Chef Chu, Master of Chinese Cuisine
If charismatic chef Lawrence Chu isn't greeting guests as they enter his Los Altos restaurant, he's likely in the kitchen preparing delicacies such as tea-smoked duck, chilled Sichuan-style garlic chicken, or live Maine lobster in rice-wine sauce. His hospitality and culinary expertise have won much praise, including metroactive's 2013 award for Best Chinese Restaurant in Silicon Valley.
An Incomparable Feast
Throughout the years, Chef Chu's has become a hot spot for VIP diners. "When the late Steve Jobs was creating Apple, he was a Chef Chu's regular," wrote one San Jose Mercury News journalist. Other regulars include tennis star Serena Williams, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young, and former Secretary of State George Shultz, who called Chef Chu's preparation of peking duck an "incomparable feast."
Cuisine Type: Chinese and Vietnamese
Handicap Accessible: No
Number of Tables: 5?10
Alcohol: Beer and wine only
Delivery/Takeout Available: Takeout only
Outdoor Seating: No
The chefs at Chin's Restaurant work from a menu of comforting noodle soups, seafood dishes, chicken and beef entrees, and vegetarian eats. They draw on Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai cooking traditions to create such dishes as szechuan beef, coconut curry tofu, and a noodle soup brimming with rare and well-done steak, tripe, and beef balls. The chefs also cater parties and jury-duty reunions, serving up banh mi sandwiches and dim sum shumai.
Nestled inside Quickly's in Newark, King of Dumplings showcases sleek decor to parallel a host of authentic Chinese dishes. Blue and gold lights hang from the ceiling by cords almost as thin as the restaurant's hand-pulled chinese noodles. Starters encompass unique ingredients such as crispy lotus roots, as well as popcorn octopus, pork elbow, and 12 types of dumplings. Patrons can also enjoy a host of shrimp, beef, and pork dishes in the glow of the King's flat-screen TVs or order dim-sum pancakes and buns to be delivered to their home or kiddie pool.
After bringing menus to each table, servers ask if anyone would like to sign a waiver. Without endorsing one of these forms, diners can't order the devil's chicken or vegetables, two formidable entrees made with fiery ghost chilies.
On request, chefs can tone down the heat of various entrees, which combine the culinary traditions of India and China. Relying on locally sourced ingredients when possible, cooks prepare each dish for family-style serving, which encourages diners to split piles of poultry with visiting friends or every member of the Channel 5 news team. Though braised beef and sautéed chicken are prominent on the menu, the kitchen also creates vegetarian- and vegan-friendly dishes that rely on the same regional sauces for their piquant flavor.
On one side of the main dining room, red vinyl booths add a splash of color to the restaurant's sleek gray walls and modern décor. The restaurant's bar keeps tables full of libations, including craft beers and glasses of food-friendly wine from winemakers on both sides of the equator and the center of the Earth.
Henry's Garden Restaurant treats guests to a smorgasbord of Chinese cuisine with a diverse menu full of dishes, including mu shu, curries, stir-fries, and vegetarian feasts. Though the food focuses on Chinese-American and Chinese cooking, patrons also find fragrant curries and spicy Thai-style seafood. Diners pinch their chopsticks over morsels of beef with black mushrooms, twice-cooked pork, and Thai-style vermicelli or dig into family-style dinners of whole peking duck, multicourse kung pao seafood plates, or a single enormous egg roll.
Chef Bill He hails from the ancient Chinese city of Chengdu, where pandas run wild in bamboo groves, peach trees blossom on lush plains, and the aroma of sizzling sichuan meats emanate from bustling eateries. At South Legend Sichuan Restaurant, Bill delves into his culinary heritage to blueprint a Michelin Guide–recommended menu of authentic, alluringly spicy Sichuan dishes. The skilled chef fires up meat, seafood, and vegetable entrees with complex spices and distinct textures, favoring generous amounts of chili peppers and sichuan peppercorns. In addition to favorites such as chicken, pork, and beef, Bill works with a variety of less familiar exotic meats, including rabbit, frog, and jellyfish.
In South Legend Sichuan Restaurant’s dining room, black-and-white photos of Chinese streets festoon the walls, and chopsticks can be seen jousting in bowls for the last noodle. Since many of the restaurant’s regular visitors are of Chinese backgrounds, diners will often hear entire conversations in the Chinese language, adding to the restaurant’s authentic dining experience.