2190 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Phone: (510) 843-7996
Status: Opening today at noon
Two years after its original Berkeley location was destroyed in a kitchen fire, Great China has reemerged in a new, larger venue just a block away. The Yu family (father Ching and sons Tai and James), which owns Great China, had been looking at moving into the new location, which they already owned, for many years, but it wasn't until fate intervened in the form of the fire and the closure of then-tenant Looney's BBQ that the family was able to make the move. At 150 seats, it's 30 seats larger than the original location, with space for a lounge and for the acclaimed wine cellar (though much of the original stock was sadly destroyed in the blaze). The beer and wine license isn't online yet, but should be ready in a few weeks; the restaurant is also in the process of applying for full liquor, with hopes of serving a menu of mostly classic cocktails with a few tiki drinks thrown in.
While the space has undergone some big changes, the menu is staying mostly the same, with crowd favorites like walnut prawns, Peking duck, double-skin noodles, and stir-fried crab with steamed buns. A handful of new dishes, like a braised soy-ginger beef shank, also make appearances. The dessert menu has been expanded as well, with new options like a fromage blanc cheesecake flavored with buddha's hand citrus and a tofu flower topped with coconut-palm sugar syrup. And fans of lunch will still find every combo clocking in under $9. Here's the lunch menu and the dinner menu.
In addition to the aforementioned wine and prospective liquor license, Great China will be offering an improved selection of tea, sourced in cooperation with local importer Country Cheese Coffee Market. The space was redesigned by Tai Yu (who's an architect himself) in collaboration with Walnut Creek-based Harriman Kinyon Architects, and features reclaimed wood exterior slats and a reclaimed walnut bar top. The overall look is sleek and modern, with cylindrical lighting fixtures and a lit back bar. The set menus for groups remain available, at $16-20 per head, and six large tables in the back can accommodate large groups (and will eventually be walled off with glass to create a private-dining space). Great China will open today just before noon; regular hours will be daily from 11:30 am-3 pm for lunch and 5-10 pm for dinner.
· Great China to open in new Berkeley spot in days [Berkeleyside Nosh]
· Kitchen Fire Maims Two Downtown Berkeley Restaurants [~ ESF ~]
· Great China [Facebook]