Eight Tables (San Francisco)

Huh, anyone interested? I like the idea of the private kitchen just wondering if that price point will bear fruit.

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Here’s a couple of posts around the chef- Robin Lin’s background:

Hopefully the price is backed up by good food. Any idea what the menu looks like?

If they have a proper restaurant license, it seems like labeling themselves as a private kitchen is just marketing spin. Private kitchens are by definition legally questionable because of a lack of licensing. It offers a certain degree of intimacy because of the small size and mostly spreads by word-of-mouth. Its also priced competitively because of lower overhead. The term is over-used these days.

Oh nice, thanks for the links. Sounds interesting though I can’t say I’m really that familiar with higher end Taiwanese/Hakka cooking style (closest I had was dinner at Shin Yeh, and I thought that was an okay experience).

I can’t find anything on their current website even though they allow reservations now.

Ha very true. I’m just curious if they are able to bring that haute cuisine feeling from overseas.

that decor is not for me. looks like a hotel lobby. don’t think i’d do it for that price, either. but, always curious!

The food:

Iberico pork char sui – it never occurred to me that meat other than the leg was used from these animals :slight_smile:

There are a ton of reservations available on OpenTable. I’m curious, but at that price, I prefer to hear from others that the meal will be a slamdunk

Only time I recall seeing iberico pork char siu was in HK at Tin Lung Heen (which I uh… didn’t spring the money for haha…).

Yeah definitely, though I hope some of the reviewers have tried some comparable top places in HK or Taiwan to judge. At least hopefully it’ll make it a more reasonable review.

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Lots of press today including an article describing how Eight Tables is mimicing si fang cai (私房菜), or “private room dishes”, a tradition of Chinese chefs serving a banquet in a private kitchen.

and KQED and Tablehopper share a bit about an opening dinner for press:

http://www.tablehopper.com/chatterbox/a-preview-look-at-eight-tables-by-george-chen-a-high-end-dining-experience-at-china-live/

Reading through these it seems to me that there is more emphasis towards flashy ingredients and decor than I’m interested in paying for. I’m the sort that would appreciate perfect execution on traditional dishes more than gold foil or other expensive ingredients-like caviar everywhere-that seem to be mostly for show. And though it is still a preview, one reviewer mentioned it could use a touch more finesse at that price point.

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Hello Everyone! This is George Chen, Executive Chef at China Live and Eight Tables. I’m most impressed with all the research you guys dig up and appreciate the sincere unbiased opinions expressed here. I’m not a chef by training but have own and created 16 restaurants and most all the menus within them as I’m generally the creative force behind the scenes. My first restaurant was Betelnut in 1995 but sold it in 2004. My last restaurant is Roosevelt Prime Steakhouse in Shanghai China.

At Eight Tables I reach back to the Song Dynasty for the 10 classic coursings starting with cold appetizers. Here I curated nine essential flavors using a myriad of techniques and ingredients. We go from there to explore more diverse cooking techniques but with a nod to western luxury ingredients as we are after all in SF and charging $225. Later on I will push the limits more and go with Chinese luxury ingredients but no sharks fin or bear paw please :slight_smile:

Robin Lin is my Chef de Cuisine and hails from Taiwan where he was the Exec Director of the Chefs Association. He has worked with me for over 3 years doing food there and my other home base Shanghai.

BTW, we use Bellota Iberico collar cut for the Char Siu and yes I got the idea from Hing Lung Keen in HK.

Hope you guys continue to give me great feedback and I’m not acting as a interloper here.

Best to you all serious epicureans!

Chef George

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Tasting Court has it too. Its made with the tenderloin.

Third picture:

Tin Lung Heen uses the shoulder according to this SCMP piece:

<_< … … I uh… also ate that I realized. Haha oops.

Though the marinade at tasting court never resonated like the typical char siu (like say Joy Hing). It was very very delicious though.

Will you rotate the menu say based on various regions of China in the later runs? This month is more northern, next is more western, etc.?

This is a comment that’s not specific to the chef- but I always though American tasting menus, while certainly are very expensive to many including me, but not as much when compared to expensive Chinese dishes. A live deep sea fish, though no one would just eat it by themselves, can be the price of a tasting menu. So its somewhat amusing that Chinese food has difficulty commanding prices on par with that of, e.g. French food, around here. But perhaps Eight Tables may change that. Perhaps with a $$$$ Australian Coral Trout supplement for the table…

Yes absolutely. There are eight primary regional cuisines in China and area spans larger than Europe so diversity is most important. But in the beginning we need to have our guests accept us on some more general premise that ultra fresh and great ingredients with technically precise cooking and plating can be presented with acceptance. The perception of Chinese is only good when cheap has to stop. So in the beginning we show the many different techniques such as BBQ roasting, dimsum and noodle making, oil poaching, slow cook braising, a little frying, steaming etc into the first sets…once we get people to enjoy that experience…watch out as I’m going to be pushing the limits :))

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Ageee completely! Live Grouper is HK or Shanghai can costs hundreds and yet most Chinese restaurants here if they have fish use frozen sole filet or worse Tilapia!

First professional review of Eight Tables from Josh Sens:

Couldn’t quite figure out whether he thinks its worth the money, or comparable to other restaurants of similar price points.

Anyone been yet?

We’ll get better each and every day at Eight Tables. We use the very best organic when possible ingredients with lots of luxury components and prep daily for our guests as we don’t have a freezer. As well each of the dishes takes multiple steps to prepare. The first course alone is nine small plates and each require 2-3 steps so that’s 27x35 covers just for the first course. So far the guests have overwhelmingly voted its worth the money as most importantly they remember their dining experience. We will continue to push the envelope as we are still very very new and need acceptance of Chinese cuisine at this level from the public. Thanks for posting and sharing. Chef George Chen

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2 stars for food.

‘One element that stood out over the three visits was the lack of luxury or exotic ingredients that one expects in this price range.’

At least the moneyed class in China would pay good money for the truffles, caviar, and foie.

And Iberico pork

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold