4/18 Chowdown @ Everyday Beijing in San Mateo
12 hungry CH'ers descended upon Everyday Beijing in San Mateo for a much-anticipated Chowdown tonight. After exchanging pleasantries and ordering food, we eagerly tucked into the following array of dishes:
Marinated slowly cooked pork (cold)
Marinated slowly cooked beef (cold)
Marinated slowly cooked beef cartilage (cold)
Bean curd strips (cold)
Thousand year old eggs & bean curd (cold)
Cucumber salad (cold)
Jing Dong pork cake
Radish lamb dumplings
Clay pot seafood
Beijing family style noodle soup
Beijing bean sauce noodles with pork (zha jian mien)
Beijing bean sauce noodles with egg (zjm)
Sweet & sour cabbage
Photos to follow from Annette & Jiong. I'll defer to the other attendees for their thoughts on the various dishes.
Everyone was stuffed by the end of the meal, and there were leftovers for several to take home. Cost with tax and a 24% tip was $14 per person. Good times!
Fish dumplings and cumin lamb were the only two dishes we had that were ordered off the whiteboard. Several of us who had been to EB previously noticed that the writing on the whiteboard had been modified so that it reads in both English & Chinese (it was all Chinese previously).
re: Eugene Park
Strictly speaking, the cumin lamb was not "off the board". It is on the menu - the Chinese is correct, but the English translation was somehow badly butchered to "Lamb with Pineapple and Preserved Ginger"!!. We pointed this out to them on our prior visit, and we noticed this time that many of the menus were corrected in pen.
When we got this dish, I was a bit dissappointed at first. The dish was rather moister than what I've had before. It had lots of green onions and no chilis. I thought they'd brought the wrong dish at first. But it was actually very good tasting, if a little untraditional.
Just curious if anyone felt thirsty or have neck pains after dinner?
Last time I had the fish dumplings there, I felt super thirsty. They claim there's no MSG and that they use good quality fish, but they must have added something, a broth, that has to contain enhanced flavoring to cook the fish in to make it taste the way it does.
Interestingly, I had no problems with thirst with the pork and cabbage dumplings.
Thanks for organizing this feast, Eugene. John and I had a great time.
As for our favorites, John loved both the noodles with pork and the cumin lamb. My favorites were the fish dumplings, the cold marinated slowly cooked beef cartilage, and the pork cake. The cumin lamb was very good, but I was expecting a spicier dish. We also liked the seafood "clay pot" (my preference) and the noodle soup (John's.) The lamb dumplings were good, but there wasn't as much lamb flavor or radish texture as I would have liked. I was disappointed in the sweet and sour cabbage -- it wasn't sour enough and I much prefer this type of dish cold. The cucumber salad was much more to my taste, but even here, the cucumbers could have been crisper.
Our overall feeling about this restaurant was very positive and we'll go back to have some of our favorites from last night and to try some items new to us that we didn't get a chance to try such as the pancake strips stir-fried with various meats or seafood.
As I said before, we had a great time!! And the price of the meal was amazing!!
re: Nancy Berry
Had the pancake strips with pork for lunch today - REALLY wonderful. Nice combo of textures, some cabbage and onions as well as the pork and pancakes. I've never had anything like this before but found the pancake strips a really nice new experience:) A really large serving for the lunch price of 6.25 (I think) that included a cup of soup.
Also had an order of the fish dumplings b/c the waiter said it was made from fresh rockfish - found the greens sort of overpowered the fish (but I could only eat one b/c it was too much food) so when I have the rest my opinion might change.
The waiter was sooo nice - saw something he was having for lunch and he offered me a taste and said even tho it wasn't on the menu if I like it I could ask for it when I came again.
Don't want to start a controversy and I know it is comparing apples to oranges but I have been to Chef Wai 3 times and altho one meal was sort of special the other two really weren't and I just feel it is so overpriced. It's also hard to know that unless you know the chef or know just what to order the experience can be so mediocre at that price. I found EB to be just the opposite - what I ordered was wonderful, reasonable price and REALLY friendly service. My only regret is that I am moving so instead of being to walk here I'll have to drive.
Thanks to CH b/c otherwise I wouldn't have even known about this place!
We ate at EB the other day and the waitress was super helpful and genuine in trying to make sure we had a good dining experience. I totally agree with your experience at Chef Wai. I always felt the food at Chef Wai was decent to good but on the expensive side. However, like you, we've been to Chef Wai four times and we've always come away feeling like they really didn't care if we had a nice dining experience or not. I almost suspect that you have to know Andy to get some attention there. This kind of "snobbish" service makes the dining experiences at places such as Everyday Beijing so much more appreciated.
Yes, it was quite a feast and stupidly cheap. Only $14?!?
My favorite cold dishes were the 1000 yr egg/bean curd, cucumber salad, and beef cartilage. I very much enjoyed the others. I'd gladly order any of those again.
As Eugene explained, the clay pot was more like a soup than a stew. It was excellent. I did like the family style noodle soup. However, if I were going with a smaller party and there was room for only one soup-type dish, I'd choose the clay pot. I gave a slight edge to the bean sauce noodles with pork over the egg. Definitely a matter of preference. I didn't detect much sweet in the s&s cabbage. In fact, I didn't even know it was listed on the menu as a s&s dish! I detected more black bean saltiness than anything else. Given all that, it was still excellent.
Fish dumplings were great! I didn't notice much radish note in the other dumplings, either by flavor or texture. Loved the cumin lamb, too.
The only dish that left me flat was the Jing Dong pork cake. Flavors were fine, I just found it too heavy and ponderous on the palate. A couple of bites were sufficient for me.
Thanks for organizing this Eugene! I had a great time getting to know fellow Chowhounders as well as eating good food.
I liked the cucumber salad - it was simple and refreshing. The Jing Dong pork cake was also good which was like scallion pancakes but with pieces of pork in betwen the layers. I also liked the Beijing bean sauce noodles with pork (zha jian mien), the sauce was nice and light, not drowing in sauce like some places. My favorite dish was the fish dumplings.
I was really surprised at how cheap the meal was....I look forward to the next Chowdown at EB!
Which dish was the second one in the picture? Was it the "Beijing bean sauce noodles with egg (zjm)"?
If so then its real name should be Da Lu Mian, another Shandong specialty. Not many restaurants have this dish nowadays as it is a very homestyle noodle.
From the menu, this place looks like a mainline Chinese style Beijing restaurant as opposed to the Shandong style Korean-Chinese restaurant. So the noodles may have the same names but differ in taste. How was the ZJM dish?
Ed, I didn't attend the chowdown yesterday (so sad!), but have eaten there before. Here's the thread with more information,
It is indeed pure Beijing, as shown in the style of the ZJM. I talked to the Beijing-born chef/owner's wife who is Shandong-ren and she said it was different than the kind she grew up with.
The 2nd dish pictured (thanks Honu!) is actually the "Beijing family style noodle soup" (#37 on the dinner menu listed on EB's website, or #25 on their takeout menu).
As for the ZJM @ EB, it's definitely Beijing-style rather than the atypical Shandong style most of us are familiar with. Very different (more undersauced than oversauced like Shandong style) but very tasty (the quality of the noodles really shines through).