Restaurant, cookbook, and public TV show impresario Ming Tsai’s newest venture, a cozy “East West” casual restaurant, is the most welcome addition in ages to the rapidly changing Fort Point Channel- and a go-to for lunch before or after a visit to the ICA (check the ICA article).
Decorated warmly in distressed wood, with windows opening onto A and Melcher Streets in good weather, Blue Dragon’s four menus (lunch from 11:30 – 14:00, “afternoon” – a more limited lunch menu – from 14:00 – 17:00, and dinner 17:00 to 22:00 and late night from 22:00 to 00:00) offer deliciously tweaked versions of traditional dishes for carnivores, vegans, and everyone in between. My favorite is the generously sized banh mi, served with seasonal fillings ranging from candied-bacon BLT to lobster to veg, but there are also fantastic lighter options, including the noodle salad with tea-marinated tofu and an excellent ramen. Fried rice is a popular favorite, and a toddler at a neighboring table once lunged for my sweet-salty taro chips.
Some people visit just for drinks: there’s an extensive and creative bar menu (one highlight is the Thai Basil Smash, a rye-based riff on a Dark and Stormy), and well chosen wines and draft beers. The only downside is that they don’t accept reservations, so you may have to wait for a table on a busy night. Be sure to check out the attractive wood-lined bathrooms: the one closest to the dining room has a one-way mirror window into the kitchen that is equal parts cool and unsettling.