Yan's Garden piques palates with lunch and dinner menus brimming with Mandarin and Cantonese classics crafted using fresh ingredients and no MSG. Warm up meat macerators on crisp vegetarian egg rolls ($4.95) before graduating to the main meal event with large portions of sweet and sour pork ($8.50) or chicken in hot and spicy garlic sauce ($8.50). The Dragon and Phoenix plate flies to tables to slay hunger with a savory synthesis of chicken breast, prawns, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and vegetables ($10.75), and white wine adds a splash of sophistication and inebriation to the seafood combination's stir-fried fusion of fresh fish, scallops, shrimp, mushrooms, and snow peas ($14.25). Traditionalists favoring fried rice ($6.25–$8.50) or egg foo young ($8.25–$9.50) can find the savory standbys prepared with a choice of pork, chicken, or beef, as braised tofu ($9.25) sizzles to the excitement of both vegetarians and swooning soy beans.
Praised by reviewers from the Contra Costa Times and Diabolo Magazine for its freshness, skillfully assembled flavors, and perfectly cooked seafood and duck, Zen Restaurant has been making a splash since it opened. Chefs are adept at fusing a variety of culinary influences culled from across Asia, resulting in dishes such as Vietnamese shrimp-avocado rolls, Thai red curry sauce, Mongolian beef, Chinese crispy pork, and Singapore noodles. Diners enjoy their food in a warmly lit space, featuring hardwood floors, a bright red accent wall, and contemporary furnishings.
Behind the kitchen doors, flaming pans roast orders of meats, seafood, and seasonal vegetables to reflect the culinary traditions of Chinese culture. In addition to the sweet, sour, and savory sauces that coat the dishes' steamed white or brown rice, the cooks can create entrees with enough fiery spice to bring tears to the eyes of a potato. To accompany each meal, the restaurant's bar slides over domestic and imported beers, and glasses of wine from a California-centric list that features fruit-forward reds alongside palate-cooling whites.
Inside an environmentally friendly dining room outfitted with fast-growing bamboo floors and eco-safe paint, patrons sup on sustainable, authentic Chinese dishes made from organically grown ingredients. Intricate lighting fixtures cast patterned shadows over diners as they tuck into aromatic platters of stir-fried smoked pork belly, wok-tossed seafood, or braised tofu prepared from recipes brought over from China 20 years ago and furnished with organic meats and produce from local farms and markets.
Looking out at San Francisco's skyline, Lily Kai's dining room is filled with the scents of crisping meats and rich sauces coming to fruition in woks. Lightly battered prawns sizzle in the fryer before luxuriating in honey-walnut sauce, and chicken takes on a zesty flavor profile with the help of ginger, spicy garlic, fresh mango, and onions. Lunch specials allow entrees—such as citrus duck or cashew chicken—to join hands with steamed or fried rice, soup, and appetizers, coming together to peacefully slay midday hunger.
Region unites the intense flavors of Southeast Asian and Chinese cuisine with flourishes familiar to Western palates, resulting in edible masterpieces that are equal parts approachable and exotic. The restaurant highlights its signature beijing duck as the epitome of this fusion: the duck’s crispy skin and moist meat has been a Chinese delicacy since the Imperial era, yet the restaurant sources the poultry from a small farm in Petaluma to honor modern values of community and sustainability. These multifaceted influences suffuse every dish they serve as each bite introduces taste buds to rich new flavors, from szechuan-peppercorn and peanut nuoc-mam sauce to basil, anise, and coconut milk.
Like an edition of Jane Eyre written in internet jargon, the space seamlessly blends an old-fashioned sensibility with a contemporary vibe, placing tufted leather couches and nautical maps alongside neon-lit cocktail bars and hand-wrought iron designs. A copse of birch trees surround diners seated at soft leather banquettes as they complement the fusion of Asian flavors with a retinue of wines, teas, and exotic desserts.