One of San Francisco’s Finest Chinese Restaurants Has Finally Reopened
Say hello to Hong Kong Lounge Bistro, a.k.a. HK Lounge Bistro, your new favorite dim sum spot now open in SoMa. From juicy xiao long bao to plump pork- and shrimp-stuffed siu mai, as well as a plethora of classic Hong Kong and Cantonese classics in between, come hungry and come with many, because here, sharing is caring. Here’s your rundown:
1. It’s a triumphant return.
The restaurant comes from the legendary Annie Ho, who helped open Hong Kong Lounge and later the beloved Hong Kong Lounge II on Geary in the Outer Richmond (which was destroyed in a fire in 2019). Ho has brought back many of the chefs, and is excited to be serving up customers again, “I’m glad we’re open, and everybody is so happy,” she says. “It gives me a big, warm feeling — all my customers treat me like family. It’s very touching.”
It gives me a big, warm feeling — all my customers treat me like family. It’s very touching.— Annie Ho on the reopening
2. During the day, it’s dim sum and then some.
If dim sum is what you’re after, come during lunch, where the menu is large and expansive, with more than 40 different items.
“It’s a more variety,” says Ho of the lunch menu. Crispy scallion pancakes, pan-fried noodles covered with an umami blast of house made xo sauce, and baked pork buns stuffed with a generous amount of char siu are just some of the deliciousness you’ll find. “Most people remember the old taste — it’s even better now than my memory,” says Ho, who tastes the food every day before opening.
3. Dinner revolves around family-style Hong Kong dishes.
Though you will find a smaller selection of the more popular dim sum items on the dinner menu, the night time is for more family-style Hong Kong dishes. There are large plates meant to be shared, things like honey-glazed walnut prawns, Mongolian beef, kung pao chicken, and more.
“For dinner I suggest Peking duck,” says Ho, who utilizes a dry-ager to dry out the bird and achieve extra crispy skin; this dish comes with steamed buns, hoisin sauce, and thinly sliced cucumbers and scallions. The beef chow fun is also not to be missed: “I’ve never had such good beef chow fun,” says Ho, who uses high quality cut fatty ribeye cap as the protein of choice for the dish.
4. The Chef’s Special Menu is special.
During dinner, there’s an option for a family-style multi-course Chef’s Special Menu. It’s a great move.
“We wanted to create a menu that features popular items and some stuff not on the menu,” says Ho. There are two options to choose from: a $288 version is meant for three to four people, and is a good introduction to the menu for first-timers. It comes with a deluxe dim sum (which includes a truffle vegetarian roll), Westlake soup, diced Wagyu ribeye cap with tender greens, smoked Chilean sea bass, wok-tossed jumbo prawns, and dessert. There’s also an extra special menu that serves 10 people and must be reserved 24 hours in advance; it comes with off-menu dishes like double-steamed conch; chicken soup with cordyceps; and crispy stuffed chicken with sticky rice.
5. NB: Beer and wine are coming.
Currently HK Lounge Bistro is only serving tea and classic soft drinks, but they’re in the process of obtaining a beer and wine license.
Omar Mamoon is a San Francisco-based writer & cookie dough professional. Find him at @ommmar.