Mere months after launching the pan-Asian take-out Tender Loving Food at Eddy and Leavenworth, co-owner William Lue is preparing to launch another Southeast Asian restaurant in the neighborhood.
A lease has been signed at 448 Larkin St., formerly Bento House, and fundraising for the new venture begins Monday, Lue says.
While he's still searching for the proper name, Lue noted that it'll provide a much different experience from Tender Loving Food, known for its $9 or less dishes boxed to go. This Larkin Street eatery will be a sit-down restaurant serving colonial Southeast Asian dishes, meaning recipes that originated 200 years ago when European powers ruled or influenced countries like Burma, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore. But much of the menu will originate from Burma's Shan State, bordered by China and Thailand, Lue noted.
The restaurant will have a beer and wine license, but more importantly, there will be a selection of teas and 'tea-tails,' or tea-infused cocktails. "Tea is so good with the food," Lue said, noting that he has plenty of varieties and plans to narrow down his offering during the soft opening phase. One idea he's currently playing with: having servers offer brief stories about each variety's origins as they're served.
He's also considering offering a happy hour pairing Southeast Asian desserts with teas, much like British tea-time.
As for the restaurant's interior, Lue says he's going tropical, with a "less is more" approach. Lots of trees will greet patrons at the door, a mosquito net might be hung and he plans to install a chefs table with double-decker lazy susans.
If all goes well, the restaurant will softly open in late July or early August.