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Aug 19, 2006 04:07 AM

Peking Duck in S.F. for a bachelor party group -- YUET LEE, HING LUNG OR MANDARIN?

Looking for great Peking Duck for night of my bachelor party on Saturday, Sept. 03 (Labor Day weekend). The quality of the duck is the most important thing, followed by service, price, and atmosphere in order of importance.

Price is not a *big* concern, but we don't want somewhere REALLY pricey. Looking at the menu for "Mandarin" (in Ghirardelli Square) it's pricier than others I've seen but not out of our range.

So I've heard Yuet Lee and Hing Lung both offer great food, both in Chinatown and both authentic and cheap, but the decor and atmosphere are also cheap? (and Yuet Lee may not offer peking duck?) So might not be too impressive for my once-in-a-lifetime bachelor party with old friends coming in out of town? But hey if the food's amazing that's what matters most.

And Mandarin apparently has great peking duck (but maybe not much great else on the menu?) and great views? But also in "tourist trap" Ghirardelli Square on a holiday weekend...

What do you all think? Or do you recommend another restaurant for Peking Duck? Thanks!

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  1. I've not heard of Yuet Lee offering Peking duck though they might. You should be aware that it is cash only, and the bachelor party celebrants might need to wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from the glaring bright lights and even more glaring bright green paint. Hing Lung's menu is huge, but only a few of the dishes are worth eating, e.g., jook. The staff are rather surly and get even more so as the night wears on.

    1. How many in your party?
      And also, pardon for asking, are they of Chinese heritage or not?

      A traditional way to have Peking duck is "three ways' -- first, the skin and pancakes, then the meat in a stir-fry, then a soup from the bones. But some Caucasians (non-chowhound) are repelled by duck skin and will pass on the first course in such a traditional setting (I've seen it happen). They also are not happy about a soup with bones in it.

      If it is served in one course, in pieces with skin and meat together, the fastidious will remove and discard the skin from their piece and happily eat the meat.

      For a bachelor party, you want a place with a private room. Usually there is a minimum charge for such an event (I think we were quoted $300 - $500 minimum for a private room, not too bad if you have thirty people).

      We've had fun at Louie's California Chinese on Washington street. They have three semi-private rooms, each seats 10-12, and they can be linked together for a party of up to 30 or so. They make excellent duck and other foods.

      Great Eastern is a reliable place, but their private room has a steep minimum -- not an extra charge, as I recall, just a minimum.

      Post a reply with more details about size of party and nature of attendees. Also how much you want to spend per person, excluding alcohol. Most places will let you bring in your own liquor (for a fee).

      5 Replies
      1. re: Joel

        I second Louie's. It's exactly what you're looking for.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Louie's sounds fun, I will call and inquire about private rooms. My hunch from user reviews on is that the food is probably fine for caucasians like us who don't have as strong a palette for Chinese food? I'm a lover of Chinese food, use chopsticks and have eaten it all my life, but I'm not necessarily a "connoisseur," ya know? Not going to be comparing it to whta my grandma made. But the key is the peking duck -- are they known for it there? I want it to be GREATTTT!

        2. re: Joel

          We are not of Asian descent, all Caucasian. But the idea of eating the crispy skin first intrigues me, I'm up for it and won't be skimping on calories that night! Renting a private room is probably out of our price range, at least if it requires a separate room fee. There will probably be 8 guys, so $3-$400 for the meal is not too much to ask, but I'd like it to be fantastic to pay that much. Honestly I haven't thought too much about money, just know that big extras like a room rental fee are probably out of our range, I don't want to ask my brothers and friends to fork over too much. I was hoping they could spend $40-70 each on the night and that includes dinner, drinks out and Bart. Maybe that's unrealistic?

          1. re: Hubby2Be

            I would check out Empress of China. They have great Peking Duck and a VIP room with a view of Coit Tower. Eight people could handle a whole duck, and I think you could get a full banquet table for a good price. Just call and tell the mgr your needs, and work out a menu.

            1. re: Hubby2Be

              There's no separate room fee at Louie's. I haven't had their Peking duck, but their tea-smoked duck, which is very similar, is excellent.

              You should be able to have a banquet there for well under $300. Now that the search engine is working, I suggest you do a search: there are lots of reports on meals there.

          2. I'd skip Hing Lung. The last time I was there their quality had gone down and it has the feeling of a "hole in the wall." While it is good for jook (rice porridge), it probably doesn't have the right feeling you're looking for when celebrating a bachelor's party. I'd look elsewhere for Peking duck