Update on Café Yulong, Mountain View
William and I tried Café Yulong recently for the first time. It has a very pleasant, contemporary feeling. We tried a couple things that Dee Glaze recommended and also tried to break new ground to sample a couple other dishes. Sad to say, we didnt do so well on our own.
The most disappointing, and also on the pricey side, was the gan shao lamb, $10.95. Supposedly sautéed, this grayish-looking wet meat had no flavor of a hot wok or the spiciness promised by the symbol of a chili pepper on the menu. It reeked of black pepper and an out of place sweetness, and not much else aroma or flavor.
The spicy chao ma noodle soup, $6.75, was also a failure. Decent housemade noodles, but the dilute broth was washed out with but a single chili heat note and the seafood was dried out and overcooked.
The stir-fried spinach and mung bean thread, $6.50, was almost acceptable, and the leftovers went home with my brother to be salvaged with some condiments. Even though the spinach looked beautiful and was as fresh as can be, it was underseasoned and standing in watery liquid. The menu describes this as sautéed with garlic wine sauce, and we could see the garlic pieces, but not taste it. The bean threads were perfect in texture, but flavorless since there was no tasty sauce to absorb.
But we could almost forgive those lapses because we LOVED the fish and leek dumplings (12/$5.95) so much. Hard to believe that these delicate morsels came from the same kitchen as the other dishes. Finely textured chopped white fish blended with ginger and chives was exactly on point in flavor. These shui jiao were not doughy or overly thick and the tender wrappers almost melted in the mouth. Were already plotting our return to try the shrimp ones and the pork version.
743 W. Dana St.
Dee Glazes post
Congratulations Melanie, on finding the best dumpling that I've tasted in the bay area. I've been wanting to do a full review of all the dishes, including the dumplings but obviously have not had time to do so.
Both the fish and shrimp versions of the dumplings are very good, with fish being especially excellent since it is rarely found in other Korean-Chinese restaurants.
As you've noted, dumplings are their best items which I've tried so far. The Chao Ma Mian is not very good. The Zha Jiang Mian is good, but the sauce is not very traditional. However, the owners are from Shandong, so the flavor still resembles pretty closely.
Hey Mr. Tan, wonder if you could explain what gan shao lamb is supposed to be like. I assume the version we were served was not good, at least we didn't like it.
Glad to hear the shrimp dumplings are also very good. Have you had the pork ones? Actually, William and I thought we'd go back and just order the three different kinds of shui jiao (boiled dumplings) for dinner.
Thanks mel! Been looking for a dumpling place in Mountain View. However, the Chao Ma Mien issue is still unresovled. Can you believe the best Chao Ma Mien I've had was in Rancho Cucamonga, CA? There are actually 2 restaurants in that middle-of-nowhere town that do hand-pulled noodles with a very flavorful, spicy seafood broth! I know Dar Dar has thick shaved noodles but it's either that or the thin noodles and I don't find either as good as the thicker handmade ones. The broth is also just a touch subpar.
Any other recs for Chao Ma Mien?
Here's a link to our previous exchange about Queen House.
And, for Porthos, my favorite chao ma mian is at China Village in Albany. I think it's called something like Village special seafood noodle soup on the menu, but just ask for it by the Chinese name. The noodles are handshaved rather than pulled, but they're cut in narrower and thinner ribbons than anywhere else I've had them around here.
Don't know what your commute pattern is, but I've also had decent versions at Tong Soon Garden in Santa Clara and Chef Wangs in Los Altos. I've not been to Rancho Cucamonga so cannot compare . . . that's the second time Cucamonga has come up this week, a word I don't hear every day!