Peking Duck Restaurant in Palo Alto
I had driven by Peking Duck Restaurant at 2310 El Camino Real in Palo Alto dozens of times without ever thinking about stopping there since I don't recall that restaurant ever being brought up in Chowhound discussions of palatable Chinese food in the Palo Alto area. However forced by circumstance to eat quickly in the vicinity of the Stanford campus we decided to give it a shot, and ended up being very pleasantly surprised. Not having enough time or diners to spring for the Peking Duck, we tried the mock duck which turned out to be quite different from the normal rendition and excellently done. Instead of being a cold dish, it was cooked, with the outer layer of tofu deep fried to replicate real duck skin. Definitely a real winner. We also had the Singapore style curry chow fun, made just like Singapore mei fun, but with the thick noodle instead. Not commonly found in Chinese restaurants, this was also quite good. (Of course, you can't find Singapore style noodles in Singapore, but that's a different story.) And the most interesting note of all is that all of the diners in the restaurant were Chinese. This is definitely worth a follow up visit.
Any idea if the actual Peking Duck is served with steamed buns or if they use some sort of tortilla like skin for wrapping (with the usual hoisin sauce and green onion bits)?
The Singapore Style chow fun is called Chow Gwai Dieu. It is really not that hard for most restaurants to make and just because it is not on the regular menu does not mean they will not make it upon request. Most Cantonese restaurants, if they are willing to serve fried rice or noodles, will gladly take custom orders if within reason.
I'm a huge fan of Peking Duck; I think it is among the most underrated Asian restaurants on the peninsula. Food presentation and service are terrific and, as an Anglo, I don't feel like I am missing something by not being able to read the Chinese versions of the menus. Staff has always been more than helpful in explaining the nuances. The seafood dishes are in my opinion, the highlight. Scallops, prawns, and even the calamari are uniformly fresh. My favorites here are the duck (carved nicely near your table), a dish called "assorted seafood with crispy noodles) which contains generous portions of prawns, scallop, squid, and baby bok choy, and the 3 types of chicken dish on the chef's special page. Soups are good; only disappointment has been the chow-mein type dishes where the noodles were too gummy for my taste.