170 O'Farrell St. (Macy's), Union Square
Status: Opened today
The fast-casual chain Asian Box has debuted its first San Francisco location today, in the former Wolfgang Puck Express space in the basement of Macy's. The company is the brainchild of restaurateur Frank Klein and chef team Grace Nguyen (Out the Door Bush) and Chad Newton (Fish & Farm). Their objective: fresh, healthy and fast lunches for tourists and office workers, inspired by Asian street food. (It's been smooth sailing so far: they plan to open three L.A. locations in 2014.)
As with the other Asian Boxes in Palo Alto and Mountain View, diners build their own combo meal out of a choice of white or brown rice, rice noodles, or Asian vegetable salad. They then choose a protein like coconut curry tofu or lemongrass-marinated pork, and shower the whole dish with add-ons like vegetables, fresh herbs, sriracha, peanut sauce, or jalapeños. A couple of spring rolls and drinks like Vietnamese iced coffee round out the menu. As soon as the license comes through, they'll also have beer, wine, and hard cider. Asian Box Union Square's hours will be Monday-Saturday, 11 am-9 pm, and Sunday, 11 am-7 pm.