Bamboo Terrace is a throwback.
It’s the kind of joint your grandparents went to when they wanted Chinese food that wasn’t too threatening or esoteric. The menu is stacked with comfort-Chinese dishes: chop suey, almond chicken, pork fried rice, the kind of stuff that’s not exactly adventurous but that always seems to come out pretty good. It’s all in the $7 to $12 range.
The ambience is pure 1950s-1960s. The walls are covered in dark green floral-print wallpaper. The booths are upholstered with fake orange button-tufted leather. There’s a candy machine in the entryway, and I’d bet dollars to doughnuts there used to be a cigarette machine there, too. In fact, the place seems like it ought to be filled with smoke, especially the bar and lounge side.
We ordered a couple of egg rolls for $2.35 apiece, chicken with cashews and vegetables for $10.25, and the wor mein egg noodles with pork, chicken and shrimp for $8.75.
The egg rolls were huge and pretty tasty. They had a dual texture, like they’d been rolled, then breaded and fried. A couple of those could be a whole meal. The cashew chicken dish was simple, just chicken, cashews, celery, bamboo shoots, carrots, peas and mushrooms in a thick sauce. It was comfort food for sure, but a couple of squirts of chili-paste-style hot sauce and it became a whole other (better) thing.
The star of the dinner was the wor mein, a noodle soup loaded with shrimp, chicken, pork, broccoli and a boiled egg. This, too, was more on the side of comfort than adventure. But it was damn good, like chicken soup with a bunch of delicious other stuff just thrown in. And, again, the hot sauce really helped.
I walked out satisfied, and for some reason I wanted to listen to Sinatra and watch some Brando movies. It’s that kind of joint.
Location: 54 W. Nob Hill Blvd.
Hours: Lunch and dinner Tuesdays through Sundays.