Most Surprising Bar Menu

Dragon Gate Bar and Grille

The first thing that catches your attention at this Jack London neighborhood cocktail bar is probably either the flashy, Chinese-inspired decor (bamboo plants, red paper lanterns, etc.); the waitresses in slinky, thigh-length qipao; or the posh private karaoke rooms behind the beaded curtain in back. This is the kind of place where the food usually gets second (or third or fourth) shrift, where you’re lucky if you can snag a decent plate of chicken wings or a bowl of soggy noodles. What a pleasant surprise it is, then, that Dragon Gate serves the most extensive — and tastiest — selection of Taiwanese street food, noodles, and rustic home-style dishes that we’ve encountered in the East Bay. Just try a bowl of the spicy beef noodle soup, which is studded with cubes of tender brisket and tendon; the sizzling, aromatic “three-cup sauce” chicken; or the simple dried-radish omelet. You’ll swear you’re sitting at your Taiwanese auntie’s kitchen table, and not in some swanky karaoke lounge.

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