An argument between neighboring tables at Chau Chow City on Essex Street early one August morning ended with plates and silverware flying through the air - and generally crashing to the ground, except for one plate that connected with a woman's cheek first, police told the Boston Licensing Board this morning.
At a hearing on the Aug. 17 incident, police officers said an argument between two tables of women in their 20s around 3:50 a.m. quickly escalated.
"Broken plates and silverware were all over the place," one officer said. "They destroyed the place," Sgt. William Gallagher added. Police said they were unable to learn from the combatants - who continued yelling at each other even as police arrived - what the fight was about or who started it.
Police said the woman hit in the cheek declined medical attention.
The licensing board decides Thursday what action, if any, to take about the incident.
Patrick Foley, attorney for restaurant owner Dennis Luu, pleaded for mercy, saying Luu immediately called 911 at the first sign of trouble that morning and that Luu has hired an extra security guard. He added Luu is well known in Chinatown for his charity work.
Gallagher and board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini suggested Luu install a video surveillance system - and post signs alerting customers they're on camera.
Gallagher said the restaurant does the bulk of its business on weekend nights after nearby clubs let out. "There's a lot of alcohol involved," he said. "It can get kind of tough down there."