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Best Cumin Lamb dish within a 60 mile radius of SF

Anyone had some excellent chinese style cumin lamb lately?

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  1. Oh man, how funny. I just drove by the Ark on Park St in Alameda thinking how awe-inspiring the cumin lamb had been two years ago.

    It opened as a really interesting northern Chinese place-- the cook had a lot of training and there were quite a few dishes that stretched the reigning Cantonese menu sensibility. That's when I went a time or two. Later there were some renaming issues, a banner or two proclaiming this or that, and my thought was that the menu had been too exploratory for the area.

    Today it seemed as if nothing had changed; the sign looked the same, no banners obscuring it. Had me wondering just what was going on there.

    Anyway, if you go. please report back.

    1. I haven't been in a few months, but I love the cumin lamb at China Village in Albany...

      4 Replies
      1. re: susancinsf

        I'll second China Village. That is one of my favorite dishes and they do it best at CV, IMO. I recently had the dish at Zone 88 on San Bruno Ave as well. It wasn't bad at all, but it wasn't not up to China Village standards either.

        1. re: Civil Bear

          I third China Village. I also liked the cumin lamb at Spices! 3 in Oakland's Chinatown.

          1. re: coolbean98

            I fourth(?) China Village. Run, do not walk, to try their Village Lamb...

            1. re: a_and_w

              I'll go for a fifth....
              Love it at China Village. Hmmmm.... maybe we'd better make a pilgrimage over there soon.....

      2. Spices I on Clement and 6th (the smaller of the two Spices; bigger one on Clement and 8th). I think they call it the nomadic lamb hot pot, but make sure with the waitress that it's the cumin lamb. Usually, you can smell it as soon as you walk into the restaurant because everyone's eating it. It's highly addictive.

        1. I've been back twice in the past week to try Ark's menu post- Jimmy Zhang. The menu has been expanded with more Cantonese dishes, but the northern dishes are still there, mostly under the Chef's Specials. The cumin lamb was very good and not so spicy that my daughter couldn't enjoy it. For those who like it hotter, be sure to tell the waitress to up the spice level. Other things that are still good--crispy chicken wing sauteed with special sauce (aka ganpeng chicken wings), truly addicting; and the prawns on a stick with cumin spice. The little fried dumplings are not as tasty as I remembered, still fine but the filling is missing something. There was a special salt & pepper crab for $14.95 this past weekend, but the crab was not fresh enough.

          There are also lots of vegetarian dishes and jook, haven't tried those yet.

          2 Replies
          1. re: anli

            Thanks for the info, anli. I figured that some kind of change had occurred there. I seem to remember that Chef Zhang had himself all over the place in there, bio in the menu and so forth. Do you know what happened?

            1. re: essvee

              Yes, Jimmy Zhang moved to Utah to open a new restaurant. I posted about it here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/306439

          2. Try Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant it's a experience and very inexpensive. I have not been for a few years but had a great Lamb cumin dish and be sure to try their hot pot dishes.