1240 9th Ave
(between Irving St & Lincoln Way)
San Francisco, CA 94122
Neighborhood: Inner Sunset
I’ve been coming to Park Chow ever since I was a kid. The hook? Warm ginger bread cake with pumpkin ice cream and caramel sauce. First opened in 1997, it’s a good sign the Asian-Italian-American fusion restaurant is still packed after 13 years.
The restaurant has a very home-y feel to it. The tip – request to sit upstairs by the fireplace. It’s very romantic and a great space for small parties. I usually have my holiday dinner with my friends in that part of the restaurant. The restaurant is dim and cozy, mostly because of the space heaters and the fireplaces.
I cycle between a handful of dishes – garden pasta, Smiling Noodles, Thai Style Noodles or the Eggplant Parmesan. All very delicious. K also likes to get the Short Ribs with Polenta – this, too, is outstanding.
Farfalle w/peas, asparagus, tomato, cream – What’s great about Park Chow is that they sell half orders. I wasn’t too hungry so I opted for the mini order which only cost me $7.50. Although it had cream sauce, the pasta was very light. Peas and asparagus were fresh, as expected. Old peas are no bueno.
Smiling Noodles of Chicken & Prawn w/bok choy, mushrooms, curry, black beans – Such a Park Chow classic. This pasta dish has been here for as long as I can remember and it’s still a hit. They use a linguine pasta and place it in a broth-like sauce. It’s tangy, mildly spicy and refreshing. The best part? Dipping your bread in the broth.
Warm Gingerbread w/Pumpkin Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce – I’m sorry I don’t have a photo of this yet. Last time I came here, I was just way too full to get dessert. Trust me, I’m regretting that. Anyway, the ginger bread is amazing. So fresh, you can tell it’s homemade. The crust of the cake it a little crunchy, but the center is soft and airy. It’s strong in ginger flavor, but it’s completely balanced with the mild pumpkin ice cream and caramel sauce. You have to order this if you visit.
I have a few tips when you eat here. Call ahead to put your name on the waiting list. Park Chow has never taken reservations, but you can call 20 minutes ahead of time to put your name down… especially since the restaurant is always crowded. I also recommend their breakfast menu. They make a bomb salmon benedict. Have that with a glass of their fresh squeezed, and very tart, lemonade and you’re set to have a wonderful rest of the day.