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Apr 13, 2004 09:47 PM

Chef Chu's in Mountainview

  • c

Had a chance to eat here on a recent visit to the area. Was wondering how this restaurant stacks up to other Chinses restaurants in the Bay area. Although we had more conventional dishes we did enjoy them- especially the honey walnut prawns which are huge compared to what we get in Hawaii.

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  1. Unfortunately Chef Chu targets more at non-asian customers nothing negative about it but in the Bay Area there are plenty of good authentic chinese restaurants

    7 Replies
    1. re: gab

      You are right about who he targets but we have had great meals there when someone who is a regular there does the ordering. It is a shame that Chef Chu has this image. Because they can produce a excellent Chinese meal. I think it depends on who they are serving.

      1. re: yimster

        Any specific recommendations on what to order to get the best from the kitchen?

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I've only had a couple of the lunch specials so I can't speak fully to the menu...that said, I did like the "Mongolian" Lamb. Little heavy on the oil..but great lamb flavor (yummmm, lamb) and spicy...
          I've also heard his noodle dishes are really good.

          1. re: Erin
            Bob Huenemann

            I keep going back to the dry braised prawns, although the mongolian lamb is excellent.

            I have been a customer since a few days after Larry opened the place (1970?). It was my introduction to northern Chinese cuisine. And even if I don't get in for months, he always remembers me and says hello.


            1. re: Bob Huenemann

              It was interesting to read some of the earlier posts in this thread because I know Chef Chu and his family, through my son, who went to college with one of the Chef's sons. We've eaten at the restaurant a couple of times, and been to their home, on visits to the Bay Area. We found the restaurant to be extremely good, if rather Americanized, compared to many other places we've experienced. I have no doubt they would prepare anything requested, if the ingredients were on hand, and would likely go well beyond that with some advance planning.

              Chef'Chu's son was a film student, with my son, and Larry and his wife actually bought a van, drove all the way to LA, and provided food for actors and crew, for several days at a time during a number of location shoots during those years. Mostly chili, tacos, and non-asian dishes (go figure), but they also provided a wonderful Asian appetizer menu at a screening of one of their son's films.

              These are very fine people, and I saw no ego at all.

          2. re: Melanie Wong

            Ask the waiters if there are any specials just in case they are not on the menu. I'm not sure if you will get a different response if you ask in Cantonese or Mandarin.

            The waiter recommended the 3 cup chicken last time my wife and I went and we decided to try it. It was really good and my wife (who is from Taipei) said it was close to what she had back there, although our dish was a bit on the sweet side.

            I also went there for a team lunch via work last year. One really nice dish I sampled of a co-worker's was the salmon in black bean sauce. That day I had the Taiwanese style stir fried rice noodle which was fantastic.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I was invole with two set dinner at Chef Chu. Both time we met with Larry and discuss the amount of money we wanted to spend and if was a theme we wanted.
              He then persented us a menu.

              So of the dishes we had there are the following.

              Tea Smoked Sea Bass. This was the place where I first had thid dish. Just as good as Louie's verison.

              Lemon Grass Rack of Lamb.

              Baked spareribs in a whole squash.

              A warm baby shrimp salad with a small piece of fried bread in a lettuce cup. Simple ingredients but a wonderful taste and texture dish.

              Also he serves wonderful desserts which is a fusion of East and West.

              Even if most of the customer are non Aisans I think Chef Chu serves great food. Larry has a mind for coming up with new dishes not that are not the standard Chinese fare.

        2. I use to work for a direct mail company that did business with Chef Chu. He is a real character. He is super hyper and had the hugest ego. I always wonder how he got all those famouse people to visit his place and take a picture with him...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Wendy Lai

            I believe he was on Martin Yan's show and they were both like, "mine is bigger than yours..."

          2. while the style of the restaurant may be said to cater to wealthier gringos, the quality has never been wanting. the other poster is correct in saying that lawrence satisfies both western and chinese palates with a committment to quality that probably stems directly from his large persona.
            he is often there, and has been for what, 3 decades? i don't know about his ego, but he often greets his patrons warmly and personally (including my grandparents over a couple decades). a friend of mine worked her way through school as a server there, and while the work was hard, she always felt that he took care of his staff (allegedly helping them find housing, etc.).
            so as unchowish a place as it may seem, i respect it as an american success story. i have never had a bad meal (or even a bad dish) there, and with that long a record, i would never expect to.

            ps, i think it's in los altos.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ed

              Hey man, I was one of them gringos eating at Chef Chu's! For what it's worth, it's some of the best Americanized Chinese food you can find. Never got around to trying the more authentic dishes. Chef Chu himself would often be sitting at the bar when I came in, very nice fellow. The thing about that restaurant that always tripped me out was the several decades long vertical collection of Beaulieu Vineyards George de Latour Private Reserve.

              And it is technically in Los Altos. I believe that if you cross El Camino you are in Mountain View.