koi palace-flavorless crab
after catching a movie at the daly city century 20, a friend and I decided to try out koi palace tonight. we ended up ordering a peking duck special, which came with shanghai dumplings, duck three ways, steamed catfish, garlic crab, and "fruit platter." which means "segments of navel orange," although they were sweet and juicy.
now, a place like koi palace, which features its seafood tanks at the entrance to the restaurant, should know a thing or two about cooking crab. but the crab we got was kind of overcooked and it simply had no flavor. the sauce was tasty, and the bundles of glass noodles soaking it up were real treats, but the flesh of the crab had no flavor and was dried out.
the peking duck had nice, crispy, glossy skin. and the soup made with the carcass and chinese mustard had deep flavor. my favorite was the third preparation of duck meat braised with deep fried tofu. the tofu was silken, and the dish had piles of cooked scallions. i wished they had used chinese chives, instead. the shanghai dumplings were fairly tasty, and did have some juice inside the wrappers, but i'd rather order these at shanghai restaurants. the steamed catfish was okay. i like catfish but this one tasted slightly more muddy than i prefer, but it was tender, not mushy.
so i enjoyed my dinner very much, and my friend and i put a good dent in all that food. the waiter tried to dissuade us from ordering that much. but that crab was so disappointing. it had none of the sweetness i love in dungeness crab. it was dried out and tasteless. i was eyeing the next tables seafood hotpot ingredients jealously. at least you can cook those yourself to your liking. in fact, we were talking of rounding up a group and going back just for hotpot.
I had amazing king crab two ways at Koi Palace 2 weeks ago. The legs were fried and the body was steamed with garlic and those excellent clear noodles that you mention. Neither the fried nor the steamed portions of the crab were overcoooked. The live steamed baby abalone were also perfectly steamed and succulent. In the dozen or so times I've been, Koi Palace has never misfired or overcooked their seafood. Sorry to hear about your unusual experience.