After 24 years as a fixture in Kearny Mesa, the landmark Emerald Chinese Seafood Restaurant is undergoing a major refresh and rebranding. Now called Emerald Chinese Cuisine, the eatery is halfway through a top-to-bottom remodel that should be fully completed by August.
Owner Susan Lew says the revamp is inspired by her frequent travels to Asian cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai and observing trends in dining and design. One change coming soon is all day dim sum; though dim sum isn't traditionally served into the evening, Lew says it aligns with the current popularity of small, sharable plates. Emerald is also switching from cart service in favor of a dim sum menu, so that every dish will be made fresh to order. She also plans on refining and streamlining their extensive dinner menu — adding more Chinese regional cuisine, healthier items and dishes that incorporate seasonal ingredients or flavors from other cultures.
Emerald's entryway will shift slightly, opening into a new bar and lounge area that blends modern and traditional Asian style and holds a mix of communal seating and booths. The bar will have its own menu of snacks and appetizers and offer happy hour deals on craft beer, wine and cocktails. In the main dining room, there will be new ceilings, floors and fresh furniture. Lew says that after Emerald's remodel is finished, she'll turn her attention to her other restaurant, Pearl, in Rancho Bernardo; expect more outdoor seating and an updated menu that also includes all day dim sum.