Once you have a successful restaurant, what’s the next move?!
So many chefs here in the Bay Area are opening up sequels to their already popular and beloved restaurants. Take Liholiho Yacht Club’s downstairs hideout Louie’s Gen-Gen Room, or Lazy Bear’s hip cocktail bar True Laurel, or even Commis’ adjacent lounge C.D.P. It seems that once you have a devout following, opening a second location/concept comes naturally.
Since opening in 2016, Mister Jui’s has remained a hotspot in Chinatown for its eclectic Californian inspired Chinese cuisine. When I heard they were planning on expanding, I was intrigued. At Moongate Lounge (upstairs Mister Jui’s), guests can nibble on snacks and taste innovative drinks in a swanky atmosphere.
Tommaso’s cocktail (can’t remember the name) was definitely spirit forward, not to my liking, but he enjoyed it. However, I can appreciate the attention to detail to the large engraved ice cube, so cool.
Since we were looking for more than just a snack, we ordered several dishes off their menu. We started off with the crunchy fresh cucumber salad. Simple yet a nice light dish before the heavier snacks.
These fritters almost reminded me of hushpuppies with an Asian twist. Beautifully golden brown and pipping hot.
The outside wrapper reminded me of Japanese mochi with its chewy yet soft texture. The filling inside was tasty but needed more of it.
These skewers were a favorite with tender and succulent seasoned lamb meat. I could have easily eaten many more!
It’s hard to go wrong with salt and pepper squid, a classic. Crispy, addictive, and just the right amount of heat from the japaleños.
This was another winner with decadent sweet crab meat stuffed inside crispy dough served with a creamy cheesy sauce. An elevated version of a rangoon and executed quite well.
The pillowy steaming hot baos were stuffed with chicken sausage. The pickles on top were a necessary acidic and bright component to cut through the richness of the baos.
The pork was slightly on the chewy side for me and I wanted more of the hot mustard slaw.
This modern interpretation of a classic egg tart was superb, a highlight without a doubt where perfectly thin crust enveloped the luscious filling. Get this.
Who doesn’t love soft serve?! Theirs was delicious with a silky smooth texture and I loved the additional toppings giving a festive fun look.
Did I love everything at Moongate Lounge? No, but the highlights were definitely stellar. I think this place is better suited for drinks and a few snacks rather than a whole dinner like we did as a lot of the dishes are on the heavier side (either fried or baos). However, I’d go back any day for that Parisian egg tart! Therefore, my rating is a 7.5-8/10.