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Z&Y in SF Chinatown (Yunnan specialties)

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Z&Y in SF Chinatown (Yunnan specialties)

Joel Teller | Jun 6, 2006 04:40 PM

Five of us had a very nice dinner here.
I walked in Saturday night at 6PM, and the place was empty. I told the waiter that there would be five of us dining at 6:30. Baffled by the unexpected appearance of a Caucasian, he told me I probably meant Great Eastern (next door). We had a good laugh about that.

We ordered four cold appetizers while the group assembled. All four were very tasty, and spicy to some degree:
#19 Szechuan Style Chicken ($5.95)
#20 Couple's Delight ($4.95). In other restaurants this is called "Husband and Wife". It is thin-sliced beef and beef tripe, in a spicy sauce.
#24 Spicy Pig Ear with Five Spices ($4.95)
#26 Numbing Spicy Seaweed ($3.95) (much use of Szechuan peppercorn).

We had two vegetable dishes:
#135 Eggplant with Fresh Garlic and Basil ($7.95)
I asked what greens were available, and we selected Ong Choy with "fu-ru" (fermented bean curd sauce).
Both dishes were very tasty. The greens were very fresh and perfectly cooked.

We ordered two Yunnan specialties:
#2 Yunnan Style Steamed Chicken in Clay Pot ($7.95). This is presented in a special steamer bowl with an internal "basting spout". The broth is the main thing here; the chicken is so well cooked out that it has little flavor. But the broth is exceptional, very rich and intense, and very pure. There are a lot of servings in the bowl, it would probably suffice for eight or ten people.
#3 Yunnan Lamb Hot Pot ($17.95). This came as a huge bowl on a table-top cooker, with a large amount of pre-cooked lamb and fresh napa cabbage. It boiled vigorously for a while, then we turned it down. The broth was intense. The lamb was very strong-flavored, just the way I like it. Exceptionally tasty. This would be great on a cold day (unfortunately the night was one of our few warm ones). It would have easily fed ten people.

We were stuffed and had enough left over for one person to take home a tasty lunch. I'd order all of these dishes again. The total cost for five was $73 before tip.

There were only a few other tables occupied during our entire time, so service was excellent. There are at least a dozen restaurants on that block of Jackson between Grant and Kearny, so it's a tough business. They deliver.

Z&Y (formerly Sam Lok, and the old sign is still up)
655 Jackson Street (next door to Great Eastern !!)
415-981-8988

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