Eight Tables (San Francisco)

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:


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


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 :))


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

Well Bauer obviously thinks Chinese should be cheap and continue the stereotype. I’m just so miffed that he doesn’t get it at all with Chinese food. His assertions are off-based at best and frankly doesn’t even get the ingredients right. The luxury ingredients which I alluded to in my previous posts was an ‘olive branch’ to the western cuisines so we add more caviar, truffles, lobster, Iberico pork, Bottarga, than any of the current Michelin ***'s in the Bay Area…and yet he says the opposite. The techniques are steeped in ancient Chinese traditions and we also incorporate new cooking methods like a touch sous-vide, dehydration, spherification, etc to show we are current with world trends. Overall it is the most focused, detailed cooking with the best ingredients one can source and we don’t even have a freezer! One man’s opinion shouldn’t matter but he’s been in that catbird seat for 23 years. My gloves are off now as no more deferring to critics and we will cook what we will and the public to date have loved it!

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I don’t think anyone who knows and loves Chinese food would pay any attention to Bauer’s recommendations or lack thereof, when it comes to Asian food in general but especially Chinese.

But you have to remember, the glory days of Hong Kong chefs emigrating and opening the first regional cuisine restaurants was back in the 1980’s. Critics weren’t paying much attention to any Asian food except for Barbara Tropp’s China Moon Bistro.

And once the regional restaurants were sold to second and then third new owners, after the dot-com bust the cooking just slowly deteriorated into cheap slop again.

It’s going to take time and effort to get SF diners to break through the stereotype. Look at Thai food - even Lers Ros and Daughter Thai Kitchen barely approach the original Khan Toke/SF (no relation except in name to the one there now), but these days you can get sugared-up cheap yellow Thai curries all over the Bay Area.


thanks for the encouragement. i think this is a story that still rings true in today’s america!

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“Authentic” “luxury” would be more like bear paw or shark fin. Handwringing over “luxury” in this politically correct era of concern over inequality seems so 1980s when one supposedly “could have it all”.