Xino u want it! Team Betty meets up with Chef Chris Yeo at Xino in Santa Monica. Chef shares his simple Steamed Fish recipe, a traditional dish for celebrating the Chinese New Year! We also get a peak at how dim sum gets done, play a little Whac-A-Mole, and brainstorm on Ludacris inspired MC names for Chef Yeo. Watch Xino U Want It and celebrate the Year of the Rabbit!
HAPPY NEW YEO!
Chef Chris Yeo is soft spoken and wise. He’s polite and courteous, and believes in his team. Yeo has been in the restaurant business long enough to know that it isn’t just his presence that makes a great restaurant experience; it’s the people at every level that connect with guests, and prepare and deliver delicious food.
Chef Chris makes a point to introduce everyone in the restaurant. He rallies General Manager, Ken So, to explain Chinese New Year traditions and folklore of the Steamed Fish, which is meant to bring happiness and prosperity. Yeo broadens the spotlight even further when he enlists Chef Curtis for the dramatic hot oil finish of the Steamed Fish. When I thank Chef Chris for his time and instruction (and for putting up with my silliness) he says quite simply, “I give credit to everyone here.”
If Ludacris, Yeo’s business partner, does take any of my suggestions for a cool MC name for Chef Chris, I vote for “Buddhacris” simply because Chef Chris is the embodiment of Zen. Watch Xino U Want It!
The Steamed Fish is fresh and simple. Translated in Chinese, the dish means “many fishes of the sea” and is believed to bring happiness and prosperity in the New Year. Julienned ginger root awakens with hot oil; fresh green onion, cilantro and bright green baby bok choy complete the dish. Get the recipe here.
This Shrimp and Spinach Dumpling is the one I fell in love with at Los Angeles Times Celebration of Food & Wine. Delicate flavors are tucked inside an opaque wrapper made from tapioca flour. After steaming, the texture is unlike the gyoza or potstickers I am familiar with. I crave this dumpling. Get the recipe here.
Dim sum, translated, means “from the heart.” A staple in Chinese Dim Sum, the Chicken Siu Mai at Xino is substantial and tasty. This is the first time I’ve had the Siu Mai at Xino and it now rivals my love of the dumpling. I will definitely have to get back to Xino to determine which is my favorite. And this could take a LOT of testing :D
Xino is decorated in minimalist red and black with soft white accents. A sultry mural of a tattooed concubine seduces guests out to Xino’s signature terrace overlooking Third Street Promenade. Cabanas, umbrellas and lots of bamboo set the scene for the sunny classic Southern California view and vibe. This is an awesome outdoor space, and not visible from the front of the restaurant; the perfect setting for a power lunch, leisurely afternoon sipping Redheads in Bed or romantic dinner for two. Visit Xino to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit because Xino U Want It!
Xino is a KCRW Fringe Benefits Member! The following VALENTINES DAY CHEF’S TASTING MENU is available February 14, 2011, from 4:00PM-11:00PM. With ten percent of profits going to support the St. John’s Heart Institute in Santa Monica, it’s time to dim sum and give some.
First Course: Cupid’s Seafood Platter
Soy Braised Abalone & Maitake Mushrooms, Sea Beans, Hearts of Palm & White Soy
Kushii Oyster on the Half Shell, Pickled Shallot, Lychee Mignonette
XO Cured Salmon & Gold Coin Buns, Black Bean Chimichurri, Soy Caviar
Second Course: Burning Love
Garlic Black Pepper Medallions of Beef & Singaporean “Chili Prawns”
Wok Fired Chinese Greens, Kabocha Puree
Third Course: Lovers Only
Chocolate Fondue with Ginger Marshmallow, Jumbo Strawberries, Coconut Macaroons & a Warm Chocolate Ganache
Special thanks to Chef Chris Yeo, Ken So, General Manager, and Chef Curtis of Xino at Santa Monica Place; Samantha Srinivasan and Daniela Galarza of Bread & Butter PR for making this cooking demonstration possible.