Salt & Vinegar Shrimp Chips
Dutch Crunch BBQ Pork Buns
Sourdough Scallion Pancakes with Scallion Dip
Crispy Scarlet Turnip Cake
Carrot Ma Jiang Mian, Mustard Greens, Chanterelle Mushroom, Sesame, Bergamot
Toasted Rice Congee, Maine Lobster, Grapefruit, Peanut, Kohlrabi
Roasted Wolfe Ranch Quail, Sticky Rice, MJ’s Lap Cheong, Cashew, Sour Cherry
Banana, Black Sesame Custard, Whipped Miso, Tamarind Caramel, Graham
Lemon Tart, Bees Wax Cream, Blood Orange, Turmeric Meringue
Frozen Whipped Honey, Pineapple Sorbet, Jasmine Jelly, Walnut
Showing a lot of chutzpah in taking on Chinatown’s traditions, Chef Brandon Jew has nonetheless silenced his doubters for nearly three years, suggestions of ‘cultural appropriation’ or a lack of ‘authenticity’ falling on deaf ears to both fans and critics who’ve kept Mister Jiu’s awash with acclaim and busy enough to have recently added Moongate Lounge, a splashy new bar upstairs.
Born in The Bay Area but globally trained and traveled, significant time in Shanghai helping to shape a style that incorporates French technique and local ingredients into dishes ranging from $6 to $110, it is at the far-end of a walk-in only Bar that diners get their first glimpse of a space that expands back nearly fifty yards in length, the vibe trendy but not garish with the dining-room itself offering full views of the kitchen plus streets in the city below.
Softened by foliage and art, Brandon’s wife Anna apparently the curator and undoubtedly up to the task, it was by luck that a reservation for one was easily shifted to three bar seats by arriving at 5:30pm, the staff including two bartenders and a team of servers going above and beyond to make sure Water and Tea were always full as Food rolled out at a leisurely pace.
Booked full several weeks in advance, a constant situation from Tuesday through Saturday with staff getting a much-deserved two-days off between, it was starting out with Shrimp Chips topped in Salt and Vinegar Powder that the tone was set, a follow-up of traditional BBQ Pork given a No.Cal finish by way of the mottled and semi-sweet Buns.
Next spinning Scallion Pancakes into Sourdough a la Funnel Cake, the tangy intrinsic flavor fairly restrained but well compensated for by Hummus-like Dip awash in Onions, those who’ve never experienced Turnip Cakes before would be wise to take their first look at Chef Jew’s starchy yet tender version bolstered by Soy while guests seeking something heated will wisely seek out Taiwanese Noodles bathed in Orange broth and mellowed by Mushrooms as well as Mustard Greens.
Taking Prawn Toast up a notch by punching out Milk Bread and topping it with Mousse, Bacon and Roe, a toasted Sesame finish and Aioli furthering both taste and texture, it is amidst humble Congee that similar intricacy is exhibited by placing tender bits of Lobster in the context of Grapefruit Pulp, Peanuts whole and chopped plus locally grown Kohlrabi.
Rounding out savories with Mister Jiu’s signature Quail, the server actually suggesting this over a $65 half-Duck that also sounds tempting, it is in-tune with the season that crisp Skin and juicy Flesh arrives atop Sticky Rice soaked by roasting Juices, Cherries and housemade Sausage in a portion that is most certainly sharable.
Sated but not stuffed, a fine line to keep in mind given the talent of Pastry Chef Melissa Chou, it is fortunate that Dessert at Mister Jiu’s trends large but light, each $13 selection distinct and beautifully plated from Banana Biscuits and Sesame Custard to the intense Citrus of a Lemon Tart tempered by Turmeric Meringue, though the real star is undoubtedly Honey that eats like Semifreddo beneath Pineapple Sorbet and Walnut Tuiles.