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VIPs mingle at and dance at Cambridge’s new Sumiao Hunan Kitchen

From left: Sumiao Chen, owner of Sumiao Hunan Kitchen; chef Xinke Tan; Shao Zhu, Chen’s husband; and chef De Wu at the restaurant’s opening on July 27.

From left: Sumiao Chen, owner of Sumiao Hunan Kitchen; chef Xinke Tan; Shao Zhu, Chen’s husband; and chef De Wu at the restaurant’s opening on July 27.

A crowd sang and danced to local band Almost Owen’s rendition of Rihanna’s “Work” at the Thursday-night opening of Sumiao Hunan Kitchen in Kendall Square. The restaurant boasts that it’s the first Boston-area spot for Hunan cuisine.

Owner Sumiao Chen, from Xiangtan in Hunan, hosted the party, which included a dance floor, bites from the menu, and signature drinks, including the “Z-squeezed Dragon Fruit Daiquiri.”

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Chen said she hopes the restaurant will capture Hunanese culture with a sleek but modern style. She’s the daughter of Chinese painter Peihua Chen; Sumiao means “sketch.” The restaurant’s decor, which features colorful murals, includes a re-creation of one of her father’s paintings, a bright pink work with a lotus flower that she said represents rebirth, purity, and self-awareness.

“This has been my personal dream to open up a restaurant with the food from my hometown and display art pieces from my family,” she said. “Being a first generation to this country, dreams are coming true one by one.”

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Head chef Xinke Tan, who’s worked in Germany and LA, said he’s thrilled to educate Boston and Cambridge on Hunanese cuisine. “It’s hard to describe, a mix of feelings,” he said, adding that he’s “fulfilling a job, but also fulfilling a purpose.”

One of the VIP guests during the night was state Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg, who was there with his husband, Bryon Hefner. Rosenberg called the new restaurant a great addition to “New England’s foodie capital.”

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