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Dim Sum (again) - First time in SF and dying to try the best!

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  • Ken Apr 15, 2001 10:59 PM
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I'm from Montreal where our chinatown is about 4 blocks small. We have pretty good dim sum places, I think, and from what people tell me. I will be in Mountainview CA on business for a couple of weeks and am looking forward to trying some the GREAT dim sum of SF. Looking for suggestions in and around Mountainview, SF, San Jose and/or Roseville.

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  1. I have finally found the perfect Dim Sum tea house. Ocean Restaurant - 726 Clement between 9th and 10th avenues. It was absolutely delicious and shockingly cheap!! Plates were either $1.50, $2.50 or $3.50 and most dishes came with 4 pieces as opposed to 3. The shrimp har gow (my favorite) were on the larger side with nice size shrimp inside. We also had deep fried steamed leek dumplings which were lovely! The bbq pork buns were small-ish and extremely light and fluffy - this is something I usually don't order because they're too big & filling, but these were perfect. We had several plates of seafood dumplings, pork shu mei, bbq pork in rice noodle, the chinese broccoli - which was served hot unlike Yank Sing, and the roast duck - which didn't come with buns, but was a generous portion and very juicy and delicious. Our total bill for 3 persons and two Tsing Tao's was $31.00 including tax!! I usually pay that for *myself* at Yank Sing (sans beer) and this food was better (IMHO). For those of you who enjoy the more "exotic" dim sum ie: chicken feet, pork intestine etc.. They have all those items too. The regular non-dim sum items looked fabulous as well. I can't wait to go back for the Chow Fun etc...

    Now the other thing about Ocean is that they don't do carts, and you may have to share a table as I did - which was totally fun as we could see what our table mates were enjoying as well... You simply fill out the form from the waiter and they bring your dim sum little by little. It was a great lunch!! I'm curious if any other Chow Hounds have been??

    2 Replies
    1. re: Phoebe

      I haven't been to Ocean for dim sum in a while, but it is a good place. From what I remember, the repeitoire is not as broad as some of the other places mentioned on this board - the entire menu has about 30 items maybe?

      Melanie, if you're listening - re: your post on lunch in on/near Geary, this would also be a good place for lunch.

      1. re: Phoebe

        Thanks a bunch, Phoebe! I didn't know that Ocean served dim sum. When Ocean first came on the scene some 20 years ago it was THE hot Cantonese restaurant. HK style seafood was a novelty then. It's probably been 3 years or so since I've had dinner there, and will check it out for lunch some time soon.

        The roast duck (sans buns) that you tried was probably a Cantonese-style bbq duck. These do not have the ultra-crackly skin of the Peking roast duck. What they do have is much juicier flesh and more complex seasoning for added flavor, not needing other accompaniments, although some will still use a little apricot dipping sauce.

        Fwiw, about 15 years ago, one of the cooks from Ocean moved to Salinas and opened a small restaurant. It was always packed and the locals ate very well for a couple years. However, they picked up shop and moved back the Bay Area. Trying to get all the ingredients they needed at that time necessitated twice weekly trips to SF and it became too difficult for their family.

      2. Down where you will be I would say that Joy Luck Place, 10911 N. Wolfe Rd., Cupertino might be your best bet. It's in a large shopping center, so don't let the street address confuse you.

        1. s
          steve drucker

          Seafood Harbor in Millbrae, no more than ten minutes from the airport. We try to schedule our arrival from the east coast at about 10:30AM, so we can go right there at 11:00 when they open.

          Use the chowhound search feature to find many postings about Seafood Harbor.

          Don't, whatever you do, miss the the sharkfin soup.

          9 Replies
          1. re: steve drucker

            Ah hah! You're back already. Have you noticed that you, Jim and I are the only ones who talk about Seafood Harbor? This seems to be one of those places that just doesn't get any buzz. It's in the right neighborhood, it's plenty popular, and the food is really, really good. But none of the mainstream press have picked up on it, and we're the only chowhounds who rave about it. Doesn't make any sense to me.

            And to clarify, the sharks fin soup were talking about is encased in a dumpling and bathed in a clear double-boiled style broth. Wouldn't want anyone to get stuck with a $40 per person serving of sharks fin soup.

            1. re: Melanie Wong
              &
              "Fine"

              Am I alone in reading about and caring that sharks have become endagered primarily because of the extraordinarily cruel and species-depleting means of obtaining the fins for this "delicacy"?

              1. re: "Fine"

                No, you are by no means alone...it's been oft-mentioned.

                But while eating such foods requires individual moral decisions, my feeling is that DISCUSSION of eating such things (preferably but not necessarily including an aside about the background) isn't morally objectionable.

                The pork bellies market on the Chicago commodities exchange is dominated by orthodox Jews.

                ciao

                1. re: Jim Leff
                  &
                  "Fine"

                  Sorry--A relationship between killing off the shark population and the putative hypocricy of a few individuals seems a bit of a stretch!

                  1. re: "Fine"

                    No, you've missed my point, which was that it's NOT hypocrisy. The sin is ONLY in the eating.

              2. re: Melanie Wong
                s
                Steve Drucker

                I rave about Seafood Harbor because I've benefited from the strong Cantonese community here in Atlanta.

                Places like Seafood Harbor fill me with awe, especially the sharks fin soup which, as I have previously mentioned, evokes the spirits of 10,000 grandmothers. I only hope as many of us as possible get a chance to try it.

                Meanwhile, I'll be back in SFO for two days later this week (3rd time in six months), hoping to find a no BS Italian place within our paltry startup company budget (about $40 per person with wine and tip) I like near as much as so many I've found in Chicago.

                I'm not being parochial here, its just that our Marketing Manager thinks that there are only 3 kinds of restaurants: Italian,Italian and Italian, and gets childishly grumpy if he doesn't get his pasta with tomatoes and basil on a regular schedule.

                Our orbit this visit runs from 5th and Mission to Japantown, except I think we will have a rental car. So we can afford Le Charm one night, now I need a decent n'hood Italian for the other night.

                btw-we tried Original Joe's in the Tenderloin back in Feb. We must have ordered the wrong things. Lots of quantity, not such great quality. But the atmosphere and staff were great--a place we really wanted to like! Maybe we should have ordered some of the grilled meats instead of the baked sea bass and the pasta.

              3. re: steve drucker

                Thanks, all. Looks like we can't go wrong if we gave Sea Harbor a try. We will be arriving on a Sunday at about noon. Once we get our luggage, rental car and finally find our way out of the airport, it will probably be closer to 1PM. Is that too late? How late do they serve dim sum there? We probably won't mind having a late lunch/early dinner if the dim sum is still available. How long of a wait is it there at 1PM? (By the way, what does SFO mean?).

                1. re: Ken

                  Hi Ken,

                  I just posted a message below all of this, and if you find yourselves passing by Sacramento around lunch or dinner time, you might want to scout out one of the places I mentioned.

                  "SFO" is the international airline abbreviation for San Francisco International Airport. When you look at your baggage claim ticket, it will all make sense.

                  I'm sure that somebody in this wonderful group of posters can offer a more technical explanation for "SFO".

                  Yoroshiku,
                  Andy

                  1. re: Ken

                    On Sundays (which is the busiest time), arriving at 1pm should not be too late. There are two other very good dim sum houses within a block or two of Seafood Harbor --- Hong Kong Flower Lounge and Fook Yuen. If you have multiple people in your party and cell phones, you could fan out and put your name on the list at each and see which one can seat you first. That's what the Chinese families do.

                2. i haven't been to seafood harbor yet, but koi palace in daly city is the best i've been to out here so far.

                  1. Hi Ken,

                    When you mention "Roseville", are you talking about the Roseville that is in Placer County,(just north of Sacramento, and Sacramento County)?

                    I'm not sure if you can find the type of dim sum in Roseville that you REALLY want. But, when I was home last October, I went to the movies at the big Century 14 on Eureka Road, and noticed a new restaurant being opened across the street. I was told that it is a new Chinese place, brought to us by the folks that run Frank Fat's, and Fat City, in Sacramento. While I don't know if they are serving dim sum, the quality of the food at their other restaurants has, IMHO, been top notch.

                    Frank Fat's, (806 L St. ph 916-442-7092) has probably the best Chinese food in Sacramento. The sang gai shee chow mein is really, really excellent. So is the brandy fried chicken, which is one of their signature dishes. Well worth the 30 minute drive from Roseville.

                    Due to it's proximity to the California statehouse, and because so many legistators, administrators, and lobbyists frequent the place, it is affectionately known as the "Second Capital of California".

                    You may want to ask your folk in Roseville about the new place, and if it pans out, please post your findings!

                    Now, for the dim sum place to find in the general Sacramento/Roseville area: Capital Tea Garden (1110 T. St. Sacramento, ph 916-448-1218). I've been to this place twice. Since it is was introduced to me by, and frequented by an ex-girlfriend, and we couldn't reach an amicable agreement on visiting hours...oh well.

                    Don't let the exterior or interior appearance of the place turn you off. The food is so good, that it will make you forget your surroundings. Please try the har gow, and su mi. They do them up good.

                    BTW, if you aren't talking about the same Roseville as I am, forget all of the above.

                    Yoroshiku,
                    Andy

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Andy P.

                      Thanks, Andy. Yes, I believe it is the same Roseville. I was told it was close to the Sacramento airport. I will let you know what happens.

                      1. re: Andy P.

                        I've been to Frank Fat's and the Chinese food is too Americanized for me. I think any number of places in the Chinese commericial area on Stockton Blvd. are much better.

                        1. re: Chandavkl

                          I'm with you on Frank Fat's. Once met one of the next generation at a chef's tasting in Sonoma County. He was surprised that I'd heard of their restaurants being from outside the area.

                      2. Roseville is a bit east of Sacramento up I-80. Not familiar with that area. However, I've had dim sum at Rice Bowl Restaurant in Sacramento's south area and at King's Chinese Restaurant in West Sacramento. I liked Rice Bowl's dim sum and understand it's probably the best in the Sacramento area. King's was good too and for off the beaten path, I was amazed at how many families showed up in the weekend lunchtime crowd. I've only visited either restaurant on weekends so not sure if they serve at other times.