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Crystal Jade [San Francisco]

I just heard that Crystal Jade, that restaurant chain in Asia, is opening in San Francisco at end of the year.

Anyone know the location?

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  1. Whoa, where did you hear about this?

    I'd love for this to be true, but the menu's going to be pretty hard to replicate in full unless they cut some things off or "adapt" to US tastes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jon914

      Heard on CNBC Asia when they interviewed the CEO of Crystal Jade. He confirmed it.

    2. Its location is Embarcadero Center. I believe its number 4 where the old Harbor Village used to be.

      5 Replies
      1. re: superbigeater

        We really miss Harbor Village. Very happy that Crystal Jade will take over that spot.

        1. re: PeterL

          That's welcome and exciting news, but I'd be more thrilled to see a Crystal Jade La Mian outlet in SF.

          1. re: soupçon

            Why is that? I think all their concepts are pretty good.

            1. re: superbigeater

              Because we need more decent la mian and xiao long bao options than more high-end Cantonese food.

        2. re: superbigeater

          I walked by the store yesterday. It is not in the old Harbor Village site. That site was sliced in two and the Osha bar is located in the downstairs portion of Harbor Village. They took over the old Liz Claiborne store.

        3. Talk to me about this please. I'm not familiar about this place.

          16 Replies
          1. re: c oliver

            It's a popular restaurant group in Asia that runs a number of concepts. Unlike what we think of as chain restaurants state-side, the quality of such chains can actually be rather good.

            In rough terms, they have restaurants covering the main regional cuisines (Cantonese, Shanghainese, Chiu Chow) at various price points (Express/Takeout, Casual, Sit Down, Fine Dining).

            I'm most familiar with their casual Shanghainese concept (Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao), which does really good XLB and pulled noodles of various kinds in a chic but casual atmosphere at relative bargain prices. In Hong Kong, they have these outlets pretty much in every mall and even the airport.


            Although I'd love to see that concept taken here, its more likely that they'll bring over their sit-down Cantonese restaurant concept because it's a lot safer and fits the former Harbor Village spot well.


              1. re: Jon914

                I've been to CJ-LM-XLB in HK and the CJ Kitchen at Taks in Singapore many, many times. They really are top-notch for a chain.

                I guess the city makes sense for them, but I can't help but wish that they'd open in 'Tino or Milpitas. We can only hope for an expansion -- albeit a quality one, unlike a certain other chain *coughcough*.

                1. re: stravaigint

                  One blocking factor is that Cupertino (I live here) and Milpitas have a dominant Taiwanese and recent mainland immigrant community. The tastes and preferences of this audience differ quite a bit, and it may not be a fit for them.

                  That's why you tend to find more (and better) Cantonese restaurants up north, because that's where the bulk of the Cantonese speaking population lies in this area (particularly San Mateo, Daly City, western SF, etc.).

                  That "other chain" is DTF, eh? I'm surprised that they pulled out because it would have been a fit for Cupertino.

                  1. re: Jon914

                    I'm an ex-Cupertino resident (and yet had never been to Chef Ma, WTF?), so I'm well aware of how fiercely Taiwanese it is. Jade's Canto might not work (although Cooking Papa a few zips over is constantly mobbed), but I reckon Jade LM-XLB would be a hit.

                    Yes, DTF...sigh...

                      1. re: superbigeater

                        They are very feng shui oriented. Their next two locations are Costa Mesa and Glendale.

                        1. re: Chandavkl

                          I don't know feng shui. How does that rule out the Bay Area?

                          1. re: drewskiSF

                            Apparently their feng shui consultant doesn't like the Bay Area. Or New York, which is also dying for a branch.

                            1. re: Chandavkl

                              They're obviously not using the right feng shui expert then! Feng shui is less about ruling out entire swaths of geography but in finding the right and proper placement of buildings and objects.

                              1. re: scoopG

                                Its probably more than just feng shui if they also have an in house astrologer.

                                1. re: Chandavkl

                                  Where is it written or established that they employ either an astrologer and a feng shui master? DTF is already in ten countries.

                                  What astrology/feng shui practices do they insist on their franchisees in Thailand, Singapore etc. utilize?

                                  1. re: scoopG

                                    I only know what I read on Chowhound. (Actually there have been other hints.)


                                    1. re: Chandavkl

                                      There is nothing definitive in that thread that warrants saying DTF employs/engages a feng shui master and/or astrologer.

                            2. re: drewskiSF

                              the words simply mean 'wind'(feng, as in tai feng great wind, anglicized 'typhoon'), 'water' (shui). also called geomancy. determining the patterns of how those elements fit and flow over the landscape.

                              1. re: moto

                                No, fengshui means "geomancy" and nothing more.

              2. This restaurant is usually across Asia and is very good (at least I think so). CJ and Din Tai Fung are two restaurants in Asia that usually have a strong following. The menu is varied but usually has bbq meats, Xiao long biao and local specialties where the restaurant is located.

                I have no idea how it would fare here given local tastes. My friend ids helping with the recruiting so I will ask if he can get a peek at the menu.

                1. For the curious reader, this is a sampling of their food that I had last time I went just to give an idea of what they serve overseas.

                  1 - Salted Duck Slices
                  2 - Smoked Ham
                  3 - Candied Deep Fried Eels (delish!)
                  4 - Vegetarian Goose (most places here do it cold, but it's so much better straight out of the fryer)
                  5 - Eel Noodles
                  6 - XLB

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Jon914

                    Speaking of candied deep fried eel, has anyone been to Shanghai Gourmet in Walnut Creek recently? That was the first (and only) place I've had that dish. I kind of miss the obsessively searching for Shanghainese food phase on this board (which seems to have been replaced by obsessively searching for Sichuan ;-) )-- I haven't had a good red-cooked pork knuckle in years!

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      have you tried the version of the pork knuckle at Bund Shanghai in SF chinatown ? of those we've sampled, the they're tied with China Village for the best.

                      1. re: moto

                        I haven't. And I've never had a pork knuckle at CV that was as good as at a real Shanghai restaurant.

                    1. re: superbigeater

                      Wow. The comments on that piece range from stupid to offensive.

                      1. Can't wait!

                        They have a casual Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao location right by arrivals in the Hong Kong airport. After a long flight and terrible plane food, its always a sight to behold.

                        Great noodles, I made a video of em..

                        1. That's great news! I've been a Crystal Jade fan ever since it was started by the Leung brothers (Alfred, Vincent & Jimmy) from HK in 1992 at the old Cairnhill Hotel here in Singapore. It grew into the large chain that it is today by ensuring consistent, high quality products.

                          I made it a point to visit Crystal Jade's outlets when I'm on business trips to the cities where they have a branch, and have had excellent dinners in Bangkok, Seoul, Saigon, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Kuala Lumpur & Hong Kong. What's interesting is that they'll tweak their dishes to suit local tastes, so its Saigon outlet has sweeter preparations, e.g. caramelised pork stew, its Shanghainese and Hangzhou outlets used more oil and salt to please local diners' palates, whilst the Seoul outlet substitute local ingredients like pumpkin for Chinese wintermelon for its seafood soup. But in all cases, the cooking were top-notch.

                          1. So, with 120 locations, I guess this will wind up on the Chains board.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: c oliver

                              Are you talking about the city ordinance on chain stores? If so, I believe that part of town in exempt.

                              1. re: superbigeater

                                No, she's talking about the discussion of this restaurant, which I guess, technically, should go on chowhound's "chains" discussion board.

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  Thanks, Ruth. I actually have an issue with the way that rule is enforced. If I'm trying to tell a particular audience about a place, the fact that it's a chain doesn't matter terribly to me. But, hey, that's why I'm not in charge :)

                            2. Passed by today to see the "coming soon" signage. It's going to be a "Crystal Jade Jiang Nan" location, so it's a bit of everything, including the XLB and la mian.

                              These blog posts give a pretty good impression of what to expect.


                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Jon914

                                Oh cool so we'll get the rainbow / psychedelic or "anti Prop 8" XLB!

                                1. re: K K

                                  The Crystal Jade Group used to be the trend-setters in Singapore's dining scene back in the mid- to late-90s, but the up-and-coming Paradise Group of Restaurants seemed to have taken over this role these days when it comes to innovative new ideas, such as the multi-coloured XLB:

                                  I find it amazing that Crystal Jade unabashedly copied the whole concept from the Paradise folks for this!

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                    The Embarcadero Center website says "Spring 2014" so it may be a while before they open.

                                2. Still no sign of life!!! Any scoop?

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: sfwtchris

                                    I did see a Crystal Jade banner hanging on a wall at the Embarcadero Center. News item claims the opening will be in August.


                                    1. re: sfwtchris

                                      Just there on Saturday. Seems work is being done inside. Does not look like they'll be open soon though (certainly not Spring of 2014). There is a strange notice tacked to the outside saying something about someone not responsible for whatever is being done inside. But yes there are workers inside doing work.

                                      1. re: sfwtchris

                                        For what it's worth, I peeked through the cracks of the temporary wall they put up, a few nights ago. It was dark outside but there were lights on inside, so it was easy to see inside. Things look very far from being ready - I would very surprised if they hit their supposed Fall 2014 opening date. Everything was very much still under construction - some drywall had been put up, but not much else.

                                        1. re: sfwtchris

                                          Just saw this posting for a GM on craigslist:


                                          Hopefully a good sign of some activity :)

                                          1. re: mr_darcy

                                            They are on track to open in November of this year. They had numerous issues with permits but now it appears things will go smooth.

                                            Staff is being hired now.

                                        2. Signs are up: opening 11 am, Tuesday, November 18.

                                          2 Replies