Friday, February 1, 2019

Chef Zhao Bistro, Mountain View

Prior to our trips to Mountain View, I solicited restaurant recommendations from friends who live and work there. When asked what kinds of food hubby and I like that we don't get much of where we live, both of our answers were: good Chinese food, preferably the spicy and tongue-numbing variety. We got three recommendations in return: Chef Zhao Bistro, Chef Zhao Kitchen, and Hunan Impression.

I checked them all out online of course. We were planning a mini reunion just like those we had in Taipei with our college friends. With everyone's work schedule, Hunan Impression was too far out of the way and so we were left with two Chef Zhao restaurants. Since I was just down the street from Chef Zhao Bistro wandering around downtown Mountain View, hubby zipped back from his office to meet me there for a quick lunch as soon as the place opened at 11:30am.

For a whole few minutes, we got the restaurant all to ourselves. It filled up pretty quickly though. So many of the patrons spoke Chinese the waiters and waitresses didn't even bother with English. They saw my face and just started to fire rapid Chinese at us. Thankfully we understood and things were fine, but if you do go, be prepared :)

During our first trip, I was quite tame with our order. Hubby had less an hour for lunch and plus we had reunion dinner to look forward to. So I only ordered one veggie and one meat dish, with the intention to finish both without having to take any leftovers. Trust me, there were many more dishes I was dying to try so it took all of my self-restraint not to order them. The garlic sprout was yummy. Toothpick Beef was decent with the spice but was oddly sweet. I prefer my Chinese food spicy and salty, thank you very much.

Second trip was even more rushed than the first, and plus all that rain. We ended up ordering take out again at Chef Zhao Bistro and ate it together with our friend who was staying at a hotel nearby. For three adults we ordered four dishes and ate our fill. We left a little bit of leftovers with our friend who ate it for lunch the next day.

Spicy Pepper with Shredded Beef was ok. Mapo tofu was great. Garlic sprouts was as yummy as I remember. Chongqing spicy chicken (重慶辣子雞) was yummy but not as spicy and numbing as I'd like, but that's just me and my craving for super spicy food. Conclusion: would eat again.


Citrine said...

That mapo tofu looks yummy! Despite being kind of from Hunan, I cant take anything spicy...except for crawfish, which doesn't taste right otherwise.

I actually likes how people just assume you are Chinese feels homey. There was one time I went a pho restaurant in Manhattan Chinatown and started going order with Cantonese and the young waiter was like ????? (But seriously, even the hispanic fruit vendor does business in Cantonese there so I wasn't asking for that much).

D. said...

Hey Mina,

You know what the irony is? Where I live you can go to Pho and order in Vietnamese and everything's good, and then the staff will go back into the kitchen and you'll hear them speak Cantonese to each other LOL xD!

If there's such thing as language-envy, I envy Cantonese and Japanese speakers the most. My two favorite languages, really! Cantonese because it most resembles how Medieval Chinese sounded, like Tang poetry will rhyme when read in Cantonese but won't when read in Mandarin, etc. Vietnamese is closer to Cantonese than Mandarin as well, and likewise Tang poetry will also rhyme when read in Han-Vietnamese. How awesome is that?! In fact, I studied Mandarin in college because 18-yearold me naively assumed that the Chinese major my college offered was in Cantonese. And then I stuck around because Chinese characters are beautiful and I wanted to learn them xD And Japanese because of its many complex layers.


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