R & G Lounge (Revisited) – San Francisco, CA

Meep’s first birthday dinner of the year! JT & Yves was in town for some Robotics Conference and a 1/2 marathon, so we met up with them for dinner~ No visit to SF is complete w/o some good fresh seafood especially Dungeness Crab. We needed a place near their hotel so I suggested R&G Lounge~

R&G Lounge is popularised by Anthony Bourdain in his show No Reservations, so it is packed regardless of the day of the week because of tourists and locals alike.

The restaurant has multiple levels. It is quite small on each floor but I think there is 3, with the bar and private dining space on street level. Twice we ate there, we were seated in the basement floor that has probably over a dozen tables.

Made reservations about 4 days in advance and had to wait probably about 10 minutes to be seated. Not to bad considering walk ins were quoted 45 minutes or so for a table at 8 pm on a Wednesday.

We got directed to the basement, where they have their own hostess and cashier. The basement is pretty cramped and gets pretty loud, which is fine for us since I think we totally contributed to the noise. *sheepish grin*

Menu is fairly extensive, well categorised and has nice pictures showing the house specialties.

There is also a separate drinks menu.

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Signature Crab with Salt & Pepper ~$38

Live battered crab deep fried and sprinkled with salt & pepper seasoning

I don’t know how they get the batter to stick so well and remain so crispy but I don’t care. It is delicious!! The crabs are so fresh. Crunchy batter with sweet succulent crab meat. *loves*

I love the “brain/roe” that they managed to keep intact n deep fry as well. So briny and delicious.

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Mixed Seafood Lettuce Cups $18

Stir fried minced scallops, prawns, Chinese sausage, mushrooms & bamboo shoots served with 6 lettuce cups

Quite pricey for what you get. There were fresh chunks of scallops and shrimp but more waterchestnuts than anything else. Seasoned well and sauteed with a oyster sauce concoction with lovely smokiness from the wok. The lettuce cups were crisps and very fresh and made lovely wraps topped with the oyster sauce they give on the side.

The pine nuts gave it some extra crunch and nuttiness, I loved the play on textures from the succulent shrimp and scallops to the crunch from the pine nuts and bamboo shoots along with the extra freshness from the lettuce. There is not enough lettuce for the amount of stir fry, but fret not because it is delicious with rice as well.

I don’t taste the chinese sausages and swear there are bits of water chestnut in there as well.

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HK Style Combination Chow Mein $12

Crispy yellow noodles topped with 2 scallops, 2 shrimps, squid, thinly sliced chicken breasts n random bits of meat in a oyster base sauce

I enjoyed the shiitake mushroom, scallops and prawns the most. The shiitake was tender and absorbed the flavours from the sauce. Scallops and shrimps were cooked perfectly; not only were they quite large but were so fresh and sweet. The Kai Lan (Chinese broccoli) was blanched well, with a bit of crunch left. Chicken breasts were tender.

There were slivers of charsiu (pork) and squid that I didn’t care much for. Nor did I enjoy the actual noodle or the sauce (which was oyster sauce based, and too reminiscent in terms of flavours to the lettuce wraps). I found the sauce to be enhanced with MSG (a little to heavily) because it got me thirsty after every couple bites.

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Mongolian Beef $14

Sauteed beef with onions, green bell peppers and chili sauce

The menu states that the dish is spicy but there was barely any hint of heat. Coming from someone who can’t handle any kind of heat in terms of spiciness, it means it will be not the least bit spicy for the average person. The chili sauce is sweet, salty and the beef was amazingly tender. Nice crunch from the onions and bell peppers. Overall, a great dish.

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Rice $7 ($1.75/person)

I am speechless when I realised how much this rice cost! I requested for a small bowl for one person but got a tub and didn’t question it since it looked nice and fluffy and we all had some. It was well cooked and great quality Jasmine rice BUT at $1.75 per person (about a small bowl serving) I am appalled.

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Extras:
Lychee Martini $10 – Delicious! Sweet, potent, fruity with 2 nice lychees (from a can)


French Blossoms $10 – JT didn’t enjoy it, she said it tasted like cough syrup. Looks pretty and smells good though~
2 Tsing Tao @ $4.50 each
Coke $2

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Total Damage: ~$138 (total estimate before tip because it was a treat from JT)

Personal Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Very good)

Honestly, the hype is all true – the crab has to be the freshest and prolly one of the most well prepared versions of deep fried crab I have ever had. The other dishes seem a little heavy on MSG because I was parched after. Food is pricier than your average Chinese restaurant in Chinatown but the quality of the seafood is top notched.

Service is pretty good (especially for a Chinese restaurant); it did take a while for our order to be taken (one guy in a jacket takes orders for all the tables) but after that we barely needed to wait for anything. Food arrived steadily over our meal, with the first dish coming out in less than 10 minutes. The bus boys were very efficient with switching our dirty plates with clean ones. Pretty attentive and courteous, a pleasant surprise. :)

Oh, and they validate parking. The parking lot next door charges $6 parking for evenings and you can get your ticket validated by the host near the front door on your way out.

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R & G Lounge

631 Kearny Street
(between Clay St & Commercial St)
San Francisco, CA 94108

(415) 982-7877

R & G Lounge on Urbanspoon

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