Ben Lan grew up in the Fujian province of China, where at age 17 he caught crab and fish to cook and sell to government officials. After working as a chef for 20 years, he’s opening a restaurant of his own.
The restaurant is a family affair. Fulton resident Lan and his wife Stephanie are opening the business in partnership with Ben’s nephew Andy Lan, a chef trained in China, and Andy’s sister, Blue. Ben and Stephanie’s three- and four-year-old children can be found weaving among the staff as well.
“When it’s a small restaurant, you need the partners to be chefs,” Stephanie said.
She said they cook everything fresh, offer generous portions, all white meat chicken, all flank beef steak, lots of fresh vegetables and a kids’ menu.
“We have a lot of really healthy dishes,” she said.
The extensive raw and cooked sushi menu includes the Dancing Dragon roll (a tempura shrimp and cream cheese roll topped with eel) and the Prince roll (a spicy crab, avocado and jalapeno roll topped with tuna, avocado, tobiko, scallions, eel sauce and spicy mayo).
Stephanie said other favorites on the menu include the tender salt and pepper shrimp and steamed fish cooked with soy sauce, ginger and scallions.
“The way the flavor seeps into the fish, it’s amazing,” she said.
Hana Bistro provides pick-up, delivery or dine-in service, and in the coming days, staff expect to offer beer, wine and sake while customers wait for dishes. The restaurant is located across the street from Salut at 5033 France Avenue S.