Burma Superstar

Ok. Everyone has already said everything there is to say about Burma Superstar. The blogosphere is chock-full of immense praise and a billion photos and detailed descriptions of everything about BS. Although people probably don’t commonly call it BS. Regardless, I’ll keep this short.

Burma Superstar is a Burmese restaurant in the Richmond. They do not take reservations. The decor is not particularly intriguing. But somehow it’s still posh as shit.

You will wait not less than 45 minutes to eat at Burma Superstar. They will tell you the wait is 1.5 hours, however, which we agreed that we appreciate (rather than underestimating the time). You will give them your phone number and wait with your friends at a bar a block away.

Tea Leaf Salad up close and personal

Tea Leaf Salad up close and personal

At some point they were featured on the Food Network. Their Tea Leaf Salad was specifically featured. I thought that sounded disgusting when I first heard about it. It is not. It is amazing. That’s why it was on the Food Network. Those people are not stupid.

I guess it has 26,000 ingredients and the tea leaves are from Burma. Whatever. It’s delicious. Order it. Here’s another not-that-great picture:

Tea Leaf Salad all Mixed Up

Tea Leaf Salad all mixed up

Everything I’ve ever had is amazing. Try the coconut rice. They made rice amazing somehow. Try whatever. It’s great, I’m pretty sure. And the servers are nice. And one table has a huge lazy susan. And you can order to go and just pick it up if you don’t want to wait so long. And it’s not heinously expensive. Here are more foods I ate last weekend. I recommend you go there, but at a time when I do not want to go there, lest you increase my wait time. BS makes me greedy.

Pumpkin shrimp

Pumpkin shrimp

Dry fried string beans

Dried fried string beans

Those other things and coconut rice. Oh lord, so good.

Those other things and coconut rice. Oh lord, so good.

Burma Superstar on Urbanspoon

The House

Not like that mean doctor guy on TV, but like the teeny tiny little restaurant in Big-Plate-Italian*-dominated North Beach, San Francisco. The House. Grant Avenue just off Columbus. The location is unsuspecting. The website is underwhelming. The food is amazing.

Tuna rolly things. They don’t have a menu on their website, so you’re getting my best recollection of the dish names and components. Good luck!

I went for one of my four (yes, four) birthday meals this year. I went on my actual birthday. This was The Choice. It’s difficult to choose a birthday restaurant, let me tell you. “Angie, you know all the restaurants in SF, why don’t you pick?” Wait, what? Is there a sit-down Quizno’s in midtown**? No, seriously, I don’t know all the restaurants. I was looking on the SF Gate’s top 100 list and hadn’t even heard of most of the places. It’s sad, I know. And it’s exacerbated by the fact that I have a horrible memory. What I’m saying is, come birthday time, I’m on Yelp and OpenTable like every other idiot.

Insulting my readers aside, I had actually been to the The House once before this fateful day. In fact, my friend peed right outside, in the alleyway next door. It was that kind of night. (I did not approve of said urination, just for the record.) It was delicious. Not the pee, the food. Sheesh. So I went back for my birthday.

And it was awesome. Asian fusion. Classy but not uber-San-Francisco-expensive. The place is small and inevitably crowded any night of the week. Make a reservation or prepare to wait for some SF-appropriate amount of time for a table. And you’ll have to wait outside flanked by a sex shop and a sketchy dive bar because there’s no room for even a group of four to stand in the place. That’s how we roll in SF.

BUT, it’s all totally worth it. And none of those things are really that bad. We made a reservation for my bday. Me. Lita. Mala. A bottle of bubbly. And this food:

First is the picture at the top of the page. You understand that I have to put a picture “above the fold” so you keep reading, right? That’s what that’s about. That tuna roll thing was delicious. I believe the waitress recommended it as their most popular appetizer. Good start, House.

Next was this calamari. Now, you know that I a) love appetizers and, b) love calamari. This was expertly executed. Delicious. Our true-vegetarian friend was thusfar unimpressed. We ordered her asparagus which was also really good, but I forgot to take a picture. Moving on.

Calamari. Boom.

For the main, Smalls and I split some fishy and they made up a noodly dish for Lita. There was nothing entirely veggie on the menu (come on guys, wtf), which I did not notice before (no menu on the website, grr!). But, like all good SF places, they don’t blink an eye when you ask for something with no meat. They whipped up this huge plate of noodles in no time.

Fish ‘n green beans. Yums.

Vegetarian noodly dish, made to order on request.

And, because I am me and it was my birthday, it was a double whammy for dessert:

Chocolate cake!

This was coconut creme brulee. I don’t like coconut, but I trusted them to feed me only good things. They did not disappoint.

And this post somehow got way too long. I’m out. Happy birthday, biatches.

*Big Plate Italian is what Carissa calls the old-school restaurants that serve immense portions of Italian food and have things on the menu like Chicken Cacciatore, Spaghetti Bolognese, and Eggplant Parmesan. They give you a loaf of bread to start. And cookies and mints to finish. And when you leave, you’ve somehow consumed not less than four pounds of carbohydrate-laden foodstuffs, served to you by the most overbearing-yet-entirely-kindly group of people ever. That is Big Plate Italian.

**Quote courtesy of Liz Lemon.

House on Urbanspoon


Atmosphere: 4/5   ♦   Service: 4/5   ♦   Food Quality: 5/5   ♦   Value: 4/5
Times Visited:  Three   ♦   Will I Return?:  Wish I could go every night.

Genghix front doorDo you remember the Genghis Khan Kitchen in Castro Valley? Just near the corner of Redwood Road and CVB in the Lucky’s (then Albertson’s, then Lucky’s again) shopping center? Yeah, I do too. I had a bad feeling about that place for some reason, though I never went. Three years ago the owners of Genghis apparently decided they needed a change. Enter Genghix, the bad-ass older brother of Genghis*.

Genghix has a newly decorated interior and some rad, solid wood front doors that make it look sort of like a dungeon. But it’s not; it’s awesome. The interior has that sort of mood lighting that goes with polished concrete floors and dark wood furniture. It’s a bit Elephant Bar, sans all the safari equipment and foliage. It’s posh, it’s fun; it’s almost a magical transport from Castro Valley to the City.

Genghix interior

The inside of Genghix in Castro Valley

Their menu has graduated from whatever Asian buffet it used to be to “Asian Fusion”, a phrase with so many interpretations nowadays. What they mean at Genghix is Chinese, Japanese, and Thai (more generally referred to on their site as Southeast Asian and Japanese) and all sorts of awesome combos of these cuisines. When I see a menu selection as large as that at Genghix, I often cringe. Is all this stuff really good? Is it fresh? I haven’t tried everything at Genghix by any means, but what I have had was good.

We’ve gone three times in the course of a week and a half. Two of those times were sequential nights. That’s how much I liked it. To quote Black Rob, “Like Whoa“**.

Despite the huge variety on the menu, I have quite a love for Japanese food (as you may know), and hence this has been exclusively what I’ve ordered to date. Our first trip we ordered a Genghix Roll (fried shrimp, lobster, avocado, tobiko), Double Salmon Roll (salmon inside and salmon on top), and an order of salmon Nigiri sushi. Everything was fabulous. The salmon was tasty and generously proportioned on the Nigiri. And the deep fried roll, well, can you really go wrong there?

Japanese Food

Our food from visit #1 to Genghix in Castro Valley

The service on that first visit was also exceptional. The waiter was friendly, helpful, attentive, and he smiled. Like, not just at me in a creepy way, but at us in a nice way. He refilled our waters constantly. He answered our questions. It was wonderful.

Trip number two we went big with our Restaurant.com gift certificate ($50 minimum purchase, we can do it!). Crab won tons, an 18 piece sashimi plate (butter fish, salmon, tuna, albacore), a Tiger Roll (fried shrimp, salmon), and a Magic Cube (chocolate covered white and milk chocolate mousse with a cherry center) for dessert. This meal was truly heavenly. The crab won tons were excellent (but they were deep fried, so that’s not so difficult). But the sashimi melted in my mouth. Literally. Butter fish—which I’ve never before had—was so succulent and savory that I actually ended up saving it for last. The salmon, usually my all-time favorite, came in a paltry third as the albacore was the most flavorful I’ve ever tasted. Even the dessert (good dessert at a Japanese place?) was wonderfully delicious and unique. It was the kind of meal you don’t want to end.

Japanese Food

Our food from visit #2 to Genghix

And so we went the night right after as well. We had to bring friends. The service was a bit more “eh” this time, but the food was just as good in my opinion. I ordered a 12 piece sashimi (soooo good) and other orders at the table consisted of three oysters, hot and sour soup, two more fancy sushi rolls, a cucumber avocado roll and another sashimi plate. Except for one forgotten thing by the waiter (though he didn’t admit that he forgot and stated that it was “on the way”, perhaps the most irritating part of that transaction), third time’s a charm for sure.

Japanese Food

Our food from visit #3 to Genghix

Needless to say, I love this place. Love, love, love. I want to eat there every night. Maybe someday I’ll get around to trying some of their other Asian dishes (Garlic Shrimp, Sweet and Sour Fish, Orange Scallops, Wok Tossed Garlic String Beans, etc.)…or maybe I’ll just order sashimi until I pop. But even then, I bet they’d clean me up quickly and efficiently and not charge me any extra for the mess.

*This is merely a metaphor, not historical fact.

**Yeah, I totally said that.

Genghix Asian Fusion on Urbanspoon