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133 Steuart St. (near Mission St.) San Francisco
Pluses: Beautiful setting, jazz music, elaborate dishes.
Minuses: Not all the dishes are worth the price.
Price: Appetizers: $8-$16; Entrees: $16-$75
Overview: Hours: Lunch weekly, Dinner daily, late music and dining until 11p.m.
This below street level high-style Chinese restaurant com jazz club evokes the grandeur and glamour of pre-revolutionary China. There's dramatic lighting, antique urns and artwork, etched glass separators and high-backed booths. In the bar area jazz music is played late and bar food is available until 11p.m. The dining experience is not always as authentic as some of the more modest Chinese restaurants around San Francisco, but it certainly is luxurious. Some of the more exotic dishes include silky tofu with crab roe; a crisply fried squirrel fish - cut and cooked to look like a squirrel; and minced duck in lettuce cups. The appetizers include a seafood custard with osetra caviar; stir fried greens with fermented tofu and the fanciful-named fish pillows in a wine sauce with mushrooms. The bananas Foster is a lovely and rich way to finish your repast.