Love Chu for lunch: regular menu is still available and they are happy to modify dishes (we usually request lower salt). Chu offers better quality ingredients in smaller portions, far preferable to the greasy cheap slop most EBay Chinese places offer. Excellent dumplings - don't miss the oxtail dumplings if you love this hard-to-find meat. Gan Shao lamb, Beef with Silken Tofu, and Buddha vegetables are excellent. Dan Dan Mein, Crab Sauce Prawns, and Hot/Sour soup are very good altho Chu likes to add edamame soybeans to these dishes, sometimes too many. But the dishes are still tasty, especially the Hot/Sour which is a superb version. Teas are very high quality and excellent; service is top-notch and restaurant is blessedly quiet.
We were very dissapinted in our experience which is too bad because we have had very good experiences in the past. Getting food was very slow, the duck with buns took forever to get and when it came, the duck was cut into large boney pieces and since the buns are so small, there is no way this would work. Why don't they take the meat off the bones? We ordered the steamed fish and could not eat it. The smell was very fishy. It was definitely not fresh and should never have been served. By the time we ordered our food, the restaurant was not very full and we waited and waited. I walked back to the kitchen and saw that nothing was being cooked. We called our server over and asked what was going on. He told us they were waiting for the fish before starting the rest of the meal. Who ever heard of such a think the a Chinese restaurant. The food comes when it comes. Made no sense. What a shame. Used to be very good. Fortunaly we live in Oakland and there are many good restaurants to choose from.
It was empty for a Saturday night and it just seemed like the restaurant had lost it's luster along the way. No enthusiasm whatsoever, were seated in the back even though the place was empty. Perhaps the sun was blaring in the front? I noticed that people were looking in but there was no a host to greet anyone. The waiter was nice and the food was good but it was not exciting and I was really looking forward to amazing Chinese food.
Mixed feelings about the food. Some was good-fried calamari and the short ribs were both excellent. The garlic noodles and garlic spinach could have used some punch up but we're okay. The lamb cubes were as tough as shoe leather and the tuna tartare mushy and flavorless. The drab cracker served with it didn't add anything except more blah. Service was a plus
I am never disappointed when I come here. Everyone is so awesome here. The Dan Dan noodles are the best!!
Had their lunch menu. It was a tad pricier than your standard Chinese lunch menu. The mu shu pork was good and plentiful. The black bean garlic sauce chicken was a little bland and lacked more of the sauce. The kirin boneless short ribs were tasty--a fusion-like take on Korean Gal Bi. The triple chocolate mousse was very good and we had coconut ice cream with it. The ice cream had a lot of coconut flakes which was delicious. Service was quick, attentive, he aimed to please and he did! We checked out the upstairs "banquet" area for a friend looking for a wedding reception venue. Room for 50, tight fit though. Our friend couldn't get anyone to answer the phone and asked us to check it out. The banquet manager wasn't there and we left our number. But never got a call back. This is a small place, if you don't like crowds.
We came for lunch; this time it was a new chef who did a good job, although not as skilled as the regular lunch chef. Mu shu shrimp had too much cabbage as filler altho tasty. Dan Dan mein's sauce was tasty but not quite right; too light on the soya to balance the bean sauce, and pls drop the edamame and water chestnuts, ugh. Beef HK-style chow mein was an okay version: noodles deep-fried instead of a true griddled 'noodle pillow', but gravy was good altho a little too intense (Cantonese requires a light touch compared to Northern-style cooking). The dumplings are very good here; the XLB are a half order, not cheap but they are the best in the EBay--the pork is rich, firm and sweet. Shrimp-chive boiled dumplings also excellent. There are many dishes Chu does extremely well, such as the Gan Shao Lamb, bitter melon, and custard tofu beef sauce, which are from the regular menu or available as specials. We do miss those oxtail dumplings, too (hint, hint, chef!).
We enjoyed the restaurant and I hesitate to give the service a bad review because it was Christmas Eve and I think they were using a skeleton staff. Everyone was friendly, food was very good, nice portions, drinks excellent but it was a bit slow and chaotic. Again, I think it was because of the holiday and will definitely go back.
It was just ok. The service was a little slow but nice. The food was a little expensive.
The food is very good, but they must use MSG because water retention was a problem the next day.
The food was very disappointing. The "hot" sauces with the items marked spicy with a chili pepper were mild and all other sauces with other dishes were very bland. The spinach dumplings had no mushrooms as stated in the menu and tasted like alfalfa smells! We ordered several dishes as we're a group of 4 who are big sharers, but the only items we could classify as "good", not awesome, were the lettuce cups and some pork filled wontons. This wasn't cutting edge Asian fare, not sure of what it was, but it wasn't very good. Not even hot tea offered. Won't go back.
Family visiting from out-of-town requested an Asian dining experience. Restaurant Chu was recommended to us by friends and we were not disappointed. The ambiance is much more "urban chic" than many Chinese Restaurants, but the food is definitely on target. We all ordered something different so that we could share and everything was wonderfully tasty and spicy. We would go back in a minute. The only thing that was at all slow was the service. The restaurant was not busy when we were there but there appeared to only be two people handling all the tables (and one of them was "new"). So the wait time for drinks and for food was a little longer than I would like. If I all of a sudden think, "Hmmm. I wonder where the drinks are?" then it's been a little too long. But they came, and the food came and it was delicious.
The state of Chinese food is pathetic these days in the Bay Area, but Chu is one of the few EBay places which still offers better quality dishes instead of the usual greasy slop. Their dumplings are excellent, including the XLB. Although they put too much sauce in the noodles bowls, the dan dan mein is closest to the dry Shanghainese style we prefer but have a hard time finding. Red Curry Shrimp noodles were also very good altho again, too much gravy. Tea is high quality and excellent; service is always very good. Most people come for their very good Happy Hour, but frankly, they're missing some of the best items of all - Chu's pork-stuffed eggplant and Gan Shao lamb are outstanding as well.
Service was fine. Food was bland - tasted kind of like the American chinese food I ate as a kid
Overlooked food. Soggy veggies. Slow service. Won't go back
The upstairs dining area is great for big groups, but if you're in a regular sized party, it's unlikely that you'll ever get up there. It's the only quiet area. The food is inventive and tasty, but given the consistently poor service and noise, it's probably best to order take out. But then you won't get your opentable points. If you go in knowing that the service is likely to be lacking and can find a somewhat quiet table, then eating there can be fun.
Restaurant was understaffed. Food was served in the wrong order - drinks and lst courses at the end, no tea at all (though it was ordered at the beginning). Drinks were weak and insipid. We have had much better experiences at Chu. This was something of a disaster and definitely a great disappointment.
The hostess was as sweet as could be, she knew that I called ahead to say it was my Father in-laws 93rd birthday!!
We got seated right away.
The food was great, a little slow in coming, but that's what made to order is all about!
They brought a special desert after dinner and sang happy birthday , what more can you ask for?
Their food was really good and so were their cocktails. They have an extensive list of martinis and they know how to make them, which is always a plus :)
We had their tuna tartare, stuffed eggplant with minced pork, and oxtail. All were great tasting, presented beautifully and good portions. Definitely would return. Rockridge is a great little town in general!
Chu offers well seasoned Chinese food with high quality ingredients and lots of flavor. Service (on Chinese New Year, with a full restaurant, was good in spite of the fact that the restaurant appears a bit understaffed. Pan Pacific wontons were delicious, crispy and full of tasty filling. Kirin Beef shortribs were wonderful. Tender, garlicky and very generous portions. We did not care for the Sichuan Prawns on this visit, they were overcooked, which was too bad as the sauce is spicy, hot and delicious on previous visits.
We had the pleasure of dining at Chu on Christmas night. They were still busy when we arrived for our 8 o' clock reservation, but we were greeted and seated promptly. We started with cocktails and the special oxtail dumplings, which were deliciously tender and beefy. Next we tried two very different but equally tasty soups: mushroom and chicken with spinach and Hot & Sour. While the mushroom chicken was light and clean tasting without being bland (the slight hint of ginger was wonderful), the Hot & Sour was a well-played symphony of flavors. For our dinner we ordered the Mongolian beef and the special Ants Climb Tree noodles. Both dishes were fantastic. I especially liked balance of the lightly charred chiles with the beef. Overall, everything about this meal, service and the ambiance of Chu was exactly what I would expect from a highly regarded Michelin reviewed restaurant. Chu exceeded my expectations and I will absolutely return.
We've eaten here before and it was better. Service was slow. Brought brown rice although white ordered. Took forever for drinks to arrive. Wait person slammed plates on the table and disengaged. Service ops abound!
We've been to the bar several times and had snacks there - hit and miss, but not bad. This time we went for dinner with a larger group. A couple of dishes were nice but most were too salty, heavily breaded, overly sauced - not appealing at all. The ambiance and the menu give you the impression that you are going to have some finely prepared Chinese food when in fact you are getting maybe 1 dish that is nice and the rest are steam-tray quality. The hostess was clueless - could not find our reservation and tried to turn our group away. A waiter had to take things into his own hands and seat us (after she said there was no seating available - the place was and remained less than half full). Bar OK - no more restaurant for me.
Our dinner appeared yummy as they took great care with the presentation... and the food was DELISH! We especially enjoyed the eggplant & dumplings!
We like Chu for lunch; quiet and a few dishes we really like. But this time the balance was off: oxtail dumplings had too much 5-spice and salt; pork & shrimp dumplings too much salt. Dan Dan Mein was tasty but the flavor was off (too much bean sauce, too little soya?); oddly much better the next day as flavors blended, but still didn't taste like dan dan mein. Bitter melon was good, custard tofu w/beef a little flat-tasting but OK. Vegetable was excellent, altho it was stir-fried spinach, not pea sprouts as waitress said. The kitchen needs to be more careful; Chu is not cheap and when flavor balance is off, they're not worth the extra $.
Good food, good drinks. Good variety on menu. Service was very good. Not loud and noisy like many other College Avenue restaurants.
Not bad but not great either. Clean flavors but not exciting. Better options in the area.
We wish the Chus had kept the cook from Ching Hua/Alameda, who had a lighter, more skillful touch with both sauces and deep-frying than the Oakland Chu kitchen. Still, the dumplings are good, as is the custard tofu (a special). Hot & Sour soup pleases me and spouse, one of the few versions that do. But the Sweet/Sour Pork isn't as good here as Ching Hua's Cherry Pork version, and the Spicy Chicken Wings aren't really spicy but are overfried. Tried the Zha Jiang noodles but prefer the Dan Dan noodles instead; not Chu's fault on this one, we've tried this at two other places and just don't see what all the fuss is about this and Jajangmyeon, its Korean twin. Noodle bowls are very large. Service is excellent, a real positive here.
After experiencing this restaurant with my husband twice, and really enjoying it, we had a wonderful time taking friends to dinner there. It was even more pleasurable, because we could get more dishes to experience by sharing them. I love their vegetarian dishes, especially the steamed spinach dumplings. And although it was crowded, because we had a reservation, we got a table within 5 minutes. Some nights you can walk in, but weekends are getting busier, so make a reservation first! Enjoy!
Familiar and new dishes, all well prepared. We love the duck bao & the lamb curry. We keep going back, & enjoy sharing with friends.
We're sure that on any normal day we wouldn't have had too wait at the table over an hour to be served. Our party had varying views of the food. My dad liked the bland steamed snapper and Buddha vegetables; my husband and I thought the mushroom-broccoli dish was unusual and outstanding. Sister opted out of the vegetarian sharing pool to have hoisin pork, which she said was wonderful but she wished it included vegetables.
We've been searching for a great Chinese restaurant to replace Hsiangs in Orinda (Hsiang's owner/chef retired about a year ago), and I think Restaurant Chu might be it. Everything we had was excellent, and the menu was incredibly creative.
Only drawbacks were parking - but I think we were there at peak hour on Saturday. Also bar service was slow - but I believe they were short a bartender.
We will definitely go back again
We had a great meal at Chu this week.
BIG FYI: If you book on opentable, you can NOT take advantage of the happy hour!!
Food is tasty, albeit somewhat high priced for Chinese. That said, there are many interesting dishes, served in somewhat unusual ways, such as the Garlic scallops with noodles. Some confusion ensued as the hostess told us she was caught a bit off-guard by the reservation. We ended up a small, very noisy table to the side of the the stairway, adjacent to the kitchen. I could barely hear my husband speak. We also sat there for quite as no one stopped to ask if we wanted water let alone anything from the bar. I eventually flagged down a server and asked whether I could order a drink with him. At that point he took our full order.
The service improved from that point forward, plus the food was tasty and plentiful.
Great new restaurant, sister to Kirin on Solano. I was a bit surprised that no one spoke Chinese though - LOL
Despite that the food was authentic (declared my Chinese friend)
We will definitely go back there. Many more dishes to check out.
Good neighborhood restaurant with friendly service and fresh ingredients. A little pricey for chinese food - but given quality of ingredients - worth it. The food is tasty - the shrimp dish was fresh, but somewhat grainy (maybe sugar or spice that didn't cook off?) that made it slightly off putting, otherwise - a good dining experience.
Decent food. Nothing stood out, it was a little salty for our taste, but overall a good experience. Nice decor. Could do with removing the kids handprints up the plexi/glass stair way and clean away the empty dishes left on the outside tables. But the drinks are decent and not over priced, and happy hours are good for this neighborhood where A-16 is trying to dominate.
String beans, eggplant, red curry, fried rice were all great.
We have been her appx. 3 times, and it just keeps getting better! Surprising that more people haven't discovered this Rockridge gem. Great food, service, and ambiance at decent pricing. Looks like a note club, but without the heavy noise. We will definitely return!