By Emma Krasov, photography by Yuri Krasov
Come for the dancers, stay for the food, or come for cocktails, stay for the beautiful transgender ladies – any way you come to Asia SF you’ll want to stay.
With Aliyah, Nya, Darna, and their equally gorgeous colleagues dancing and lip-sinking on a bar, Asia SF restaurant – a San Francisco institution, could’ve gotten away with just mediocre fare. However, the Asian-inspired cuisine here is as enticing as the show.
But first thing first, darlings. As Nya puts it, “The more you drink the more beautiful we look.” Despite self-deprecating humor, the graceful ladies of Asia SF are a sight for sore eyes even if their viewers are cold sober, but no self-respecting diner would start a pleasant table conversation without a good cocktail, would he/she now?
So, every lady dancer in the joint has her own signature drink on the menu.
For redhead Scarlett, the newest cast member, it’s Sake Cosmo, for Nya it’s Razzle-dazzle with ROKK berry vodka and Chambord, and for Brandy it’s not really brandy, but Gin Blossom. Be it Jasmine’s Tarantula, a.k.a. The Ultimate Margarita, tinted with Blue Curacao, or Darna’s Lemon Drop, you are sure to enjoy it.
After the cocktails, dinner is served ménage a trois style. Each guest orders an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. All plates are meant to be shared. For starters, blackened tuna sashimi with picked carrots, daikon radishes and ginger is a perennial favorite.
Another great seafood appetizer is called “porcupines” – shrimp and scallop with water chestnuts rolled in clear noodles then deep-fried to crispiness.
As soon as the guests get their first bite, the show starts.
On the night we dined, Aliyah, Darna, and Nya were the featured dancers, enthusiastically cheered by the spectators.
Their dancing was skillful, and their costumes were creative and whimsical. Be it Chanel-clad baby doll, a vamp, or a femme-fatale, it’s always a pleasure to behold.
Then our main course arrived.
Meaty and satisfying miso-glazed king salmon with black rice was nicely complimented by a side of sweet tomatoes, red onions, and edamame beans.
Excellent filet mignon came sliced for sharing on a dramatic black plate with fried potato stars and Japanese eggplant salad.
By the time desserts came to the stage – pineapple cheesecake and trio of miniature ice cream cones – so did the dancers.
This time, the costumes were even more festive, the dancing more daring, and the three ladies of the first show were joined by Scarlett who at the beginning of the evening performed the hostess’s duty by the front door.
She began her number dressed as an L.A. starlet stepping out for coffee – short shorts, pink sweatshirt, flip-flops and Hollywood shades.
Then, all the street clothes fell off, and Scarlett appeared, long-legged, slender, and busty, in a cocktail dress and high heels, jingling her bangle bracelets and batting her long lashes.
Aliyah in turquoise chiffon looked like a true diva, while Nya in a wild punk black and red outfit managed to dance her own numbers and to emcee at the same time.
Darna stole the show with her fiery dance.
Incredibly feminine, in a silvery sparkling dress, she moved with energy, ease and grace, giving her audience enough time to appreciate and/or envy her voluptuous body.
Good time was had by all at Asia SF. Alas, it couldn’t last forever. The place is popular among the tourists and city dwellers alike, and is usually packed with couples, groups, and bachelorette or birthday parties.
Hurry up and see for yourself. Asia SF is located at 201 9th Street, San Francisco. Make your reservation by calling 415-255-2742. To find out more, visit: www.asiaSF.com