When chef/owner Brandon Jew opened the restaurant earlier this year, he envisioned a lively place where diners could come for a banquet-style menu that mirrored the large format meals associated with celebratory occasions. Ultimately, though, the banquet format proved a bit of an obstacle for repeat diners, in terms of both price and time commitment. Now a la carte dishes range from salt and vinegar shrimp chips ($6) to a whole tea-smoked Liberty farms duck ($110).
Coincidentally, at the same time that Jew made the decision to go a la carte, Chron critic Michael Bauer published an article about the Bay Area’s shift to fixed-price menus, citing restaurants like Trestle and Petit Crenn. “None of these restaurants could have been successful without an alignment of several factors: a dining public that is adventuresome, open-minded and trusting; and a critical mass of restaurants so chefs aren’t compelled to offer a menu that pleases everyone,” writes Bauer. It’s an interesting contradiction to Jew’s experience, who has received pushback on the menu prices in the past (at opening, Mister Jiu’s offered five courses for $69 vs five courses for $87 at Petit Crenn).
The next person that says my version of Chinese food is too expensive, I'm calling a racist— Mister Jiu's (@MisterJiu) June 11, 2016
Regardless, Jew wanted to make sure his restaurant was an accessible dining option that would draw people back to Chinatown again and again. “Part of the decision behind the change is that I wanted people to feel like they could come back for any reason, rather than making it a big commitment, “ Jew told Eater, though he still feels the banquet style is important to understanding the experience of eating Chinese food. “But when I started to think about how people relate to Chinese food in America, people tend to create their own banquet.” Now diners have the option to order a plethora of dishes to share, or opt for an eight dish banquet menu for the table.
Diners can also expect to choose from a few differently themed banquet menus in the future, corresponding with holidays like Chinese New Years. “The banquets are still important; it’s about learning how to connect with people.”
Mister Jiu’s is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m.- 10:30; the menu is available in both the dining room and the bar.