You looking for your new stylish hangout, full of Chinatown glamour and dim sum and playful cocktails? Of course you are. Now open above Mister Jiu’s is MOONGATE LOUNGE, where banquets were formerly held when it was the Four Seas.
Owners Brandon Jew and Anna Lee worked with Steph Wong-Swig Architects on the 5,000-square-foot space, which has a 55-seat cocktail bar and lounge, and an event space with room for 80. You feel like an extra on a Wong Kar-wai set, with the chic half-moon back bar lit up like a Miami bar in the 80s, vermilion velvet booths (with suspended lotus lights made from the original Four Seas light fixtures—oh, and the booths can be reserved), low-slung seating, and an entrancing and modern light fixture that dominates the room and changes with different LED colors—it’s the moon gate.
Chef Brandon Jew’s menu features creative bar snacks for $6 each, like spicy plantation peanuts with crispy anchovy, and the smoked oyster “youtiao,” which was almost like a crisp Chinese hush puppy. Elevated dim sum bites ($15) include chicken in a space suit (LOL), a play on a pig in a blanket-meets-bao, and an update on Crab Rangoon with Alaska king crab. The pig trotter ham sui gok was my favorite—made with glutinous rice, there’s an incredible texture experience when you bite into the lightly crisp exterior. You’ll also find a half-chicken ($20) from an original Four Seas recipe that was recovered from a newspaper clipping. Pastry chef Melissa Chou’s Parisian egg tart ($8) is more like crème anglaise than your typical dan tat, a creamy vanilla dream.
Cocktails from Danny Louie and Alex Kulick feature six house cocktails named after moons in our solar system, plus six rotating seasonal cocktails inspired by the Chinese lunar calendar. The art direction of the cocktail menu made my eyes pop out, I fell in love with all the saturated color and sets (I wonder whyyyyyy).
The Kerberos is a great place to start, with gin, green Chartreuse, salted kiwi, celery, and pink peppercorn. I stayed with refreshing with the Vernal Equinox, a frothy number with gin, bitter melon, sweet and sour, and jasmine, and then the Start of Spring, with vodka, spring pea, Suze, sarsaparilla, honey, and sesame. I love all the Chinese culinary touches they integrate into the cocktails here (and I’m also pleased to have a bunch more to try).
Wine director Louisa Smith ’s wine list is exclusively focused on natural wines (using organic and/or biodynamic practices with no additions in the wine, other than little to no sulfur), and you’ll find some selections for all budgets, but they are overall quite affordable by the bottle. Have fun.
Get excited to climb up the redwood stairs that date back to the late 1890s and have yourself a lovely evening. Open Tue-Sat 5pm-11pm. 28 Waverly Place at Sacramento.
The banquet room (facing Commercial St.) features this dramatic detail. All photos: © tablehopper.com.