1111 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103
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This is a serious looking teochew menu. Any idea where the chef came from? It is a rather curious location to put this menu in. Will the mid-market appreciate it?
I’d love to sample the chef’s marinade, the yellow feather chicken soups, the fish head soup, the pickled cabbage bass clay pot, the jade tofu, and the desserts…
From their staff ads, “120 seat restaurant featuring Chiu Chow cuisine, located in San Francisco SOMA district. Clean, contemporary look and feel. The kitchen will be headed up by Chinese-born master chefs. Chiu Chow cooking, originating in China’s Guangdong province, is known for seafood and vegetarian dishes and flavor profiles based on fresh, quality ingredients rather than an abundance of spice. TEO Restaurant will have a robust beverage program, with a rich selection of classic, contemporary and original signature cocktails.”
Anyone interested in a meetup here next week, Wed/Thursday?
You would most likely able to gather a group if you post on the Chowdown groups:
And they have teochew congee! Not a frequent sighting, at least for me, in the Bay Area. Has anyone tried this dish, and the marinade?
The hotel is owned by the hotel management company Hai Yi, who owns 3 properties in China (2 in Shan Tou) and 5 in San Francisco. The two head chefs at Teo transferred from the Shan Tou hotel 5 months ago to start putting the menu together. Shan Tou is part of the Canton province that eats Chiu Chow/ Teo Chew cuisine. The rest of the staff joined them 2 months ago.
The menu is very Chiu Chow focused. The dinner and lunch menus serve different food. The oyster congee is only served during lunch. The following is an evening meal. The dishes are recommended by the male gentleman with glasses.
Chicken & Pine Mushroom Soup:
Soup is very concentrated in good chicken flavor with mushroom flavor in the background. I cook a shitake mushroom chicken soup at home (plus other stuff like goji berries, lotus seeds, and some other stuff). The two tastes pretty similar. I’d argue that my version tastes more complex though it doesn’t take anything away from Teo’s version.
Teo Chew Stir-fried Rice Noodles: Chopped gai lan sauteed with noodle with a bit of red chili pepper heat. Nice flavor from the wok heat. The gentleman recommended the vegetarian version.
Beef Filet with Mushrooms: Black pepper fan will enjoy this dish. Beef, onions and mushrooms were boldly flavored with a strong peppery sauce.
Marinated Goose Meat: The marinade was a bit ‘in-your-face’ salty sweet. I prefer a more nuanced/ subtle marinade.
Free appetizers: peanuts coated with sugar and pickled cabbage
Didn’t have a chance to try the Chiu Chow desserts.
The staff was very friendly and accommodating, especially towards young children. They went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable and its appreciated. The order of serving the dishes were a bit random, with the soup coming first, then the beef, then the noodle, and lastly the room temperature marinated goose.
Modern space. Tables were well spaced and everyone sat comfortably.
I still think the location is a bit odd for a highly Chiu Chow menu.
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Went last night. I don’t know what the deal is, but whatever their efforts in controlling quality are (I’m referencing Melanie Wong’s chowhound review that the chefs were taking pains to “ensure consistency and quality”) , they don’t seem to be working on Wednesday nights around 6. I have to think that we ended up with the B-team in the kitchen for all but one of our dishes.
The highlight was the sea cucumber, which had a nice snap to it in a delicate sauce. The oyster pancake was fine but had little of the crispness Melanie mentioned in her review. Shrimp ball appetizer was also OK, with a fairly light consistency, but seemed like it had been fried at too low a temperature to really get the surface of the balls deliciously crispy rather than greasy.
The pork stew was a borderline disaster. While all the components - sliced pork belly, pig ears, thin rectangles of tofu, hard boiled egg - were tasty and had great texture, the dish was wrecked by being far too salty, like the cook had accidentally cooked it in twice the correct amount of soy sauce. The small portion of rice served with the dish was not nearly enough to balance out the salt. I am eating the leftovers as I type this with a huge pile of rice and with a couple splashes of water added to the stew.
On top of this, the maitre d’/host was clueless about the grand opening offer that Melanie mentions in her review (“a complimentary platter of signature dishes, plus $5.00 cocktails”). After checking around once I showed him the Facebook offer on my phone, he confirmed there was an offer…great, except no complimentary platter ever showed up, and we didn’t feel like pressing the point. There is no cocktail list yet, so as best as I can make out you either were supposed to go to the bar yourself and order a standard cocktail like a martini or old fashioned, or give your order to your server to relay to the bar.
Teo clearly has the potential to be a very good restaurant - I could see beautifully cut veggies on dishes at other tables, and the staff did seem to care about people’s experience - but quality/price ratio, based on my experience last night, felt like a ripoff. It’s hard to stomach when a Chinese restaurant charges these kinds of prices but then cuts corners on little things like serving the $4-5 Ten Ren tea with tea bags instead of using looseleaf tea. We left glad that we had decided not to gamble $38 on one of the crab dishes.
We lunched on Thursday at 11:30 am, complimentary honey roasted peanuts and the comped appetizer plate of pork belly, goose, and marinated tofu from the facebook offer which expires today; double-boiled chicken and pine mushroom soup, and the Teo Chew rice noodles with seafood of shrimp and squid. Flavors are delicate and vegetables are bright and crisp. The pork belly was succulent, the goose, rich. I enjoyed the hot broth in the doubled boiled chicken soup.
No $5 cocktails offered at lunch - the bar was closed.
Has anyone tried Teo, a Chaozhou place on Mission? That cuisine is seriously unrepresented in the Bay Area.
I’m answering my own question, for my wife and I had dinner here tonight. Context: Chaozhou food is our most favorite cuisine; when we’re in China or Hong Kong it’s our go-to. That said, we enjoyed our meal very much. To wit: we ordered the goose as an appetizer and received an entree-size portion. The poaching liquid, aka master sauce, is a little unrefined still; I guess the chefs didn’t bring their own with them. Given time it will achieve a deeper flavor. Still, it was very tasty.
The oyster and egg omelet was almost perfect, the only drawback being the size of the oysters. In China we are served tiny oysters, literally bite-size. These may be unavailable here. Otherwise the dish was as good as we get in Hong Kong. We also ordered stir-fried spinach, which was assertively flavored with garlic, a plus for us.
An unexpected plus for me was the full bar, from which I was served two very good martinis. I have a hard time thinking of good Chinese restaurants around here which offer full bar service, but then I don’t usually look for one.
I hope these folks get enough busy to stay open.
if you are looking for other good Chinese restaurants in SF with full bar service, try Mister Jiu and Hakkasan. (Crystal Jade also does but i haven’t been in ages so i won’t suggest it.)
Strange place— it being a hotel restaurant, the clientele was 90% European tourists on the Tuesday I went.
I’m not too familiar with Teochow cuisine, so would like to return with a larger group to better get a sense of the menu.
I really liked the goose appetizer. It was served with two dips— the drippings in one dish and vinegar in another, which helped cut the richness.
Soups are individually portioned. The cod soup, which was thickened with rice of some sort IIRC, was heavy on the peppercorns, and evoked hot and sour soup and congee. The chunks of cod were plump and clean tasting and I enjoyed the dish overall.
I’ve never had taro prepared in the way pictured above, so didn’t know what to expect. It could have used a salty dip— it was pasty more then crisp
The Teochow noodles were pretty good. No char, but the light flavor worked well with the crunchy slices of Chinese broccoli (gai lab) stems. As leftovers, I gussied this up with goose juices to good effect.
There’s a Kickstarter for a cookbook about Teochew and Swatow cuisine, and the author, Diana Zheng, posted a short interview with Teo’s chef. Zheng also has a good article in the Cleaver Quarterly about this cuisine.
Does this book have an ISBN number? Thanks.
ISBN Number is 962-14-3107-7
Thanks for the very prompt and helpful reply. I was able to find a copy.