I don’t really know what the “R” and “G” stand for at R&G Lounge. My guess is that it means “Really Good”. Not quite the name you would expect for a Chinese restaurant located in Chinatown. Whenever friends ask me for a recommendation to a good Chinese place in SF I tell them to come here. Why? Because it captures the quintessential Chinese cuisine that they imagine when they think about SF. It probably isn’t the best Chinese food around, and I am hardly qualified to make this judgement because I haven’t eaten at more than a handful of Chinese places. But it is still damn good.
The dish that everyone seems to get here, or any Chinese seafood place for that matter, is the Salt and Pepper Crab. They may no be the only place that serves live crab, but they sure know how to season and cook it. It is battered in flour rather than corn starch which makes it a bit greasier, but tends to provide better flavor for the seasonings.
Steamed Egg with Clams is another fantastic dish. The eggs come out in a velvety custard-like texture which are wonderful to eat with the clams. Although the egg itself is rather plain, it pairs well with the rich umami of the clams.Seafood Chow Mein is pretty standard and similar to that served in many other places.
There are many many more dishes to be had at R&G Lounge, but if you are tourist you may be disappointed with the fact that the decor is modern rather than decorated in red lanterns everywhere. I don’t know why people have come to expect Chinese restaurants to look like brothels, even if they are in Chinatown.