While I have a great love of Asian cuisine, I often steer clear of it while eating out given my gluten allergy. I’m afraid of hidden soy sauce or cross-contamination with other dressings or condiments, but executive chef Sharon Nahm at E&O Asian Kitchen in San Francisco put my mind at ease during a recent visit to her restaurant.
E&O has an impressively large space with three floors and a lounge that can be utilized for private events. With a very sleek, club-like vibe coupled with Asian decorative influences, the décor creates an overall authentic San Francisco feel. The restaurant actually went through a redesign and rebranding in 2012—it was formerly E&O Trading Company.
While I hadn’t had the pleasure of visiting the old space, I was impressed with the new one, as well as the quality of the cuisine and the attention to detail catering towards those with food intolerances.
Nahm and her team have taken special care to create a separate gluten-free menu that labels each dish, each ingredient, the substitutions made that distinguish them from the recipe on the original menu, and notes where certain dishes can have cross contamination components. The list is comprehensive and rather extensive, leaving the diner with the ability to make their own choice depending upon the severity of their allergy.
Given how excited I was to sample some creative Asian dishes, we decided to try a little bit of everything. We began with a coconut curry ceviche with local white fish, green curry, chilies, and taro chips, as well as ahi tuna tartare with shallots, scallions, ginger, lily bulb petals, seaweed, and black sesame crackers.
I was impressed with the punch of spice both dishes had and how the heat lingered on our palates. For entrées, we sampled the black pepper shaking beef with red onions, tomatoes, chilies, and watercress, and the E&O wood grilled burger, served on a brown rice flour sesame bun topped with sriracha aioli, green papaya salad, and white cheddar cheese.
As if that wasn’t enough food, we also ordered a side of Indonesian fried rice with gulf white prawns, char siu pok, vegetables, egg, and chilies.
I particularly enjoyed the E&O burger. The smokiness of a great piece of beef, topped with bold sriracha aioli and papaya salad was a perfect way to combat the heat. The shaking beef was a perfect partner for the Indonesian fried rice; it was a simple Asian dish done well, which I was thoroughly thankful for.