Each time I go to Szechuan restaurant in Livermore for lunch I find myself having an internal struggle. I always order the stir fried filets of salmon with sugar snap peas, which is just unbelievably good. As I relish every bite, my brain tells me that I should share a bit of salmon with my companion. In the meantime, my stomach tells me that I absolutely cannot afford to give up one bite of this delicious, delicate, tender salmon. The stomach wins every time. I end up leaving stuffed and happy yet with a small taste of guilt in my mouth for being so greedy.
I have had the chance to try some of the other dishes at Uncle Yu's and I can tell you that each time everything really is quite lovely. Every dish boasts fresh, vibrant flavors. The restaurant has great ambiance and a sommelier so it is fair to pay a little more.
For lunch, 11a.m. to 4 p.m., there are specials that range from $9 for entrees like sweet and sour pork to $12 for my salmon dish. Each entree comes with hot and sour soup, vegetables and a choice of white or brown rice, pork fried rice or vegetable chow mein.
You also can partake in a banquet-style luncheon for parties of six or more that cost $15 or $20 per person, depending on whether you choose the Livermore Feast or Vineyard Indulgence, which each have eight or more dishes. For dinner there are three banquet choices for $25, $40 or $50.
There are starters, soups and two salad choices as Uncle Yu's at the Vineyard but you can easily fill up on its family-style lunch/dinner menu. Meat dishes cost $12 for lemon chicken, for example, and $16 for Peking baby back ribs. Seafood items include honey glazed calamari for $14 to $24 for baby lobster tail. Noodle dishes include beef chow fun, Singapore noodles or pad thai for $10.
A special night out I would love to try is the Chef and Sommelier Tasting Menus. This is a three-course tasting menu that includes an appetizer, entree and dessert for $30 per person, plus $20 per wine flight for 3-ounce pours. There also is a six-course tasting menu that includes two appetizers, three entrees and dessert for $45 per person, plus $45 per flight of 2-ounce pours. A minimum of two diners is required.
Uncle Yu's has a bar area where you can enjoy a cocktail or beer if you are not a wine connoisseur.
And it's enjoyable to have your meal in their patio area near the fountains downtown.
Uncle Yu's at the Vineyard, 39 South Livermore Ave., Livermore. 925-449-7000; Sun - Thurs 11 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.; Fri and Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m.