Crystal Jade Jiang Nan
4 Embarcadero Center, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111
Why did we dine here? – Crystal Jade is a brand new Chinese restaurant in San Francisco’s Embarcadero 4. They spent $14 million dollars renovating the former Harbor Village location. (Ah the old days..) The illustrious LVMH Group (Louis Vuitton et al) owns this restaurant group now. This restaurant group has locations all over Asia. We have previously been to the location at the Hong Kong airport and IFC, so we are familiar with their offerings in other countries. Expectations were high given their quality and the ridiculous amount of money they spent.
Insider Tip – Give them several months to get the service right
Cuisine – Chinese
Location – San Francisco Financial District
Opened – November 2014
Service – Crystal Jade opened a week before our visit. Their service was totally messed up. They spent $14 million and forgot to save some for creating professional service. We returned toward the end of 2014 and the service was a lot better. The restaurant finally does validation of downstairs parking. The mandatory 15% gratuity was removed.
Verdict – Crystal Jade surprised us with the top notch food and decor. Get the service right and you justify the high prices. The best Chinese restaurant in the San Francisco area, Koi Palace has serious competition.
Is this restaurant worth a 5 minute drive? Yes. 30 minute? Yes. 1 Hour? Yes. (When they fix the service)
Crystal Jade Signature Dishes – Peking Duck, Suckling Pig, steamed dumplings, fresh seafood.
Crystal Jade’s Menu reads like a typical high end Chinese restaurant with lots of options. Prices are very high. Many things are labeled as for a single portion implying the need to order several. Be careful.
Crystal Jade Food Picks:
Apple Wood Roasted Suckling Pig ($30 for 3pcs) utah pig marinated with 11 kinds of spices, served with housemade hoi sin sauce impressed us. This is not as good as Hong Kong but comes pretty close. Superior to Koi Palace. Crispy skin, lots of fat and expensive as heck.
Roasted Crispy Pork Belly Marinated in 9 spices ($13 for 9 pcs) is excellent. Crispy, hot, even juicy. A Must get and cheaper than the suckling pig.
Apple Wood Roasted Peking Duck ($30 for half) California free range duck, crepe, cucumber, scallion and housemade sauce was carved tableside. Also another impressive dish. They even carve half duck table side and create each rolled up portion for you, just like in Asia. This is easily one of the best Peking Duck dishes in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Roast Chicken with Crispy Garlic ($17 for half) was a pretty huge dish and looked great. Lightly roasted chicken with lots of garlic, but not overwhelming.
Steamed Kurobuta pork dumplings or Xiao Long Bao ($9 for 4) authentic compact dumplings with thin, smooth skin but muted soup broth. Surprisingly better than probably most versions in the San Francisco Area. Shanghai Dumpling Shop in Millbrae has a better flavor profile but is American Super Sized. These took forever to arrive, actually coming 30 minutes after our dessert! Din Tai Fung is in the same ball park as this version. You may have to fly to Shanghai to out do this.
Hot & Sour Shredded Chicken Soup ($8 cup) mary’s chicken breast, pepper, organic tofu, cloud ear and black mushroom was also solid. Quality ingredients, not a bunch of leftovers.
Organic Shanghai Bok Choy ($12) Sauteed were very impressive, easily some of the best we had. Super fresh and cooked perfectly. Expensive but worthwhile.
Organic bok Choy Simmered organic seasonal vegetable in superior broth ($14) was even better. Not too soup and perfectly cooked and plated.
Deep Fried Housemade spinach Tofu with assorted mushrooms ($15) housemade egg tofu with fresh spinach, eryngi mushrooms. velvet foot mushrooms, clamshell mushrooms, portobello and fresh button mushroom hit the mark. A nice combination of different elements.
Crispy Noodle with Chicken in housemade sauce ($15) egg noodle, mary’s chicken, onion and bell pepper came with the sauce on the side. This allowed us to maintain the crispiness of the noodles and to have quality leftovers for the next day. Another worthy dish.
Almond Puree ($7) almond and egg white was a moderately rich dessert with lots of egg. Good sized portion that is very shareable.
Baked Pumpkin Pastry and Japanese Mochi ($7) was spot on. Hot pumpkin pastries with some very tender, soft, delicate smooth mochi.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
Sauteed Rice Noodle with Beef ($17) or beef chow fun was just ok. Very cut up noodles along with a minimal quantity of meat.
Chilled Fresh Organic Pomegranate Jelly with Red Wine Marinated Local Fruits ($7) just did not impress us.
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
Baked Chilean Sea Bass Fillet with Honey and Ginger Sauce ($25) was recommended by our server, but just did not hit the mark. Avoid.
Do you agree with our review? Have you found other similar restaurants that are better?