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For the adventurous or merely curious, Allen Shi’s more than $1 million baby is a must visit. Shi hired chef Jian Li directly from Sichuan to prepare his province’s traditional yet exacting cuisine, in a contemporary atmosphere defined by a theatrical open kitchen, pulsing bar, and impressively refined dining room. The food is a triumph of color, flavor, and texture. Bang bang chicken brings ribbons of moist chilled breast glistening in fragrant Sichuan-seasoned chili oil. Crisped pork belly soup is a medley of translucent broth and seasonal emerald greens. Steamed lamb brings a loosely bound “loaf” of minced shank meat spiked with powerfully floral spice. Even the kung pao chicken is revelatory, with its tongue-numbing peppercorns and a thin but dark sauce. Shi opened the excellent YiPing in San Ramon and Sichuan Fortune House in Pleasant Hill, but China Lounge is a world-class venture. Lunch and dinner daily.
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