Chinese >Jai Yun
680 Clay St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9413337.794570 -122.404449
Neighborhoods: Northeast, Financial District
Amazing meal at this Chinatown hole-in-the-wall – No wonder it's also known as the "Chinese Laundry." The chef serves up seriously fresh and interesting produce for the first several veggie courses, then you're treated to an assorment of pork, beef and finally fish and seafood dishes that'll amaze. We felt it was a great deal going with the $45 per person plan. Especially considering they have no wine/beer, so we brought our own and saved even more.
Pay no mind to the cheesy decor; it's all about the stellar Shanghainese food at this wee spot on the edge of Chinatown. – The Scene
Decked out in inadvertent kitsch, with baseball-sized rotating disco balls and dangling icicle Christmas lights, no one comes to Jai Yun for the ambience. Service is seriously no-frills, sometimes diners even have to get their own water, but the small on-site staff is so charming it's easy to forgive.
Chef Nei' Chia Ji bangs out some serious home cooking from in and around Shanghai. All meals are prix fixe; diners choose a dollar amount from $30 to $150, and let the kitchen have its way with them. A battery of cold appetizers swarms the tabletop first: items such as musky-sweet cilantro, smoked tofu, and pine nut salad, red-hued boiled peanuts, and smoked carp. From there, the assault continues through classics like red-cooked pork belly on cellophane noodles to an austere mélange of abalone and scrambled egg whites. There's often no dessert served; in its place is the ritual appearance of Chef Nei' at meal's end.
Small Plates from Shanghai – Stopped by Jai Yun tonight after reading glowing reviews. Dinner is prix fixe, we went with the $40/person deal and started off with 8 cold appetizers (party of 3) which included cold peppery beef slices, pickled cucumber slices and vinegary peanuts. 8 warm small plates followed with the highlights being a shrimp/peppers and spicy chicken dish. The food served here is from the Shanghai region, quite a bit different than what you would find in most area chinese restaurants. Decor/service is casual family style. Overall a good spot for authentic Shanghai Chinese food off the beaten path but a bit pricey. My mom has a small appetite and still left the place hungry!
Authentic, marvelous Shanghai cuisine! – This is exactly the kind of place I hoped would be in San Francisco, but which never materialized until now. Chef Nei' Chia Ji is a master. A dinner is prix-fixe and the courses revolve around what the chef has obtained that day. His tofu dishes are amazing, and the man knows how to prepare vegetables--softened but still crisp. Few of the dishes even used soy sauce, and with the exception of those courses that required more sauce, the food was not awash in a congealed pool of sweet-and-salty soy that is ubiquitous at most "Chinese" restaurants. Lastly, don't worry about getting food that "Americans won't eat." Chef Nei' rarely uses offal, and the focus is less on wildly exotic ingredients as it is being true to the Shanghai style. Fantastic flavors, seasonal ingredients, and an expert touch!
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