After reading about this restaurant in the Chronicle, I decided to check it out. First, I've never been to a restaurant where the first question asked of me upon entering the restaurant besides how many in attendance was how much do you want to spend? Say what?? Can I see a menu first? No menu but how much do you want to spend per person? $30...35....40... OK Alex, I'll take food for $35. So she tells me that the chef will make you a special dinner. Gosh, I sure hope so, I didn't drive all the way over from Half Moon Bay to get a shave and a haircut.
So she brings us over to our table which has what appears to be oil and tea stains in the middle of the table cloth. But not to worry, for $35/person, they clean it up by putting 4 white paper placemats over the stains.
After about 10 minutes, the first 7 appetizer dishes arrive.
Jellyfish with surumi & thin sliced radish/daikon
thin slices of beef cured with 5 spices/star anise?
Sichuan spicy cabbage w/red chili peppers
Mock duck (tofu strips)
Cubed firm tofu w/brined chopped vegetable & pinenuts
then afterwards the main entrees came:
bean sheets with soybeans
shrimp with peppers, mushroom and gingko nuts
braised pig shank
mustard green with enoki mushrooms
chestnuts w/pork spareribs
stirfried leeks with preserved pork.
The smoked fish had an aromatic flavor to it. The jellyfish tasted like radish rules the texture and tasted a little dry as I'm used to eating jellyfish heavily sedated with soy sauce,sesame oil and vinegar.
The mushroom with basil was a good combination secured by toothpicks. The stir fried leeks was good but the Sichuan cabbage had a little zing to it that stood out from the rest of the appetizers.
All throughout the meal, I kept wanting a bowl of rice but I subordinated my natural Cantonese tendencies for the sake of abiding by this particular regional cuisine's own protocol.
I was getting really full after about the 8th dish. Somehow I think it would've been best to choose from the menu and order what I like and can handle and not have to force myself to either eat all of it (I hate to waste food) or take home the rest.
Food was decent. Two and 1/2 stars out of four.