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Long-delayed Empress of China reboot Empress by Boon to open June 18

Long-delayed Empress of China reboot Empress by Boon to open June 18
Image: Steve J via Yelp
By Joe Kukura - Published on May 10, 2021.

Not since 2014 have we walked past the autographed pictures of George H.W. Bush and Henry Kissinger, and then took the elevator six floors up to the kitsch-luxe Chinatown destination Empress of China. But for the last two years we’ve been eagerly anticipating the revived version called Empress by Boon, helmed by Hakkasan’s former international executive chef Ho Chee Boon, to save the iconic Chinese cuisine treasure from becoming office space.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by @empressbyboon

 

Details have been scant, until today. As the above Monday morning Instagram post proclaims, “Mark your calendars! Chef Ho Chee Boon is delighted to announce the official opening of his first restaurant under his name, Empress by Boon, on June 18. Reservations are available to book via the OpenTable link in our bio from today onwards!”

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by @empressbyboon

 

This development was picked up by both the Chronicle and Eater SF, but mostly with information gleaned from Instagram posts and previous reports, as Empress by Boon has been playing it close to the vest. The Chronicle does add the intriguing detail that “The chic design by United Kingdom firm Atelier LLYS features restored fixtures from Empress of China, including a wooden pergola and intricately carved wooden panels, and three distinct atmospheres that correspond with the different San Francisco views diners will see from the top floor restaurant.”

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by @empressbyboon

 

The first month in business will be a special menu before the new Boon menu is released. “In honor of the opening of Empress by Boon, Executive Chef Ho will serve a limited time five-course prix fixe menu of dishes that best represent his culinary perspective of elegant yet approachable Cantonese gastronomy,” according to the restaurant’s OpenTable listing. “The prix fixe menu will be offered exclusively until July 19th when an a la carte menu will be introduced.”

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by @empressbyboon


Which begs the immediate question, can we make reservations yet? Hoodline is thrilled to report you can (until they get gobbled up!). The first few days are booked solid, but as of press time, the Empress by Boon OpenTable page shows reservations available during the new Empres’ second week in business, generally in the 5-6 p.m. range.