In 1849, before California was even a state, the first Chinese restaurant in North America opened its doors in San Francisco. Macao and Woosung, which seated 300 at its Kearny and Commercial Street location, was popular with everyone from politicians to gold miners, and is said to be the birthplace for chop suey.
Now, 165 years later, and only five blocks away, San Francisco marks another first in Chinese-American cuisine.
Crystal Jade's Spectacular Opening Festivities
For its first location in the United States, Singapore-based Crystal Jade Jiang Nan spent $14 million to create a 20,000 square foot space at Four Embarcadero Center, which opens to the public on November 18.
It's the perfect setting for our current generation of gold-miners, the tech entrepreneurs, VC investors, and international business people who are keeping San Francisco's economy pumping!
A New Hotspot For Modern Day Gold-Miners
A household name for Chinese cuisine across Asia, Crystal Jade has restaurants in 21 cities. In partnership with Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessey, the company has worked closely with renowned restaurateur Gus Murad in tailoring the experience for a San Francisco audience, with regional dishes from south of the Yangtze River, created by a team of 35 culinary professionals.
Inside Crystal Jade; Photo: Ken Fulk
Pulling it all together, Ken Fulk designed a word-class space inspired by China's Jiang Nan region, accented with British-Chinese exports, Chinoisserie wallpaper, and English Regency furniture.
"We have known Ken and his incredible work for a while," said Bahya Murad, who suggested him for the project. "When Ip Yiu Tung, the founder and CEO of Crystal Jade, saw his genius he didn't want anyone else to bring to life his vision of a warm, sexy, and welcoming space. Ken created that and much more."
The Liu Ling Bar at Crystal Jade
Certainly the Liu Ling bar and lounge, with its deep mahogany walls, rich marble and brass detailing, topped with a canopy of royal silk mimicking a great Chinese sailing vessel, will quickly become one of the City's top hot spots!
Chris Cheang, Gus Murad, Ed Lee, Ip Yiu Tung, James Quek, and Michelle Chow
Following a special preview dinner a few nights earlier, Mayor Ed Lee presided over an official ribbon cutting ceremony and party, attended by Willie Brown and Sonya Molodetskaya, Supervisor Scott Wiener, legendary Chinese-American restaurateur Cecilia Chang, famed photographer Douglas Friedman, and hundreds of guests eager to see Ken's work and taste the amazing food.
"The City has been extremely welcoming and we are dedicated to bringing authentic, quality Chinese food to contemporary audiences," said Ip Yiu Tung.
No surprise there! As a gold miner commented in the 1850s, "the best eating houses in San Francisco are those... conducted in Chinese fashion."
For more information or to make a reservation visit www.crystaljade.com.
Stunning Views from Crystal Jade
Photos: Drew Altizer unless otherwise noted