I am happy to announce that this will be the first post of our new monthly series: A Toast of the Town with ME, Lana Huyen! I will be visiting popular Asian restaurants and bars and sitting down with their chefs to give you a look at the genius behind the food (talk about the best assignment, ever). Join me in this adventure as we discover new and amazing places to dine!
Last Friday, I had the opportunity of visiting SINO Restaurant & Lounge at Santana Row in San Jose. Walking through the door was like walking through a portal to the other side of the world. All I could think was, “Hello, Shanghai!” The interior was beautiful and warm with its high ceilings and dim lighting. Looking around, Asian influences were everywhere – from the upholstered seating to the crimson floor-to ceiling silk curtains. With separate dining and lounging areas (with full bar!), the restaurant was welcoming to people of all ages. I arrived at 4:00pm and it was already filling up!
I was greeted by culinary director and owner Chef Chris Yeo and got a chance to sit down with him. A man of many trades, Chef Yeo graduated from Singapore’s Hotel and Catering School before deciding to pursue a career as a hairdresser. He then attended Vidal Sassoon Academy in London and eventually opened up Yeo’s Hair Design in San Francisco. In 1987, Chef Yeo was driven back to the restaurant industry by his passion for food. It was then that he opened his first restaurant, Straits Café, in San Francisco. Chef Yeo has since then opened a total of seven restaurants. When I asked him the reason for his career change, his answer was simple and straight to the point–he missed food. Thank goodness he did.
In 2005, Chef Yeo launch SINO in Santana Row. SINO offers an exotic menu of “New experience” Chinese classics, hosted in an elegant and sophisticated atmosphere. Chef Yeo was generous enough to have a few dishes prepared for us, and I can say with all honesty that they were melt-in-your-mouth good. They all held true to Chef Yeo’s concept of “Modern Chinese cuisine,” keeping the classic Asian flavors with a perfectly added twist. I have lost count of how many times I have found myself craving these dishes since my visit five days ago.
SINO serves a wide selection of dim sum by day and by night offers high-end interpretations of classic Chinese dishes. Pictured above: Lobster Potstickers, Kobe Beef Tartare, Shanghai Dumplings and Vegetarian Springrolls, and Char Siu Sea Bass with Broccolini.
Chef Yeo is an energetic and passionate man and it shows in his restaurant and the food that he serves. To learn more about Chef Yeo and what he sees for the future of Asian cuisine, watch my interview!
Chef Yeo recently opened another Sino in Santa Monica, California. He is also owner and culinary director of Straits Restaurant with locations in: San Francisco, CA; Palo Alto, CA; San Jose, CA (Santana Row); Atlanta, GA; and Houston, TX.
Disclosure: SINO Restaurant & Lounge is a sponsoring partner for OneVietnam’s “Toast of the Town: Chef Edition” event on Friday, January 28 @ SINO. Click here to find more event info and to RSVP!