The Lunar New Year is Friday January 31, and many places all over the city are hosting dinners to celebrate the occasion, making symbolic dishes (and treats!) into February. Giddy up, it’s time to celebrate the Year of the Horse!
While you can get a New Year prix fixe menu for two here, you really want to get a group together and try the Chinese New Year banquet menus: the Fisherman’s Wharf ($388 for 5 people/ $688 for 10) or the Treasure Island ($488 for 5/ $888 for 10). The menus include delicious dishes like wok-tossed Kobe beef, jasmine tea–smoked sea bass, and the stunning abalone in oyster essence (it's so good). Check out all the menus here; they’re available Saturday, January 25 – Friday, February 21, and many dishes are also available à la carte (hello forbidden rice!). Westfield Centre, 845 Market St., 4th floor.
Butterfly’s Rob Lam always puts together a tasting menu that is packed with Dungeness crab, like crab and fried uni hand rolls, crab jook with a sous vide egg, orange chile crab, and more. (It’s like it’s year of the crab or something over there.) The menu runs from January 28 through the month of February. $75 (tax and tip not included). Pier 33.
If you find yourself at Hakkasan, you can order some special à la carte dishes from Wednesday, January 29 through Saturday, February 8—here’s the menu. Standout dishes include the stewed pork trotters with black moss, the braised Chinese cabbage, and the Teochew-style sea snapper with salted plum (the flavors are fascinating in this dish, and the seafood is impeccable). 1 Kearny St.
On Thursday, January 30, you can kick things off on the eve of the lunar New Year with a special menu that will be available from 11am–10pm, including dishes like radish cakes with plum sauce and sesame dressing (which represents growth) or sesame noodles (for long life). Maybe get your lunch crew together? 660 Howard St.
You can celebrate the Vietnamese lunar New Year over brunch on Saturday February 1 with the Rice Paper Scissors ladies, who have a new home at Brick and Mortar. Look for mooncakes, steamed buns, pho, claypots, and more. 11am–3pm, cash only. 1710 Mission St.
If you find yourself downtown, chef Sharon Nahm will have a special à la carte menu running from January 31–February 16, with dishes like a whole crispy fish and steamed buns with roast duck and pickled mango. There are also special cocktails for the occasion. 314 Sutter St.
And just in case you don’t want to do a whole meal, you should at least pick up some of the Peking duck scones this cute little café and dessert place makes every year, plus some other lunar New Year–inspired treats, like sesame ball macarons and special sorbets and ice creams. 327 Bay St.
Marcia Gagliardi is the founder of the weekly tablehopper e-column; subscribe and get more food news and gossip at tablehopper.com. Follow her on Twitter: @tablehopper.