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Lotsa lobster & dim sum @ Ocean Restaurant on Clement in SF

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To celebrate a nice run of business in the past 2 months, my sales assistant and I today made the trek to Clement from our offices on The Embarcadero. Our destination was lunch at Ocean Restaurant (726 Clement St.). Our goal was to eat a lot and eat well. Mission accomplished on all fronts.

Ocean has been discussed on several occasions here on the SFBA board for its lobster specials, and my asst. and I had partaken of the lobster lo mein lunch special some months ago. Though both he and I can pack away a good amount of grub when we're starving, we also realized on our last visit that it didn't make a whole lot of sense for both of us to order the lo mein special. We needed to keep some stomach space available for the dim sum!!

So here's what we ended up devouring:

1) Lobster lo mein ($9.95) - we split an order. Plenty of egg noodles and an OK amount of lobster. Gravy is thin but adds just enough flavor to complement both the noodles and lobster.

2) 2 lobsters special ($17.99) - my asst. and I agree that you can never have too much lobster. Same gravy sauce as used in the lo mein, with the odd piece of green onion for a slight contrast in flavor. I counted 2 heads, but didn't do a detailed accounting of whether we got the full complement of tails and claws. We were too busy scarfing this up.

3) Dim sum (varying prices, but all in the $2-$3 range) - all dim sum is pre-ordered and brought out to you. Steamed spare ribs were decent (Ocean's ribs aren't as tender or fatty as other places and also have the bones still attached). Ha gow were excellent, with plump shrimp and little in the way of other filler to detract from the excellent rice wrappers. Shrimp & scallop dumplings were OK, with the consistency of the filling more of a shrimp ball with scallop bits. Siu mai were tasty, though Ocean's style is more of a pork dumpling rather than a mixture of pork and shrimp. Sweet rice with chicken in lotus leaves (I think that was the title on the menu) were unremarkable. Only 2 came to the order, the rice was a bit too dry and the fillings weren't abundant enough.

Overall, another excellent lunch excursion to Ocean. Total before tip was $43.50 (we drank tea and water). Service was functional (although I had to chuckle when the server remarked "wow, you guys are having a lot of lobster" when she took our order), though requests for water refills, extra napkins and a fork (my asst. is not particularly adept with chopsticks) were filled fairly expediently.

Joe Bob says check it out!

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  1. Thanks for the report, Eugene. Looks like they still have that lobster special that my family had recently: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    We counted two heads and tails each, but I'm not sure about the rest either. It was a generous enough portion such that we didn't need to nitpick.

    I assume you had dim sum during the week? Do you know exactly when they serve it? Thanks!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Carb Lover

      AFAIK, they serve the full dim sum menu for lunch 7 days a week (or every day they're open). They do have a dim sum menu available at dinnertime, but the prices appear to be higher and the selection is probably not as extensive.

    2. That's so funny. Faked me out when you wrote that it didn't make sense to order two lobster lo meins, which sounded not terribly celebratory. Then you end up with THREE lobsters for the two of you. Congrats!

      1. I had the lobster lo mein this week which was quite good, with surprisingly plentiful lobster..good sauce and chewy noodles (which I enjoyed as much that night for dinner)
        Small quirk...they bring you tea and then charge you for it...(not special tea, but good ordinary tea)...didn't ask whether I wanted tea (I did)..but there was the charge on the bill...as I say a quirk..I'll definitely go back..maybe I'll have the double lobster special all to myself! Shades of Maine!!!

        6 Replies
        1. re: ChowFun_derek

          Hmm, never realized they charged for tea. Not a big issue for most, considering how inexpensive everything else is.

          Some further details to add:

          1) The dim sum actually showed up after the lo mein (first) and lobsters (next). Kinda leads me to believe/hope that they may have prepared these to order and steamed, rather than sitting around in steam baskets waiting to be ordered. The dim sum certainly tasted fresher than dim sum you get in CTown/Clement St. bakeries (esp. noticeable with the texture/softness of the rice wrappers). Also, all the dumplings came 4 to an order and were of decent size.

          2) I'd heartily recommend getting both the lobster lo mein as well as the lobsters special (unless you're eating alone). The lobster meshed really well with the lo mein, whereas from past dinners there I noticed that the lobsters paired with plain steamed rice were not quite as tasty.

          I'm already planning to take a client or two back there for lunch....... =-D

          1. re: Eugene Park

            That was my feeling exactly...I certainly wasn't bothered much by it...when you go back..perhaps I'll see you there!! I'm definitely on a lobster jag now........I wonder if their other entrees rise to the level of their lobster....

          2. re: ChowFun_derek

            Lobster lo mein leftovers have more lobster flavor as it soaks up all that goodness. I cannot decide if the leftovers are better the second time around or if fresh is best, both versions are sumptuous. That 2 Lobster Special for $18 is a better deal than a lobster roll at OPLS or Woodhouse Fish, right? Mo' lobster.

            1. re: Cynsa

              Not having yet ventured to either OPLS or Woodhouse, I'll still daresay that the $18 for 2 lobsters deal at Ocean trumps those places. The platter the lobster pieces are served on is large, and the pile of succulent lobster pieces is sizable. I'd estimate the lobsters at at least 1 pound each. Unless OPLS or WF is providing the meat from a 2 pound lobster in their entrees, Ocean is definitely providing better bang for the buck.

              And I'm all for mo' lobster..... =-D

            2. re: ChowFun_derek

              Dim sum tea houses charge for tea. Not a quirk but SOP. It's noted on the check-off menu at Ocean.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Ah..but I didn't have dim sum, and it may also be mentioned on their main menu...which I also didn't see...'cause I ordered my lobster feast from the specials on the wall!
                I don't see it as a "Dim Sum" place, but a restaurant that ALSO serves dim sum..we never tried it out in our Dim Sum war....now if there are other places that offer lobster specials...I think we should do a 'lobster war'!!!
                I volunteer to be on the front lines!

            3. Lobster and dim sum, what a perfect meal!

              1. Maybe I didn't read carefully enough, but I don't remember seeing anything in the posts above about when this "Lobster Special" ends... is this something that Ocean has all the time???

                4 Replies
                1. re: RWCFoodie

                  It's been available every time I've been there, which tends to be week days. The lobster specials are posted on a sign on the sidewalk and inside the restaurant.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Ocean will have their lobster specials until their source for relatively inexpensive lobsters dries up (which will hopefully be never). I was there again this past Wednesday with my manager and one of my clients, and we once again scarfed down lobster lo mein's as well as the 2 lobsters in ginger sauce special (and mo' dim sum). 2 of the 3 people from my client were Cantonese, and they both agreed that the lobsters, lo mein and dim sum were as good as they've had in the Bay Area. Bill for 5 of us came to $85 with tip, and it took some considerable effort on the part of everyone to polish off everything since I overordered...... =-D

                    1. re: Eugene Park

                      Just wondering if you've started to turn a bit coral pink from all the lobster...

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Melanie, you better hope I have rubber bands around my claws.....er hands, lest I be in a pinchish mood next time I see you..... ;-D