Acclaimed Chinatown restaurant Mister Jiu's, which closed temporarily in January for a remodel, has reopened and chef Brandon Jew is going a new direction with the menu.
Mister Jiu's, which first opened in a historic Chinatown restaurant space in the spring of 2016, not only holds the distinction of being the Bay Area's only Chinese restaurant with a Michelin star, but also Chef Jew took home the James Beard Award last year for Best Chef in California.
Tonight marks the opening of a new chapter for the restaurant, and as Tablehopper reports, the a la carte menu is going away in favor of a new, five-course $125 tasting menu that will be constantly changing, and highlighting sometimes unusual ingredients.
There's no sample menu online yet, but Ms. Tablehopper makes mention of things like abalone, buckwheat honey walnut prawns, and bamboo fungus... as well as " the best, peak-season, local ingredients." And while $125 per person is not cheap, it is by no means super pricey by SF standards — and really, for five courses, it's basically a bargain these days. There will also be banquet-style supplements that can be added on for groups, including the roasted Liberty Farms duck, and the whole roasted fish from earlier menus.
And, there will still be some a la carte items available on a bar menu.
"This new menu is where I wanted to push the cuisine, which respects the old but progresses new ideas — it’s a balance of preserving the legacy of some dishes but pushing the envelope, too," Jew tells Tablehopper.
Notably, the restaurant is going to feel a bit more serene and less bustling than before, with the number of seats reduced by almost half — and Jew says this reflects his desire to slow things down in his life overall, after recently becoming a new dad.
Mister Jiu's was Brandon Jew's long-awaited solo effort, and was met with pretty near immediate acclaim upon its opening seven years ago. The Chronicle hailed it as "one of the first restaurants in San Francisco to portray Cantonese food through the lens of contemporary California cuisine," as well as "the first high-profile restaurant to open in Chinatown in decades." And, it should be noted, the initial menu also had a prix-fixe, family-style format with five courses, but there were multiple options for each course.
Jew, who grew up in San Francisco and grew up eating in Chinatown at banquet-style restaurants like those that had occupied the space at 28 Waverly Place before — Hang Far Low, and before that, Four Seas — had done previous stints as executive chef at Bar Agricole, as well as sous cheffing at Zuni Cafe and Quince. But at Mister Jiu's he both wanted to pay homage to the past and introduce people to a style of Chinese cooking they may not have been familiar with.
"My family’s Cantonese food is really cleansing and pure, but people don’t have that association with Chinese food," Jew told the Chronicle at the time. "I’m trying to have people see it differently."
He's similarly looking to open people's minds again with the new menu, and raise the bar once more as well.
The new iteration of Mister Jiu's will be open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner, and you can find reservations here.