3/11/2013 12:00:00 PM

Sneak Peek of Hutong, Betelnut's New Asian Small-Plates Reincarnation Opening Tonight

Hutong conjures up the back alleys of Beijing
Starting tonight, veteran chef Alex Ong and general manager Robert Wellbeloved will be breathing fresh new life into the former Betelnut space in Cow Hollow which, after a short hiatus, is reopening this evening as a new casual pan- and Southeast Asian small plates restaurant that showcases the food found in hutong, or back alleys of Beijing or Tapei. Aside from two holdovers, shrunken portions of wok-fried green beans and short-ribs, the updated menu features all-new slate of Asian-inspired shared plates such as swordfish with crabmeat and other ambitious items that he’s “always tried to sell to the Marina crowd”, that are both smaller in size and lower in price than its predecessor ($7-$15), but Ong assures us he’s still committed to sourcing from sustainable farms and ranches and not “off the back of a truck in Chinatown.” The bar’s former tiki-heavy drink program has also been updated to reflect more contemporary cocktail trends.

As for the d├ęcor, Ong concedes the mostly cosmetic changes in the 130-seat dining room are more like “lipstick on a pig” – the Real Restaurant management swapped out the oversized posters of Betelnut girls and signature red lanterns in the 20-seat front bar area—and simply added a new wall treatment in the back dining room, comprise of layers upon layers of gold paper, advertisements, paint and graffiti, that’s meant to give the space the look of a centuries-old back alley.

The entire Hutong menu is available at the bar and in the dining room for dinner-only Monday-Thursday, and continuously from 11:30 am until closing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Reservations can me made via Open Table.

Hutong: 2030 Union St; 415- 929-8855


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