We had dinner here for 2 hours and were literally the only knew in the restaurant. Food was ok but very expensive at $90/person. Cannot recommend.
It's a one-man-show at Jai Yun. The chef is also the front of the house person. There are 4 tiers of prix fixe you can order ... for groups of 5 or more, it's 65, 80 98 and 168 I think... we got the $80 range. The food is AMAZING. We probably got 25-30 dishes, starting with a round of cold salad-type small plates, moving on to heavier, hot items including fish and meat. One mushroom dish really stood out, unlike any mushrooms I have ever eaten.
Note: I read a review somewhere that they don't charge for corkage but they charged us $15 a bottle.
Ambiance has nothing going for it and the chef doesn't speak any English but none of it matters. It's an amazing experience and great for a special occasion.
San Francisco has many good restaurants but none compare to the personalized service and attention given at Jai Yun. This evening became a special occasion because of the great food and ambiance created by the chef.
I've read a lot of varied reviews of Jai Yun and believe that those with an open mind will benefit most from this unique dining experience. Leave at the door all expectations of what you think dining out "should" be and be prepared to welcome dish after dish of authentic, carefully prepared, fresh Chinese cuisine. My husband and I have dined here a few times and have been truly delighted and amazed with each experience.
If you're looking for an amazing Chinese meal, this is your place. An endless stream of small plates flows out of the kitchen until you feel that you can't eat even one more bite. A fantastic Chinese banquet, similar in style to Japanese kaiseki. The downside is the decor, which doesn't come close to matching the quality of the food. You must reserve ahead of time so that the chef can buy enough fresh ingredients for your meal.
Waiter speaks almost no English, and the food needed explanation. Lots of dishes; pricing was indecipherable. Ambiance was early Chinese diner (2-story venue, we were the only patrons and the upstairs was being used for storage). A lot of money for a lot of very similar, but tasty, dishes (25 separate plates @ our price level).
This is my 3rd trip to Jai Yun, each time with guests. Each time the meal has been extraordinary - truly a revelation as to what Chinese food is and can be. More surprisingly, Jai Yun has astonished and impressed me each time - nearly as much as my newbie guests.
The place looks so unassuming, both inside and out. I'm sure most people walk past it year after year without giving it a glance. But the food... there are no words. Dozens of courses, some courses consist of dozens of dishes. The meal takes hours. Yet the last dish is as impressive as the first.
On a Monday night we were the ONLY table. The place was completely silent.
Only negative: our waiter spoke almost no English, so we had to guess at what we were eating.
This was our third visit to this restaurant with no menu with the servings left to the whim of the chef. The food is excellent, and though each portion is small, the total adds up to a lot of food. We ordered the $128 per person order. In addition to the appetizers, there were 15 other dishes. The crispy beef is one of our favorites. But the abalone, fish and other dishes are just as good. I would not recommend it to children as some of the dishes can be a bit spicy, and the kids would probably prefer won ton and fried rice which you will not get here. You won't get to dip things in soy sauce and hot sauce as they don't have them on the table. You eat what the chef presents - which is perfectly fine with us.
No walk in, reservation only, no menu, prix fix only, dishes do not rotate (ie menu choices 365 days a year)
Moderately good 10 course meal of small plate Chinese food from varying regions. Some dishes had a bit too much corn starch giving the food that cheap Chinese American food taste. Other dishes were quite good. Unfortunately nothing outstanding to justify the price. Service was excellent.
We went as a group of 6 people, three of whom had lived in Asia for many years so we had an idea what to expect in a Chinese banquet. We were there on a Monday night and the only table i The food was excellent and nicely presented. There was no soup course nor a rice or noodle dish - this seemed strange for a Chinese "banquet". We didn't need more food, but as this place is supposed to follow traditional Chinese "rules" it was surprising. What was most surprising and also perhaps insulting was that the "dessert" for our $80 per person dinner was a plastic tray with one Halloween candy for each of us. Three Musketeers, Kit Kat, etc. After over 20+ courses of carefully prepared food carefully?
Other than that the food was excellent.
My wife and I were visiting Wine Country and our son while his new bride were in the city. We wanted to take them to dinner and he requested Chinese. We've enjoyed some VERY nice Chinese restaurants over the years, so the $$ didn't worry me. But the details of Jai Yun's 'authentic Chinese' was a bit subtle. The food was fresh & authentic, but the quantity was meager for four and the fix prixe was high. None of the reviews mentioned that the minimum was $80. Not know what exactly was entailed (the young server could not adequately explain the process) we selected the $98 per person level (2 of 4 levels). Perhaps all the 'cool' people in the Bay area understood this dining experience, but it damaged my confidence in Open Table.
As New York City food tourists, we knew what we were coming for and we were not disappointed. This is NOT your typical Chinese restaurant. The meal is a 15+ course prix fixe feast, with a choice of three different price points. The dishes are both inventive and authentic, and are inspired by a range a regional asian cuisines. Everything was impeccably prepared and wowed us in one way or another. If you like to experience new foods, you will love dining here. And the focus is certainly on the food - the decor is extremely unassuming, yet the price is considerable. Still, it highly recommended, and when we're back in the Bay Area, we will return.
I lived in China for three years and this was as close as I have come in the U.S. to high quality Chinese food the way it would be presented in central or east central China. The ingredients are fresh. No piles of rice or other fillers. It is not for the faint of pocketbook, however.
he food was beautifully prepared and presented and the ingredients were very fresh and delicious. I think my only complaint is a matter of personal taste. There is a style of Chinese cuisine that is very simple and plain without a lot of seasoning and although it was done perfectly it is not a style that I prefer, maybe a little too delicate and refined for my appreciation. Many of the dishes were in this style, but I preferred those that were more seasoned and spicier. I also felt that the price was a little prohibitive for a couple...it was more reasonable for a large party.
My husband and I love Jai Yun. The food is healthy, fresh, and exceedingly well prepared. If the lighting weren't so bright, this would be the perfect romantic meal.