Restaurants & Bars

Sino at Santana Row (long)

Sandra | Oct 10, 200507:28 PM     1

My girlfriends and I had dinner there on Saturday (girls night) - this is Chris Yeo's newest venture (he owns the Straits Cafe mini-chain); upscale Chinese food.

There are similarities with the Straits at Santana Row: Front area for lounging (couches/cocktail tables), long dark wood bar with lots of bottles on the wall for people to mingle at, and tables in the back for serious diners. Apparently, they pulled some of the waitstaff from Straits, since my girlfriend recognized one of the waiters.

I got there early, so sat at the bar - like Straits, they open the windows in the front to the street so that people can see/talk to people outside. The music was not too loud, but did get somewhat louder as the evening wore on. I ordered from their drink menu - pretty interesting combinations (with basil, with lychee, etc) - The theme was Zen-like, with drink names like Fire, Earth, Water... - I got Water, which was rum based with a muddle of Lychee and pineapple juice and Blue Curacao, and maybe basil? It turned this nice blue (hence the name) and was pretty good.

We had reservations at 7:30pm, and got seated right away (good) It got more crowded as the night wore on, but the dining area never seemed that way, since it was pretty spacious. The waiter was very friendly, and since we had brought a couple of bottles of our own wine to drink, he offered to only charge 1 cork fee even if we had 2 bottles ($15/each normally).

I saw this couple order the Kung Pao Chicken Lollipops, and our waiter also recommended them too, so we got that for appetizers. They were pretty tender, and the sauce had quite a kick to them. They frenched the mini-drumsticks so that it would look like lollipops.

For entrees - the waiter explained that the dishes were served family style, but they weren't big dishes. We chose pan fried green beans, a ribeye dish (sorry can't remember the dish name!), and a ginger scallop and shrimp dish, along with white rice.

The green beans were pretty good, not too salty, pan fried so that there were some charred spots.

The ribeye (it was actually New York Strip that night, according to our waiter) had this brown sauce that my girlfriend LOVED, along with a small frisee of greens and it tasted like fried sweet potato or yam noodles. I really liked the fried noodles, slightly sweet, but not too oily. The steak was requested medium rare, and it was; I was able to get 7 slices out of the steak, so that we could all get a piece (or couple) - really good with the sauce.

The ginger scallop and shrimp dish had snap peas in a standard clear sauce. It was good, with a good amount of scallops / shrimp to split among the 3 of us.

We each got a bowl of rice, and even though we finished all 4 dishes and was full, it wasn't like it was too much food.

The only thing (and it was expected in a place like this) was that the dinner came out to $35/person (including $15/corkage, and $1/person for rice), which for a traditional Chinese restaurant is outrageous, but for a hip, urban, see-to-be-seen place like Sino, pretty average.

The decor was pretty nice - very modern and hip, great for meeting people and having drinks and appetizers, or have dinner if the evening is going well.

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