Desiring Chinese snack foods on their 3 hour layover from Toronto this past Saturday afternoon (too late for lunch, too early for dinner), my Auntie suggested that we pick her and my Grandmother up from SFO and take them to Broadway Bistro in Millbrae. Located at Hillcrest and Broadway in that strip covered with various bland storefronts, Broadway Bistro was a little gem of a place!
The lobby was occupied by a few kids hawking fake designer handbags, looking pretty bored and tired from the heat.
Inside, the place had high ceilings, and the ambience of a Denny's, but in a good way, with the vinyl booths and all. I didn't have a chance to peruse the extensive menu as my Auntie knew what she wanted, but it was a little book with all kinds of things, both Chinese and American. Judging from the food at the neighboring tables, it looks like this place is popular for its American food served with a funky Asian flair.
We sampled the Hainan chicken rice, a curry dish that is popular in Macao, jook with assorted meats (meatballs and liver), and ong choy in a Singaporean (?) prep.
We were pleasantly surprised by the Hainan chicken rice. About as good as I make it... very silky smooth chicken, and nice and coolish on that very hot day. The accompanying sweetish oyster/hoisin sauce was delicious, and the ginger-scallion dipping oil was perfect. It didn't have a chili dipping sauce, which is usually my favorite, but I didn't miss it too much. The accompanying Hainan chicken rice was really really tasty, the rice being properly sauteed with garlic and chicken fat. Mmmm!!! My grandmother is pushing 90 and doesn't have much of an appetite anymore these days, but she kept motioning for more chicken rice and chicken... that's saying a lot!!!
Enjoyed the ong choy, which my aunt said was in a typical Singaporean style, one made with shrimp paste, among other things. I found it really subtle. Tasted good, but I was hoping for something with a stronger flavor. My grandmother liked this too!!
The curry dish from Macao was good. A different thicker sauce than the typical Chinese curry, but still pretty tasty. I only had one piece of chicken which happened to be white meat, so I didn't care for it much. There might have been dark pieces in the dish, which would have made all the difference for me. The spices were rich and complex, and it was served with two large scoops of rice. Definitely a dish that tastes even better the next day.
The jook was pretty good, too. Nothing along the lines of Hing Lung, but I was impressed by the texture of the liver. As good as any I've had here.
Had some Chinese lemon tea with the syrup and tons of lemons. We had been anticipating American iced tea, and got quite a sugar rush before we realized what we had actually ordered and mixed everything together. A bit sweet for my taste, but I can see why it's popular.
My Auntie had the red bean ice drink with condensed milk. Looked right, but it's not my thing.
There were plenty of leftovers, and I think it cost less than $35. Not really a destination place, but if you're ever in the area, it's definitely worth a go. I'll be back.