It isn't uncommon for Daimo Chinese Restaurant's head chef, Kwong Soon Lee, to pop into the dining room for a friendly chat with guests. Otherwise, the chef?who began his career decades ago cooking in a restaurant in China?spends hours in the kitchen perfecting both familiar and more unusual dishes.?
He creates classic dishes including sweet and sour pork, braised spareribs covered in plum sauce, and bok choy dressed in garlic sauce, as well as regular-favorites lobster and peking duck. Some of his more eclectic options include jelly fish coated in sesame seeds and stewed pig's feet. He also crafts various congees, rice porridges that are as comforting to the soul as a picture of a baby and puppy snuggling.
At Chef's Experience China Bistro, patrons scan a formidable menu of Chinese fare in a dining room expansive enough to house a waterfall and a fig tree. Visitors converse between warmly lit walls of orange and mustard as they prime palates with starters such as chicken lettuce wraps, a trio of delicate fried pancakes enveloping smoked salmon and avocado. In the seafood chow mein, fried noodles do their best to mimic eddies swirling fish, shrimp, and scallops together with seasoned vegetables. A curried blend of hot Singapore-style noodles fresh off the wok cushions shrimp, chicken, vegetables, and egg, and the mango chicken situates simmered mango and vegetables beside morsels of poultry sautéed in mango sauce. Like a really lazy Susan, the restaurant's list of California wines rotates monthly, filling glasses with evolving selections of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and chardonnay.
Since 1989, the chefs at Great Wall Chinese Restaurant have prepared an unexpected menu of authentic Chinese cuisine. The surprise lies along the pages of the menu, where the vast majority of dishes are strictly vegetarian?even those listed as "chicken" contain a faux-meat version. Dotted with little chiles to indicate a fiery level of spiciness, the menu lists favorites such as vegetarian "pork" with spicy garlic sauce, and Szechuan-style mapo tofu.
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.
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.
A Time Out San Francisco Critics' choice, Imperial Tea Court provides leaf lovers with access to some of the world's most desirable teas as well as unrivaled expertise in the ways of steepery. Park your carcass in one of its highly regarded teahouses for a 45- to 60-minute primer on the world's most popular beverage and its steamy history, including its medicinal roots in ancient times as an alternative to Tommy John surgery. Pouring hot cups of tea and tepid earfuls of facts, the teahouses' resident sip savants will help guests understand tea's various categories and acquaint them with the traditional Chinese gaiwan, a covered teacup developed for use on turbulent dragon flights and birthday party bounce houses. The tasting includes two samples of your choice of teas, leaving you with a pleasant aftertaste as well as a fully brewed headpot of knowledge with which to douse tea-loving coworkers at the dream factory.