28 Waverly Place
San Franicsco, CA 94133
Why did we dine here? – Mister Jiu’s (Bar Agricole) is Brandon Jew’s long awaited Chinese restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown. He took years to remodel the old Four Seas restaurant and assemble a cast of pros (Pastry Chef Melissa Chou – Aziza) with solid pedigrees. It was at the top of our hit list, but we somehow managed to give them two weeks to get into their groove. Not a large restaurant, but a clean modern look with a large stenciled drawing on the wall. (It too 4 1/2 years to do) Initial reports from Yelp feel into the disappointing 3 star range.
We returned in December 2016, after they received, One Michelin Star. A stretch if you ask us! Mister Jiu’s also switched from Tasting Menu only, to a la carte. A great move. Articles suggested were not getting enough repeat business, which we mentioned in our original review.
Insider Tip – Eat at the bar to skip the expensive prix fixe menu
Cuisine – Cantonese Chinese
Location – San Francisco Chinatown
Opened – 2016
Service – Mister Jiu’s had solid service, clearly they hired experienced wait staff. Not many Asian servers though! No issues with menu guidance, pacing, water refilling, etc. At this price point, they need to do things like plate changes between dishes, amuse bouches…
Verdict – Mister Jiu’s is a big departure from any other Chinese restaurant in San Francisco. Local ingredients, modern inspiration on old school dishes. We could eat a ton of high quality food at #1 Chinese Restaurant Koi Palace for the same price. If you wanted to style it up, Hakkasan would serve you a ton of food too.. This pushes the restaurant into the special occasion realm.
Miser Jiu’s definitely has some very good dishes, but few wow’d us. Chinese purists will scoff at the prices and the fusion style. Those less familiar with Chinese food will hopefully find this a nice bridge into a new cuisine. We hope they succeed and help transform sleepy Chinatown into an evening magnet.
Is this restaurant worth a 5 minute drive? Yes. 30 minute? Maybe 1 Hour? Maybe
Mister Jiu’s Signature Dishes – Steamed Black Cod, Four Seas Chicken, Fried Rice
Mister Jiu’s’s Menu is a 5 course $69 per person prix fixe menu switch to a large a la carte menu in late 2016. A great move. There is still a $88 tasting menu available.
Mister Jiu’s Food Picks:
Devil’s Gulch Pig Head – black vinegar, black radish watercress seemed like more Italian charcuterie than a Chinese dish. Nothing wrong with this elevated thinly sliced pieces of meat , but see what Koi Palace serves up when you order whole mini pig. Chinese restaurants have cold platters with more diverse items.
Sizzling Rice Soup – Chicken consommé, water chestnuts, spring veggies, rock shrimp, schmaltz – Is a fun wish on a much smaller scale than most see at a Chinese restaurant. High quality broth, far too many peas, and some nice crispy crackling rice poured tableside.
Marin Miyagi Oyster & Clam Custard – lap cheong, green garlic, favas – Was technically beautiful with all the flowered laid on top. A bit more Japanese like Chawanmushi than Chinese. Most Chinese Steam Egg dishes do not include so many ingredients.
Cheong Fun (Rice Noodle Roll) – mendocino sea urchin, sprouts could have used more uni. Another beautiful warm dish. The rice noodle filling was on the bland side and the wrapper a bit thin.
Tendrils, Greens & Stems – meyer lemon, roasted garlic were a solid vegetable dish but nothing special.
Four Seas Fried Chicken ($25 a la carte) sorrel, hot mustard, red chili was a great chicken dish. Probably brined, this crispy chinese style dish had very juicy chicken. Homemade shrimp chips with actual shrimp. A must get, luckily we added it on. Must order, but it was not on the November 2016 menu..
Steamed Black Cod – young ginger, cilantro, Shitake broth, smoked Oyster sauce was the other great dish of the night. Buttery smooth and cooked perfectly. Must order.
Fried Rice ($9) is what they serve to kids. Try to order this, it is a fantastic version. Apparently Brandon cooks this at home. Lucky family! In November 2016 we noticed a Fried Rice with Steak on the menu.
Black Sesame Cake ($13 a la carte) – rosebud mousse, strawberry confit, ginger is interesting Asian influence dessert. Clearly sesame is the theme, yet it has the sweetness profile of an American dessert. Chinese food has always not made dessert important. Red bean soup, oranges, are the norm.
Jian Dui ($6) with black sesame, quince, coconut were 3 freshly fried sesame balls. Filled a little too full, the balls were hot and crispy. Interesting twist. The menu shows this dish for $5. Hmm, someone got it wrong!
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
Do you agree with our review? Have you found other similar restaurants that are better?