Join us at our first michelin star restaurant, Mister Jiu’s, run by Exec Chef – Brandon Jew – which happens to be in our very own backyard: the Bay Area. Reviving an anchor of San Francisco’s Chinatown, the mood is set with festive red lanterns and vibrant murals, particularly of Bruce Lee.
We visited on a Wednesday evening to a relaxed and casual after work and family friendly crowd. Enter through a cozy and dimly lit bar and the restaurant opens up to a large elegant dining room with spaciously set tables and booths. The sunset spills warm natural light in through the large windows and catches on those ornate and original chandeliers.
They have a seasonal menu with these lovely personal touches, like family photos, or the ubiquitous double happiness card to celebrate guests’ special occasions. The energy was bustling with the staff but the vibe of the dining room was pretty relaxed. Our super friendly and knowledgable waiter Jordan took good care of us.
We started the evening off with some specialty cocktails. First up, Joy which is their twist on a margarita. Despite the chili, it was not spicy but had a balanced heated finish. The Eternity tastes like a lighter martini with the shellfish oil sitting atop like a full moon. Unfortunately the oil was all that’s left by itself at the end of the drink and wasn’t pleasant to finish. Carl choose the Fecundity purely for its name, not because he knew what it meant (fertility) but how fun the word was to say. It’s reminiscent of an old fashion with a pleasant amount of smokiness and none of the harshness. All their drinks were pretty strong, possibly a nod to the traditionally hefty Chinese liquors.
Kashiwase White Peach: peach sap, verbena, hazelnut
We opened with a very summery snack, the Kashiwase White Peach, a refreshing salad of plump peach segments, whole verbena leaves, peach sap jelly and hazelnut. The peach sap jelly created almost a childhood candy feel. While the whole leaves and chunks of peach were visually appealing, they didn’t seem to come together all that well.
Morel Mushroom Cheong Fun: zhu sun (bamboo mushroom), dried shrimp, yellow chive
Next we had to try the Morel Mushroom Cheong Fun, as Cheong Fun is one of our favorite dishes. We were expecting a more mushroom incorporated dish, but again the elements were very separate. The fun was on the thicker side, but had a great soft chew. We were wanting more mushroom umami depth, but still enjoyed the dish.
Chicken “Dirty” Fried Rice: Brentwood corn, sha cha, okra
We followed with the Chicken “Dirty” Fried Rice, which is a filling portion set in a warm deep bowl. There were some great textural pieces with the okra, corn and crispy chicken skin. The sha cha sauce and chicken skin had a lot of flavor but we were surprised by the seemingly lack of wok heat on the rice.
Taiwanese Style Eggplant: chili, basil, fish sauce
The Taiwanese Style Eggplant was a table favorite. Light chili heat on the eggplant, very tender, even with the skin on. Excellent wok heat flavor and a balanced sauce that you didn’t need rice to accompany. The highlight is the fried garlic chips, which didn’t have the usual bitterness and almost seemed pickled and was well rounded.
“Mouthwatering” Devil’s Gulch Rabbit: nardello peppers, liangpi, mint
The most underrated dish at Mister Jiu’s is their “Mouthwatering” Devil’s Gulch Rabbit which comes on an impressive platter with a colorful presentation of whole nardello peppers and cilantro stems and what appeared to be a special play on liangpi in the form of jelly like cube. The loin was super tender and Carl had fun eating the baby rabbit ribs.
Overall our experience at Mister Jiu’s was delightful and we feel they’ve successfully translated and elevated Chinese food and dining all while paying homage to its traditional roots and the Bay Area Chinese American story. Our total bill came out to $247.12, $82 per person. We look forward to our next visit. Where else should we go next?