Restaurant Reviews :
(at Cafe Yulong)
by Max Hauser
[Monday afternoon, 29-March-2010]
Unusual savory sandwiches, simply served at moderate prices, are now available, just for Monday lunches, from a classy independent business using the facilities of Cafe Yulong (743 W Dana St off Castro, Mountain View, 650 960 1677). Some of us tried them today (first day of business, a "soft opening") and the sandwiches were both interesting and delicious. Here's the story, and impressions.
James and Miya Pei opened Yulong late 2002 as I recall: a unique and (by citywide poll) the most popular Chinese restaurant downtown, unusual specialties, very fresh ingredients. The Peis, veteran restaurateurs, discouraged their offspring from careers in the restaurant world, almost successfully. Youngest son Ronald, though, felt the call. After college he trained at CCA, and has worked for some years in fancy and creative restaurant kitchens around San Francisco. Mondays, he and associates, a separate business actually renting the facilities from the senior Peis (maybe to soften the parents' dismay at their son's career), offer inventive sandwiches inspired by (but different from) a style popular in Japan. They call their operation, for now anyway, "Monday." Flyers have been available in Cafe Yulong about this. Ronald told me that his idea was to offer a novel lunch option in an extremely casual format. That it was: minimal service, self-serve utensils and drinks.
Three sandwiches are on the initial menu (it may change), all based on fried cutlets: chicken ($7), tonkatsu (pork cutlet, $7), and ebikatsu (shrimp patty, $8). Each sandwich has a freshly made fried breaded cutlet layered with a vegetable salad and aioli on an Acme torpedo roll, in a basket with interesting fresh pickled vegetables. Side dishes available include French fries (which were not bad: 1/4 inch square x-section, roughly French bistro style, $2) and "Popcorn" cauliflower (spicy, a big hit at our table: $3). All "finger food." Soft drinks are offered. We shared all three sandwich types, they looked roughly like something from Burger King but the resemblance ends when you bite. Very fresh, juicy, and flavorfully garnished with the vegetable salad. (All three were close variations on a theme; I slightly preferred the chicken version, but enjoyed all and plan to return.) The pickled vegetables that came with the sandwiches were varied, unusual, and also delicious. Real finger food: with the fries and cauliflower "popcorn," our fingers needed cleaning afterwards.
The flyer and menu both warn it's "cash only."
-- Max Hauser
Monday at Cafe Yulong
743 West Dana St
Mountain View, CA 94041
650 960 1677