You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

San Francisco restaurant offers a twist on its Chinatown neighbors


Though Mister Jiu’s black and gray-green facade and idiosyncratic signage contrast with its neighbors in Chinatown in San Francisco, chef Brandon Jew’s year-old restaurant seems at home among medical herb vendors and knickknack shops. 

Jew — whose surname, he explained, was “lost in translation” when his grandfather came to the United States — sees Mister Jiu’s promise as being rooted in California cuisine and the region’s Chinese-American history. “I had a real passion for the things I was nostalgic for,” he said.  

“The restaurant stemmed from my desire to have people think differently about Chinese food,” Jew added. “We’re doing that through Californian ingredients, organic local farms” — like Hodo tofu from Oakland and oyster sauce made in house with Hog Island Oysters — “and how those ingredients can be translated through a Chinese lens.” Jew wants to cook food that is distinctly San Franciscan and Chinese-American.  

Housed in a century-old former banquet hall, Mister Jiu’s is definitely not vintage Chinatown. On a recent Saturday night, the bar was crowded with Ivanka Trump types in tall heels and straight blond ponytails. Drinks were slow coming as the bartender, warm and apologetic, meticulously sprayed yin-yang symbols onto the frothy tops of cocktails flavored with lotus and lemongrass. Despite its popularity, Mister Jiu’s seems to go out of its way to avoid playing hard to get.  

The dining room, largely designed by Jew’s wife, Anna Chet Jew-Lee, is lush and welcoming with two huge lotus blossom chandeliers salvaged from the previous restaurant. We pored over a menu full of lists of ingredients separated by commas, followed by bracingly large dollar figures. The meat and seafood section flits from salt-baked trout to roast duck (available halved or whole); the five-course Dungeness crab “celebration menu” is $105 per person, $65 more for wine pairings.  

In some cases, familiar dishes like rib-eye cap mapo tofu invited unwelcome comparisons. A thin layer of silken tofu topped with large chunks of steak, rather than a flavorful tofu stew seasoned with meat, seemed flat compared with the classic, heavily spiced version.  

More often, though, Jew’s rendition of a dim sum standard seemed lively and exciting. His “tendrils, greens and stems,” for example, was everything satisfying about heaping piles of garlicky vegetables served from pushcarts, but fresher and more complex. As Mister Jiu’s seasonal menu moves from winter to spring, it promises to grow even more compelling and provocative.  

—  

Additional Information:  

Mister Jiu’s  

28 Waverly Place; 415-857-9688; misterjius.com.  

An average à la carte meal for two, without drink and tip, is about $150.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Travel

Total solar eclipse casts spotlight on rural Oregon town

MADRAS, Ore. (AP) — The first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse to cross the continental United States in 99 years will first be visible in Oregon.  State officials expect up to 1 million people for the Aug. 21 event.   As many as 100,000 of them could wind up in and around the central Oregon town of Madras.   It's predicted...
What to pack for a Galápagos trip

You’ll want comfortable shoes, a couple of swimsuits and, of course, plenty of sunscreen. But to really get the most out of your Galápagos trip, the editors at The Wirecutter, a product review website owned by The New York Times Co., recommend a few extras:  Snorkeling gear: Some tours provide snorkeling sets, but the U.S. Divers...
Civics classes resume in renovated space at National Museum of American History
Civics classes resume in renovated space at National Museum of American History

WASHINGTON - Closed for renovations since 2012, the second floor of the National Museum of American History's west wing will reopen Wednesday with a renewed purpose: to tell the story of American democracy and encourage people to participate.  Formerly the home of a hodgepodge of exhibits, including Julia Child's kitchen and "First Ladies...
New artificial intelligence promises to make travel a little smarter. Does it?

The Terminator wants to be your next travel agent.  New artificial intelligence (AI) technologies promise to make travel a little smarter. The latest entrant is Aeromexico's new AI-based customer-service bot, billed as a "smart brain" capable of machine learning. It launched earlier this year in Spanish on Facebook, and an English version...
New restrictions set on visiting Peru's famed Machu Picchu

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Travelers wanting a glimpse of Peru's famed Machu Picchu will be restricted to visiting during morning or afternoon tours in a move aimed at conserving the site's archaeological splendor.  The new rules go into effect in July and will allow about 3,600 visitors to enter the ancient Incan citadel from 6 a.m. to noon and...
More Stories