Oriental Tea House (San Leandro, CA) - Dim Sum
After the great dim sum experience at East Ocean in Alameda, I've been trying to locate a similar calibre dim sum restaurant closer to the Castro Valley/Hayward area. My girl friend's family eats at the Oriental Tea House almost every Saturday, so I had high hopes about it (on MacArthur Blvd right off of 580). . . dashed.
We stopped by a bit after the lunch rush, so maybe that's the source of the glitch, but first off, NO steam/push carts? I know I'm a complete neophyte about this whole dim sum thing, but I love picking and choosing from the dishes that pass my way. Especially, as I haven't a clue about what's fun and flavorful. Instead, we were given a typed list of the dishes offered and a pencil to mark our choices. Is this typical?
Well, I got over my total intimidation factor (this being only my second time AND I was only with my 13 year old niece so I had no back up there). We ordered the sui mai(1.60/plate), the steamed BBQ pork buns (1.60/plate), the steamed Spareribs in black bean sauce (1.60/plate), the egg rolls (1.60/plate), shrimp dumplings (2.50/plate), pot stickers (2.50/plate) and sponge cake (1.60/plate). All of the dishes came out either cold, or old, or both. To make matters worse, we couldn't help looking around and seeing lots of good looking food -- steaming plates, bright veggies & more unusual choices -- and very happy diners around the rest of the large room.
The meal was only 14.00 without tip, but I wouldn't come back. At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, could the rotten food (and bad service to boot) have been because my niece and I are not Asian? Or did my pathetically uninspired food choices kill the deal. Or both?
Any other suggestions about where to find some fabulous dim sum east of Oakland? I appreciate any thoughts.
Yea, OTH gets pretty busy on Saturdays and service is very sub-par when it's busy and even wrost after the lunch rush. It is one of two dim sum places you can go if you live in Hayward, San Leandro, San Larenzo and Oak Knoll area. Also, you have to be super sharp eating at OTH, when the new items comes out you quickly flag the server down or else you will bite the dust.
There is another place, East Village Seafood Restaurant. 14736 E 14th St San Leandro. It's probably closer than OTH from Castro Valley. This place also gets pretty busy on weekends, so try to go there early. It's not a push cart system, it's order from a list of paper menu (where you check things off). The place is cleaner than OTH and it's a little bit better food wise.
I think there are a few more choices that should be good to outstanding. All the places below should have pushcarts, call ahead to make sure.
The sauce: have you tried these places ?
I tried Hong Kong before and it was tasty IIRC.
DAIMO in San Leandro should be decent at least. Search the net for reviews.
If you're willing to go south a bit, in Union City inside the Marina shopping complex (Decoto) is a good sized dimsum restaurant that is also authentic and more than decent. Complete with pushcarts, etc.
I'm not clear -- did you go on a Saturday, or on a weekday? Lots of places that have carts on weekends only have check-menus on weekdays.
I usually find that when you order off a check menu you get your dishes fresh and hot from the kitchen. If this was a weekday and not during the lunch rush, though, they may have sent out some stuff that have been prepared in advance. That's not an excuse -- there is no excuse for cold, "old" food -- but maybe explains why your experience was different from your friend's. It's also possible you got the "gringo treatment" -- I suspect most Chinese diners served the food you were served would have sent it back, and they may have counted on the fact that you wouldn't.
I agree with theSauce. I've been to Oriental Tea House. Yuck. Food is overly greasy and just has a slight aftertaste that tells me not to eat there anymore. I go to East Village if I'm not willing to go to Oakland chinatown to get some dim sum. Little cleaner and tastes better.
If you get cold food off the checkoff menu definitely send it back. Check off menu is there for a purpose. It gives them an exact count on who wants what and it shouldn't be just sitting there waiting for someone to eat it like carts.
I've had New Hong Kong on mission, but that was a few years ago. Last time was ok, it's not the great, but I'd still eat that over OTH. I've also been to the one in Union City Marina shopping center which is probably better than all 3 places listed. It's too far to visit for me when it'd be the same distance to oakland so I don't visit often.
Next up is East Ocean in Alameda though. I've only seen good posts from everyone here.