Mister Jiu’s, the modern Chinese restaurant from chef Brandon Jew, has been characterized by its five-course banquet-style meal menu, served family-style atop mid-century lazy Susans. One of the most anticipated openings of 2016, the restaurant was also notably adhering to a traditional Chinese way of dining out (banquet-style), while offering a modernized version of the cuisine in the heart of Chinatown.
Keeping the Menu Flexible
Now, almost four months after opening, Jew is tweaking things a bit, introducing a three-course menu at $45 per person. “We have always loved the idea of having a banquet but thought ‘how often can you eat a banquet every week?’” said Jew. “We wanted people to feel like it didn't have to be a particular occasion to come in.” Additionally, diners can now choose their courses from all categories, whereas before diners had to choose one each from five categories, like soup, salad, or meat. It’s a change that meant to ease the regulated feel of the menu, while maintaining the banquet idea.
“We want people to feel like the menu isn’t restricting them, but it’s important for us to hold onto the idea of people sharing their meal, and experiencing something special to Chinese dining,” says Jew. “We to stay away from that formula of everyone having their own plate. It's a way for people to try more, and to not feel like they might’ve had a different experience than another person.”
Along those lines, a curated vegetarian menu is in the works, something that most Chinese restaurants (modern or not) don’t always consider a priority. Right now vegetarians are easily able to create their own three- or five-course meal from the menu, separate of their carnivorous companions, but Jew says he wants diners to feel completely included in the experience, not ostracized by the menu, or choosing a separate series of courses.
An a la carte menu became available at the bar soon after opening, allowing diners to order special bar bites, and some dining room items. Jew says that he’s still working to define the difference between the bar menu and dining room menu, while simultaneously defining the plan for the upstairs banquet hall/lounge project (which is a ways off).
In the meantime, more dumplings and snacky things are headed to the menu, which is also a great way to experience Mister Jiu’s in a less expensive capacity. Since the kitchen is butchering whole animals, Jew is offering limited selections of less plentiful cuts like salmon collar on the bar menu for lower prices, while the fillets are priced regularly in the dining room.
Bowls of Booze
Last but not least, large format cocktails are on the horizon. Think large bowls of serve-yourself punches with a huge block of ice— a welcome addition to the concept of family-style dining. Bar manager Danny Louie is working on the menu now, which will feature larger versions of some favorites from the bar men now, but bigger. Expect “Double Happiness” to hit the center of your table sometime very soon.