Sunday, March 27, 2016

Dinner @ Uncle Yu's in Livermore, CA

Uncle Yu's is a nicer American style Chinese restaurant in Livermore, CA.  What do I mean by this?  You'll see white table cloths to go along with your kung pao chicken.  The restaurant advertises their attempt to purchase higher quality ingredients for all their dishes, which does come out when you taste them.  The restaurant also does wine pairings, although I've personally never partaken in it.

As far as American style Chinese restaurants go it's pretty good.  You're not going to find much here that's authentic Chinese except for maybe the peking duck.  It's a bit pricier than most, lunch combos are $12-$14 instead of the typical $7-$8 I get at other places.  Dinner entrees are priced up too.

I've been here a number of times for lunch and dinner over the years.  It's outside of the Michelin star, super hyped, or higher end fine dining type of restaurants that I normally blog about.  However, we were here for a friend's birthday and decided to try the 5 course tasting menu.  So I thought I'd write up about it for anyone who may be thinking of getting it and got here to my blog via Google trying to find out about it.

1) salmon puff w/ avocado spread

First up was these two salmon puffs.  Pretty good, although I wish there was a bit more avocado sauce.

2) "happy soup" w/ scallop, shrimp, lobster & fried bao

Next up was this "happy soup", which was a bit sour and spicy.  I didn't expect to like this when reading the description, but it was quite good.   I think tom yum soup from Thai restaurants came to mind, which I do not like.  However, this flavor was much better.  It came with some fried bao to dip into the soup.  I actually don't think I've ever had these bao fried before, only steamed before.  It being fried worked out much better for dipping.  Steamed bao probably would have fallen apart for dipping.

3) tea duck

Next up was tea duck wrapped in pancakes with (what I believe was) some hoisin sauce on the side.  The tea duck was pretty good and not too dry.  A solid classic dish.

4) beef tenderloin

Next up was this stir fried beef tenderloin with mushrooms.  Also pretty good.

5) chocolate cake

Finally some chocolate cake at the end.  At first I thought, "chocolate cake?", I thought they could have atleast given us a red-bean cake of some sort.  Oh well, this is an American style Chinese place.

Overall, a pretty good meal.  Obviously, I'm not going to try and compare this to other restaurants I've reviewed like Benu.  They are just not in the same category.  You aren't going to find any dishes here that are going to challenge your palate.

However, I probably would not recommend this for the price.  I can't recall the exact price, but I believe it was $60 a person before tax & tip.  As a comparison, the tasting at Al's Place is $60, the one at Kin Khao is $55, and the four course price fixe at Aster is $59.  The wine pairings at those restaurants are also cheaper.

So unless this is specifically what you're looking for, I would probably pass on the tasting menu.

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