Museums around the country are upping the ante with dining options, and San Francisco is no exception with restaurants like In Situ from chef Corey Lee at the SFMOMA and Wise Sons Delicatessen at the Jewish Contemporary Museum. The Asian Art Museum is the newest beneficiary of culinary curation, with the announcement of Sunday at the Musuem, a collaboration between chef Deuki Hong of Sunday Bird (also an Eater Young Gun in 2015) and Andrew Chau and Bin Chen (Boba Guys).
The revamped cafe concept is part of a $90 million expansion project, that also includes a rooftop terrace and expanded exhibition spaces. Sunday at the Museum is part of that reinvigoration. “I think the Asian Art Museum likes us because we bring a younger, fresher energy that will attract a new customer base,” Hong told Eater SF. “We’re excited to inject a new concept and culture, and better food.” That new approach includes the hiring of Janet Lee, a former concierge at Saison, who will lead the front of the house, bringing fine-dining hospitality to a casual space.
The menu, below, is a mix-up of Asian cultures, which is part of the museum’s mission to make Asian art and culture more accessible. For Hong, it’s a chance to break away from Korean cuisine, though the fried chicken for which he’s known at Sunday Bird, his pop-up within Boba Guys on Fillmore, will make an appearance.
“It’s a lot of dishes that I want to do but can’t because I am trapped in a Korean concept,” says Hong. “I feel really free here because I can do dim sum. There are no boundaries for me here: I have a platform now to do my interpretation of these awesome dishes that are close to my heart, like khao mun gai and garlic noodles.”
In addition to the cafe, Hong and his partners are planning to open a “secret tea room,” utilizing a private room attached to the cafe space that will serve tea drinks from Tea People, Boba Guys’ tea company that veers away from boba drinks and focuses on high-quality leaves. Hong envisions it as a quiet place away from the hectic cafe where people can lounge, read books, and drink tea, accessible by entering through a door that looks like a bookcase.
Hong has many fresh ideas in the works, including a ticketed three-course dinner menu to be offered on Thursday nights, when the museum stays open til 9 p.m., a dollar oyster happy hour, and the possibility of dim sum brunch on the weekends. The chef also plans to set up roving street carts on the new rooftop, and potentially outside the museum entrance.
Though plans could change, the team is planning for a March 16 opening date. Then, Sunday at the Museum will be open whenever the museum is open: Tuesday—Sunday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Thursdays from 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.