Empress by Boon, the expansive Cantonese culinary destination spearheaded by Michelin-starred Chef Ho Chee Boon, is set to open on Friday, June 18, 2021, following delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.Located at 838 Grant Avenue in the space formerly occupied by the landmark Empress of China restaurant, which served the San Francisco community with an elegant dining experience for nearly half a century, the exciting new restaurant will open with the goal of once again providing a place to gather and celebrate with family and friends. Chef Ho’s vision is to continue the special location’s dining legacy with modern, elevated, yet approachable cuisine in an elegant, reimaged dining atmosphere.
“I want to provide a positive contribution for the people of this great city that I love so dearly, and those who visit San Francisco for work or leisure,” saya Chef Ho. “Cooking for people brings me the most joy in life and I’ve missed it dearly this past year. I can’t wait to share my vision and to bring new joy and excitement to Chinatown and the Empress.”
Before launching a curated a la carte menu, Chef Ho will present a prix fixe menu that features modern Cantonese dishes prepared with fresh and local ingredients from the restaurant’s own organic farm in Gilroy, California as well as an extensive wine list and cocktail and tea service.
Chef Ho has assembled a core executive team of experienced professionals, including general manager James Minch; pastry chef Rory MacDonald, formerly of Dessert Bar, Gordon Ramsey and Hakkasan; Haley Moore, CEO and founder of Acquire, who will oversee the wine program; Emily Parian as bar manager and crafter par excellence of unique, alluring cocktails; and private events manager Elissa Ma. Macdonald will offer a curated dessert menu that will complement and enhance Chef Ho’s modern Cantonese menu.
Chef Ho is a Michelin-starred chef with close to 30 years of experience at several of the world’s most renowned Asian restaurants. Born in Malaysia, Chef Ho is the former international executive chef of Hakkasan and has opened several of its most celebrated restaurants worldwide, including Hakkasan Hanway Place in London, Yauatcha Soho London, Turandot in Moscow, and Breeze in Bangkok. He relocated to the U.S. in 2012 to launch Hakkasan New York. His international culinary expertise transforms any restaurant and its cuisine into a true epicurean experience. Chef Ho’s traditional techniques combine fresh ingredients from local purveyors to produce dishes that are both contemporary and with the essence of traditional Cantonese cuisine.
Envisioned by UK-based design studio Atelier LLYS, the restaurant will feature modern elements alongside restored features from the location’s predecessor, including the beautifully carved panels and the original wooden pergola, which will grace the new bar lounge. Occupying the top floor of the landmark Grant Avenue building in the heart of Chinatown, the restaurant boasts striking views of the district and the city skyline from three vantage points. As each view is different, Atelier LLYS designed spaces with distinct atmospheres that highlight the unique aspects of each perspective.
Empress by Boon will feature tableware by RUYI, contemporary Chinese tableware from French heritage brand LEGLE. Chef Ho’s exquisite preparations and the fine tableware become linked, allowing diners to experience the prosperity, elegance and bliss of a fine Chinese meal.
Empress by Boon will abide by the San Francisco COVID-19 safety measures and dining policies including limiting table capacity, enforcing social distancing and requiring face masks when not eating or drinking. Chef Ho and his team will maintain restaurant standards and guest expectations while also prioritizing the health and safety of staff and guests.
Empress by Boon is located at 838 Grant Avenue (between Washington and Clay streets). The opening prix fixe menu is available for dinner from June 18 (Monday through Saturday, 5-10 p.m.) at USD68++ onwards and can be booked via OpenTable or by calling 415.757.0728.