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Dim Sum in San Rafael

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Speaking of dim sum - you can get it for cheap in a no-frills, no ambience restaurant in Marin. I eat there whenever I get the craving, which is frequently.

House of Lee
887 Fourth St.
San Rafael, CA
457-9977

Open 11:00 - 9:30

Most plates are $2.00 and they serve all day long. Tea you get for free. You order from a separate menu, and sometimes you have to specifically ask for it if they just give you the regular lunch or dinner menu.

There are 32 items on the menu, and comparing things to the dim sum official contest entries, we have the following.

-- Har gaw (steamed shrimp dumplings). These are simple, good. $2.20 for 4

-- shui mai (steamed pork balls with black mushroom)-- tasty, with a rather dense, rubbery texture. You could play ping pong with these. $2.00 for 4

-- Turnip cake with pork (pan fried). Maybe this isn't my thing, or maybe they don't do it so well. I'm not qualified to pass judgement. $1.80 for 3

-- Steamed spareribs with black bean sauce. This is one of my favorites. If you have a real hunger for those ribs, you can get them on the regular menu in chow fun format or at lunch as a rice plate. $2.00 for a small D-S bowl

-- Steamed chicken feet with black bean sauce. Call me culturally handicapped, but these are too extreme for me. $2.00

-- Noodle crepes with shrimp. Really good cold dish. $3.00 for 2. They also have a BBQ pork version which I like even better, a beef one, and a dry shrimp and green onion version. All $2.70 for 2

-- Deep fried taro balls (?) They have something they call "Deep fried shrimp and meat dumpling" It's one of my favorites - meat goodies enclosed in a chewy dough, shaped like small footballs, and fried giving it a crisp outside skin. $2.00 for 3

-- Egg custard tarts. Haven't tried them. $2.00 for 3
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Now for more favorites.

-- Good ole BBQ pork steamed buns. Very nice and light and traditional-tasting. Good for sopping up the juices from the spareribs. $2.00 for 3

-- Steamed beef balls. Large, tasty, light-textured (almost fluffy) meatballs. $2.00 for 3

-- Sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves with pork. I'm crazy for these. $2.00 for 2

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  1. warning -- for the past couple of weeks, House of Lee appears to be seriously short-handed, with ensuing slippage in service and food quality. I ordered some dim sum there yesterday and they seemed lacking in the usual finesse, and finesse is probably the main thing dim sum is all about.

    So now I recommend to give the place a little time to get back on it's feet before trying the offerings.

    1. OLD OLD thread! Has anyone been there recently? We're in Marina and Sonoma and are worrying that we may just not have time to get into the city for dim sum. Or any other places that you recommend?

      4 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        I have been recently, it's quite decent if you're in the area and need a fix. I like the crispy shrimp rice paper roll. Also the west lake soup. Xlb not great.

        1. re: barleywino

          Thanks. Is this for dim sum? I never get (any more) XLB at Cantonese places. It's mostly doomed.

          1. re: c oliver

            You were asking about dimsum, right? I do like the xlb at yank sing. For dinner at House of Lee, the steamed fish comes over tofu, which is a nice surprise.

            1. re: barleywino

              Yes or is that no :) I'm talking about dim sum only.

              Since XLB is Shanghainese and the dim sum we do is Cantonese, I've always been disappointed in the XLB in Cantonese places.

      2. Try Hang Ah in Santa Rosa, 2130 Armory Dr.

        2 Replies
        1. re: PeterL

          The same Hang Ah that is or was in the city? Since we're going from Sonoma to Corte Madera where the kids are, Santa Rosa seems like kinda a pain. But maybe next time. We've only got one more day here. Boo hoo.

          1. re: c oliver

            both the s.f. and santa rosa Hang Ah are runned by the same family.