Big night in Oakland tonight. Our friend Dan Scarola is limping around with one crutch and a cast on his leg after snapping his Achilles tendon playing tennis, so we thought we’d take him out. Since it wasn’t fair for me to have the only good looking girl, we brought Gayle Everett along to properly adjust the man to cute blond ratio.
First we had to stop at his house for a glass of wine and a nibble. Dan lives high on Hiller Drive, in a house he rebuilt after his was burned up in the Oakland hills fire of 1991. The views are spectacular:
Dinner was on College Avenue at a place called Chu that Dan frequents. It’s a gorgeous place, narrow but very tall, with dining on two floors. The building was designed specifically for this restaurant and is a very pleasant place to sit in. Not surprisingly, the decor is Asian modern,with huge mirrors to visually double the apparent space.
We started with pot stickers, which were served with a very attractive cruet of sauce:
Next came the best hot and sour soup I’ve ever had. We all raved about it.
We ordered three main dishes, and I only liked one of them, the Beijing Hoisin Pork:
Thick chunks of pork, not overcooked, in the mildly sweet and still savory hoisin sauce. I thought this dish was a hit.
The next dish was the Red Curry Prawns and Crab Noodle.
Loser. Big time loser. The presentation is hardly attractive. I had one bite and found it gritty, fishy, greasy and all around not good. The others liked it, so I guess you have to entertain the notion that I just got it completely wrong about this dish, but I’m not going to be trying it again to find out.
Healthy Danny ordered the Buddha Vegetables, which had lots of mushrooms so I didn’t try them, but they looked pretty decent and Gail liked them.
Service was what you expect in a Chinese restaurant, prices are quite reasonable.
I’m a bit up in the air about Chu. The hot and sour soup is phenomenal, the red curry prawns were dreadful. Beijing Hoisin Pork is an excellent dish and the presentation on the pot stickers is worth the price of the dish all by itself. I guess it’s a qualified “go”, with one big exception. Rockridge is a busy neighborhood so you should make a reservation, particularly on the weekends.