ROHNERT PARK (CBS SF) – After arriving as a child refugee from Vietnam in 1982 with brother Tu, Catherine grew up learning the restaurant business from her mother who worked long hours in a local Chinese restaurant. From the age of 14, she began spending her afternoons and summers working with her mom and expanding her knowledge of the restaurant business. By the age of 24, she co-founded and managed her first restaurant, Boathouse Sushi in Rohnert Park, with Tu Do and partner Hans Mogensen. The restaurant has recently re-located inside Graton Casino & Resort.READ MORE: COVID: Famed Cable Cars Return; San Francisco Rebounds From Pandemic Shutdown
Living in the heart of San Francisco, Catherine understands the local culture and attributes much of her success to her Asian immigrant background. Having experienced poverty as a young girl, she established a strong work ethic and generosity for others, enabling her to listen to her customers and respond to their desire for food that is healthy, gluten free, and ethically sourced.
Tu Do’s resume and work ethic is equally impressive. As a young lad he would run into the kitchen where his mother managed a Chinese restaurant and watch the chefs cook. Seeing the chefs toss ingredients with spices of star anise, cumin, and ginger intrigued him and, when the chefs splashed white wine onto the edge of the wok and tipped it so that it could catch fire, it would send him to the ceiling with excitement. That is how he came to fall in love with the art of cooking.
Wok cooking became his specialty and, in 1998, he opened his first Chinese restaurant in San Diego, CA. He then later sold the business and migrated to Sonoma County where he opened multiple Chinese restaurants.
In those early years, he would drive every other day to the produce markets in San Francisco or Oakland in order to handpick the freshest vegetables and spices. That was how he ensured the highest quality for his guest. Now, with over 20 years of restaurant experience, Tu is the guiding force behind the freshness and quality that comes out of Boathouse’s kitchen.
Today, Mr. Do oversees the back-of-house and kitchen operations in a sustainable manner. He is in charge of sourcing ethical ingredients from local food vendors such as free-range chicken and hormone free protein.
I met the dynamic brother and sister team Cat and Tu recently along with their Chef de cuisine Jake Rand. We talked about their challenging journey by boat from Vietnam to their rapid rise in the Bay Area restaurant industry with a focus on fun and innovation.
- Mumfresh Vietnamese Eatery, San Jose (quick serve)
- Boathouse Asian Noodles, Rohnert Park (quick serve)
- Boathouse Asian Eatery, Rohnert Park (full service)
- Boathouse Sushi Japanese Bistro, Santa Rosa (full service)
- Kettles Vietnamese Bistro, Santa Rosa (full service)
Treat yourself to dinner sometime soon at Boathouse Asian Eatery. Make no assumptions about this Casino located restaurant. It’s worth treking to Graton Resort for dinner alone but it would be rude to leave without dropping a few greens and rolling the dice. Boathouse Asian Eatery serves seriously good food by a team that are serious about making their diners happy. It does not disappoint. The BOATHOUSE menu reflects the greatest hits if you will of Cat and Tu’s five Bay Area restaurants, an eclectic mix of east Asian and Japanese cuisine. The BOATHOUSE sushi chef Miho Akasaka is a true sushi artist and pumps out artful sushi to order in record time.
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So many tasty things to order from the shared plates menu and here are my personal favorites:
From the wok Shaking beef and Kung pao chicken.
From the grill Korean short ribs and Pork belly skewers. One thing not to miss Whole Boathouse Lobster in a garlic & ginger soy sauce – a feast fit for a king or queen. Every diner that disembarks Boathouse feels like a winner, I know I did and left with a happy Buddah belly to boot.
Boathouse Asian Eatery Lobster
- Oyster Sauce 1 5# can
- Soy Sauce 46 oz.
- Fish Sauce 11 oz.
- Black mushroom soy sauce 10 oz.
- Bango sweet sauce 10 oz.
- Sesame oil 8 oz.
- Cooking wine 1.5 qt
- Ketchup 1/4 3# can
- Sugar 2 Qt
- Chicken base 12 oz
- Granulated garlic .5 cup
- Black pepper .5 cup
- Salt .5 cup
- Fresh garlic 6 tbl spn
- Fresh ginger 6 tbl spn
- Fresh shallot 6 tbl spn
Mix ingredients well, label, date & refrigerate.
- 2.5-3lbs lobster
- 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 2 oz. sliced ginger
- 6 oz. hot water
- 5 oz. lobster sauce
- 2 oz. green onion strips
Preparing The Dish:
- Crack lobster shells and deep fry for 5 min. or until flesh turns white. Set aside.
- Warm up work until hot then add vegetable oil.
- Add ginger until golden yellow.
- Add hot water.
- Add lobster sauce until it bubbles evenly.
- Add green onions.
- Toss in lobster and stir until evenly coated with sauce.
Reassemble lobster for a nice presentation and serve with shell cracker.
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