Betelnut's dining room. [Photo: SanFranciscoRestaurants.com]
Big changes are afoot at Cow Hollow's Betelnut: while chef Alexander Ong will remain at the helm, nearly everything else about the restaurant is getting a makeover, including its menu, cocktail program, and name. Starting next week, it'll be known as Hutong, the Chinese word for an alley or narrow street (particularly in Beijing). Betelnut has been in business for 18 years, with Ong running the show for the past 12, and both chef and owners felt like it might be time to shake things up from the slightly dated menu of dumplings, calamari, and green beans, according to Inside Scoop.
Hutong's new menu will focus on Chinese, Malaysian, and Vietnamese street food, with a menu designed for sharing and most plates in the $9-15 range. From the tone of Ong's Facebook announcement, it sounds like he's excited to make the shift: "No more Happy meals. We will start fresh & have some fun cooking." The space will get a refresher, the tiki-style cocktails on the beverage menu will also be axed, and Ong has plans for a new grill and naan oven.
Betelnut plans to close after dinner this Sunday, March 3, and will be back online a week later or so, on March 11. If you're looking for a last fix of chicken-lettuce cups or beggar's chicken, now's your chance&8212;though Ong says some of Betelnut's fare could return down the line in the form of a street-food truck, and he promised a Facebook fan desperate to know the fate of the beggar's chicken that it can still be ordered with 24 hours' notice. We'll have more info on the facelift and the new menus as they emerge.