139 Waverly Place, SF, CA (415) 956-2902 Parallel to Grant Avenue and Stockton Street, between Washington and Sacramento streets
The restaurant is directly across the street from the Potsticker, a tourist filled restaurant that I have eaten at numerous times and for some reason have never posted about… on Waverly Place, a picturesque street crowded with buddhist temples. This two block street was originally known as Pike Street and is also known as the Street of the Painted Balconies click here to view a really cool 360 degree of the street. One of the main characters was named Waverly, after this street, in Amy Tan’s novel the “Joy Luck Club,” and Dashiell Hammett’s “Dead Yellow Women” is also set here.
Inside the restaurant is bright and clean with a lot of hand written signs taped to the walls written in Chinese. The waitress immediately appeared with a pot of hot tea. In Chinatown, I always feel disapproval when I ask for ice-water, let alone diet coke but I generally prefer cold beverages with lunch, unless it’s really cold out.
I came prepared to order porridge, but changed my mind when I saw a steaming claypot served to a nearby table. The waitress dropped off a delicious cup of hot tonic broth with ginseng, barley and carrots. It was very light and refreshing.
and this cup of steaming soy sauce that was sweetened and seemed to have additional spices….
Eventually the sizzling claypot of chicken and mushrooms arrived and I drizzled the soy sauce over the bowl, worrying that I had the sequence wrong…. was I cooling the bowl off and ruining the caramelization of the rice? Was I supposed to dip stuff into the cup of now cooling soy? Well it tasted pretty good mixed in with the rice, so I poured the rest in and proceeded to chow down…
The rice developed a toasty crust against the clay pot and I was smitten with each bite. There were a couple of slices of rich aromatic Chinese sausage, velvety pieces of black mushroom and crunchy branches of Chinese broccoli… a feast….
As I left the restaurant, I could hear the clashing sound of gongs and cymbals and the ploink of drums drifting out of a window upstairs that made me think of the lion dance parade. I am coming back to explore the claypot and porridges on the menu.