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Club Life

Sino Restaurant And Lounge
377 Santana Row, Suite 1000, San Jose
408.247.8880; www.sinorestaurant.com

By Jim Harrington

Hours: Sun-Tue 11am-10pm; Wed-Sat 11am-midnight
Amenities: Full bar, TVs, outdoor seating

SINO RESTAURANT and Lounge is so vastly unlike just about any other Chinese spot in these parts. As one would expect with Chris Yeo, the man responsible for Straits Cafe, this is a true dining destination that serves the likes of lobster and fresh fruit salad in a creamy miso dressing and Mongolian grilled rib-eye steak. The presentations can be quite breathtaking.

The large bar area matches the cuisine in both flare and drama. Located at the front of the restaurant, with sidewalk tables on two sides, the bar is dominated by what might be the single most unusual seating arrangement in town. Folks nosh on small plates and sip fancy cocktails while seated on long backless red couches that spell out the restaurant's name in all capital letters. Those who don't want to be cradled in the crook of an "S" can simply cozy up to the huge bar and watch bartenders conjure up crazy Cosmo concoctions.

The scene is so opposite from what one has to come to expect from Chinese restaurants in the area, much in the same way that the nearby Blowfish is different from other local sushi spots, that one can almost lose sight of the fact that one is still in the South Bay. It feels like a place that should be in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, South Beach or Manhattan. It's like at any moment the cast from Sex and the City might walk in to enjoy a round or two of drinks and pick up on the waitstaff.

Try one of the numbers from the "Elements" collection such as Water (gold dark rum and Licor 43 served with fresh pineapple) or Wind (a mojitolike creation with apple vodka, Thai basil and fresh lime). There's also the "Good Fortune Margarita Collection," which offers such un-Jimmy-Buffett-like mixes as Luck (tequila blended with white peach purée and fresh sweet and sour) and Serenity (tequila shaken with pink guava purée).

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From the October 26-November 1, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2005 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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