Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chez Papa Resto & Yank Sing

I discovered a couple of great new places during my last visit to San Francisco. While Chez Papa Resto dishes award-winning French cuisine, Yang Sing brings to this city the magic of Hong Kong's yum cha. Both restaurants are listed among the Top 100 of the best in the entire Bay Area. One Eastern, the other Western, but both a testiment to culinary art and tradition that has stood the test of time.

Chez Papa RestoChez Papa Resto is a stylish little place just off the Westfield shopping mall on the crossing of Market and 4th. This restaurant was voted one of the Bay Area's ten best restaurants in 2008 and continues to be listed in Bay Area's Top 100 Restaurants. Chef David Bazirgan showcases the region's freshest seasonal ingredients with great deal of attention to detail.

Butter Lettuce Salad at Chez Papa RestoThis was one of those rare sunny days in San Francisco, so I decided to take a seat outside and dine al-fresco. They have a business lunch menu option consisting of three courses that looked just right. They started me off with a butter-lettuce salad that was excellent. The butter, the fresh and crisp lettuce with the acidity of the vinaigrette was sublime on the palate!

Hanger Steak at Chez Papa RestoThe main course of Grilled Hanger Steak was delightful too! I have begun to grow a taste for this particular cut of meat since my first experience. The fries that accompanied the steak was among the best, with a subtle garlic flavor and the perfect crisp outer layer covering a steaming hot, soft interior.

Chocolate Mousse at Chez Papa RestoI ended with a chocolate mousse topped with some freshly cut strawberries. Everything about the lunch was just right. Sitting outdoors under the metal lattice covered with vines and the sun peeking through enhanced the experience too.

Another time, I returned but took a table indoors. The quality of food on offer continued to amaze me, even though my expectations were higher after the first visit. The soup de jour, a hot cream of bean soup was excellent. The grilled salmon was served on a bed of fingerling potatoes that were fried in their jackets with spinach and capers. Another excellent entree in the business lunch menu. I ended with the Orange Blossom panna cotta with orange sorbet to complete another memorable lunch experience.

Soup de Jour at Chez Papa Resto
Grilled Salmon at Chez Papa Resto
Orange Blossom Panna Cotta at Chez Papa RestoYank Sing is a busy place on weekends. There was a long wait for tables and so I decided to take a place at the bar instead. However, the dim-sums on offer are among the best I have had in the United States. Shrimp and pork dumplings, mushroom and chicken sui mui, sticky rice with savory fillings and beans in spicy fish sauce, they were all steaming hot and excellent. The bar was too crowded for me to take pictures.

Yank Sing has a lot of history. This restaurant, located on Spear Street within the building that houses the US Postal Service, first opened in 1958 by Alice Chan. Her son apparently started rolling dumplings at nine and continued on for 49 years! It continues to be run by her great grandchilden.

Prices at Yank Sing are steeper than the regular dum-sum places, but the quality is certainly worth it. As for Chez Papa Resto, if you value high quality food, this is a must visit the next time you are near Union Square in San Francisco.

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