As the food fanatic that I am, I’m constantly reading about restaurant openings across the Bay Area. I’ve been waiting to dine at Mister Jiu’s, a California inspired Chinese restaurant in Chinatown that finally opened just a few weeks ago.
Their menu is banquet style where your entire party picks five dishes to share at $69/person. There are a few supplementary dishes and desserts that you can also add to your five course meal.
We started off with an amuse bouche, a quail egg with some sort of jelly around it and an amaranth cracker. While I wasn’t crazy about the quail egg, the amaranth cracker was very interesting and quite tasty.
The salt and pepper Monterey squid was probably one of the best dishes of the night. The squid was lightly battered and fried and served with fried fennel and a delicious dipping sauce made from tart kumquat and spicy green chili.
The sizzling rice soup was comforting but the broth itself needed a little more seasoning. However I liked the fresh vibrant peas and asparagus in the soup as well as the crunchy water chestnuts.
The cheong fun was a creative take on the traditional rice noodle with lots of aromatic herbs and greens topped with creamy sea urchin. However the rice noodle itself kept breaking making it very difficult to eat.
Both the vegetable dishes were simple but delicious. The smoked tofu was my favorite with garlic chives (sooo good), long beans (similar to string beans), and peanuts. The tendrils were also great with charred pieces of asparagus, garlic, and fragrant meyer lemon.
The final savory course was a supplementary course but a staple in Chinese cooking. The tea smoked duck came with pieces of duck breast, a confited leg, duck liver, pancakes, and various condiments such as cucumber, herbs, and homemade hoisin sauce. The slices of duck breast were on the fatty side as the fat wasn’t rendered properly to achieve a crispy crunchy exterior. The duck leg confit however was cooked perfectly, tender and moist.
As for desserts, both were extremely creative but I’m not surprised as the pastry chef used to work at Mourad and Aziza (both great restaurants in the city). The gold mountain had an airy crispy walnut meringue on the bottom topped with an osmanthus cream creating a light enjoyable dessert. The chocolate dessert paired brilliantly with the red bean paste and the gooey caramel sauce.
I was really excited to try Mister Jiu’s, as there aren’t really any inventive Bay Area Chinese restaurants, but I felt like the food didn’t justify the price tag. Overall, I felt that some of the dishes needed slight tweaks to make them more successful. Therefore my rating for Mister Jiu’s is a 7/10.
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