Since my dad is in town, I am being fed fancy food for free. Tonight, we went to Sino
, which an immensely trendy Chinese restaurant. I could tell it was trendy because I couldn't hear myself think over the noise and the music, and it had a color theme of black and red and lighting so dim you couldn't really see.
Also, they had black toilets in the bathroom to match the decor. I was immensely amused by this.
There were also eight-foot-tall Chinese characters written on the red wallpaper in the hallway to the bathroom. I tried standing back to read them, but the hall was so narrow that I ended up whacking the back of my head against a wall.
To further comment on the bathroom (I swear, I will get to the food), the faucets were also extremely trendy things that basically looked like rods of metal sticking out of the wall. I assumed they used motion sensors, but after waving my hands around a few times and not getting any water, I figured it must be an extremely well-disguised non-motion-sensor faucet. I twisted. Water indeed came out. Alas, it ended up arcing into the next sink, thereby confirming that a) the faucet used very poor motion sensors and b) I nearly broke the faucet.
After confirming that no one saw me aim a faucet at another sink, I managed to wash my hands and get back to my food.
The menu is an interesting blend of traditional Chinese-American food (Szechuan beans, ma po tofu, even mu shu pork) and fusion (Kobe beef tartare and crab risotto). We ended up getting lobster dumplings, Kobe beef burgers, quail, scallop and prawns, seasonal vegetables and fried noodles.
The lobster dumplings were rather interesting; normal potstickers with a shumai-like shrimp mixture inside, with chunks of lobster. Sadly, the dipping sauce was a little too sweet, and the shrimp taste overwhelmed the lobster taste. Also, while I don't dislike shumai, they aren't my favorite as well. The Kobe beef burgers were teeny little mini burgers (three), which split nicely with me, my mom and my dad. I noticed after eating mine that all of them had different toppings. I inadvertantly took the one with sauteed, wonderfully carmelized onions (muhahaha!), while the others had tomato and cucumber. And while the beef wasn't anything remotely Chinese, the burgers were tasty and juicy and beefy. Mmmmm.
I thought that the food would be fairly fusion-esque after tasting the appetizers, since they didn't really resemble traditional Chinese food at all, but it actually turned out fairly normal! The seasonal greens (bok choi) were delicious and light and crunchy, with a small scattering of chili pepper over it (not as traditional). The quail was served with sticky rice with black mushrooms (the kind that comes steamed in a lotus leaf), which was tasty but a little too sticky, and nearly-pickled cabbage and carrots. But oh, quail! I probably should feel guilty for eating a bird so small, but I wasn't thinking about the teeny drumsticks and wings because the skin was crisp and the meat was dripping with fat, and it was that perfect taste in which it's nearly too salty, but not quite.
The scallops-prawn-and-sugar-snap-pea stirfry was also fairly traditional, only with sugar snap peas instead of snow peas, with the addition of shallotts. The scallops were slightly overcooked and too tough, as were the prawns, but the sugar snap peas were delicious, and I'm not just saying that because I like peas. Then there were fried noodles with tomatoes, bell peppers and beef, which was more sweet and sour and therefore tasted more American, but it was still good, though different.
But mmmm, quail. Tomorrow, fusion-Vietnamese! And the day after, a surprise restaurant in Napa!