We were visiting a friend on Friday in Castro Valley, and wanted to get something to eat, and didn't know anything that was open after 9pm, so checked out Chef's Experience Bistro on Foothill Blvd. I just saw posting for HKBBQ and wished I'd seen that before! That would've been so much better than what we had at Chef's.
This is very much a Chinese restaurant catered to American tastes - the decor is very nice, new, with a rock fountain near the front of the restaurant, and a low, curving rock wall separating the dining area from the bar - fairly modern, and it was actually nice that they had a full bar. while my husband and friend ordered margaritas, I tried their Uncle Eddie's Favorite drink - concoction with rum, and strawberry, and some other stuff - basically like a daiquiri.
The menu was pretty Americanized, similar to PF Changs. The guys delegated me to order, with the exception that my husband wanted the spicy calamari for appetizers. They had a section on Chef's recommendations, so I picked a Mixed Seafood Nest (similar to Bird's Nest) with shrimp, scallops, fish, and vegetables in a fried potato 'nest'. This was pretty good; the nest was fresh, not oily tasting, like potato chips. The seafood was also pretty good, not too much cornstarch, and not too saucy.
I also picked the salt/pepper spicy shrimp, which came headless and shell-less, perfect for the squeamish that don't want to deal with that, but certainly not authentic chinese. It wasn't spicy at all (same as the spicy calamari), even with the jalepeno slices in it, but the coating on the shrimp was light, and it wasn't too salty.
The 3rd dish was the Chicken in Black Bean Sauce, which was kinda bland, too many onions for my taste, and not enough chicken.
It took awhile to get the waitress to order; apparently, they were inbetween shifts, and there was confusion on who was waiting on our table?!
They also offered a choice of brown or white rice, which is good if you are health conscious. We tried the brown rice, and it was ok.
So overall, it was ok, certainly not my favorite, I wouldn't normally go to it, but the later hour, and the full bar is kinda cool if you want to grab a bite, and get a drink in a nicer setting place, esp in Hayward.
Chef's China Bistro
22436 Foothill Blvd
Hayward, CA 94541
Telephone: (510) 538-2868