky cats. The upstairs seats around 90 people with a variety of tables, booths and bar seats that resembles the smart “street style” of Taiwanese culture. To put that in more visual terms, everywhere you look when dining or cocktailing at Mei Mei will be a feast for your eyes—you’ll feel like you are in an exclusive club after your very first steps through the door.
Downstairs is a different (but still impressive) story. The exclusivity mentioned above about the upstairs is tenfold when you wander down to the lounge. The lounge also has a bar and features more comfortable and relaxed styled seating—the space is perfect for groups, or even as a date spot. The intimacy is one of the biggest draws, and the ultramodern vibe helps seal the deal of Mei Mei being worth a visit. The downstairs area can hold about 25 people and can be enjoyed by reservation only.
The atmosphere certainly offers a lot for guests, but the menu is the true star of Mei Mei. The new hotspot offers a modern twist on traditional Asian dishes. Delectable highlights include miso caesar salad, scallion pancakes with sweet soy-braised pork belly, Peking duck bao buns, Korean fried chicken wings, miso crusted sea bass, Taiwanese style Hunan beef, Mei Mei fried rice with Taiwanese sausage and plenty of other modern Asian dishes and twists on classic and favorite options. Guests can pair their meal with an assortment of choices from Mei Mei’s comprehensive cocktail list. The choices highlight traditional and noticeable Asian ingredients including yuzu, wasabi and sesame, plus batched drinks and punches such as Polynesian inspired drinks and Mai Tai’s. The food and drinks go perfectly with the vibe and aesthetic of Mei Mei.
The full menu will be offered upstairs, while the lounge downstairs will feature a rotating food and bar menu.
Mei Mei is a labor of love for chef/owner Jay Ho. According to the release, Ho was raised in the kitchen and wanted to bring this experience and culinary vision to life with cuisine that honors his traditional Taiwanese upbringing with a touch of modern flavor. After moving to America with his family in 1978, Jay began cooking with his father after school at just eight years old at a restaurant in Houston, Texas. His family later moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1988 where they founded Ho Ho Incorporated, operating a few restaurants in the region. In 2014, Jay officially became the owner of the family business.
Mei Mei (33 S. 2nd St.) officially opens its doors in Old City this Thursday, March 12 at 5 pm and will be open 7 days a week (dining 5 pm-12 am, bar 5 pm-2 am.) This new hotspot will also feature a Happy Hour Monday-Friday from 5 pm-7 pm.
For more information follow Mei Mei on Instagram @meimei_philadelphia