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Passing through San Francisco last Friday night, I called Yuet Lee to see if it might be open for take-out. Yes, it is, and taking orders by phone for take-out or via Postmates or DoorDash for delivery. I've been a late night customer my entire adult life and was last here in December. That's when I learned that then owner/chef Sam Yu had retired the month before and sold the restaurant to his long-time sous chef.
In the time of Covid-19, Broadway at 8:30pm on Friday night was an eerie experience. China Live and most other places were closed and dark on what would normally be one of the busiest and brightest times of the week. Yuet Lee was dimly lit, unusual as the fluorescent glare off the signature color of green paint is usually hard on the eyes. The chef was the only staffer inside. And my bag was alone on the staging table, no other orders prepared.
My dry style beef chow fun was ready and waiting within the promised 10 minutes. Tab was $15.50. I paid with a $20 bill and said no change was needed. The new owner/chef replied, "Thank you, thank you, thank you so much!" with a tremor in his voice and looked like he was on the verge of tears. That made me cry as I scurried out the open door. Yuet Lee has been such a standard, I can't imagine a world without it.
My order stayed plenty warm on the more than hour drive till I could tuck into it. This was actually better than the same in December that I felt was too salty and oily. The intensity and layers of flavor were the same as it has always been, so the recipes have not changed. Good sear on the marinated slices of tender beef and well-cooked scallions and strips of onion for extra sweetness. Still a bit on the greasy side, so I'll remember to ask for less oil next time. This order was hefty and seemed to be a bigger portion that was enough for two meals. The transition in the kitchen has been a success.
If you haven't been to Yuet Lee for a while, it could use your support these days. Your stomach will thank you. Parking on the street is a breeze if you can pick-up your order and spare the restaurant from delivery commission charges.
1300 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA
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