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dim sum for beginners/Redd/other

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Hello -- My husband and I have a vacation of eating and indulgence planned in SF and Napa, with a brief stop in Palo Alto for a wedding. I love dim sum and would like to go, but he is what I'd call a dim sum "beginner" -- I would like him to have the dim sum experience without some of the uncertainty that can plague it (accidentally eating something unusual could traumatize him, and he is allergic to shellfish). Is our best bet to do a place like Yank Sing that may not be perfectly authentic and that is relatively quite expensive, but that will be very clear about dishes and ingredients? I appreciate any suggestions of dim sum places that would fall in our perameters -- it could be in Palo Alto as well as SF.

We will be in Napa for our anniversary and I've booked at Redd. Would be curious to hear from others if it is worth the price, is it a romantic atmosphere, etc. Again, if there are other restaurants one would recommend, please share -- we are going over Labor Day so getting a table could be an issue. We're more interested in good food and atmosphere than in cutting edge cuisine.

If anyone cares to comment on our food itinerary, here it is:
Day one -- walk to Ferry Building for lunch; dinner reservations at Zuni Cafe
Day two -- either Zushi puzzle or a burrito in the mission for lunch (or both); dinner at Aziza
Day three -- dim sum brunch, wedding dinner
Day four -- dinner at Ad Hoc (do I need reservations?)
Day five -- breakfast at Bouchon, dinner at Redd or other

Thanks for input!

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  1. Looks like a good itinerary -- you've done your homework!

    Although I don't usually recommend Yank Sing (for the reasons you mentioned), I think for someone with a seafood allergy it's probably the safest choice.

    1. I wouldn't say Yank Sing is not authentic. It's just relatively more expensive than others. It would be a very good choice. Near Palo Alto I would pick Dynasty (San Jose?), a large room that approximates a Hong Kong dim sum experience. Also as long as you will be on your way from the City to Palo Alto, you pass by several excellent dim sum places along the way, including Fook Yuen in Millbrae, ABC Seafood in Foster City, and Joy Luck Place in San Mateo. Joy Luck and ABC are our standard dim sum go to places.

      1. I don't believe Bouchon in Yountville serves breakfast, though I think they open at 11:30.

        1. I would recommend reservations at Ad Hoc, although you may get seats at the bar.

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          Ad Hoc
          6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

          1 Reply
          1. re: foodfan

            I know opinions about Ton Kiang are mixed on this board, but it is a very clean place, they have a menu online with pictures. It's gotten some knocks over the years for laspses in quality and.. how should I say this... well there are some people who don't trust Asian restaurants where the main customer is not Asian. That being said, the times I've been, the food was solid and it is a comfortable experience.

            I like the place next to it called Dragon River, but it is harder to order because they don't have anything to look at, just a menu which can be hard to tell what exactly the items are, but it's pretty authentic Hong Kong Style.

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            Ton Kiang
            5821 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

          2. I posted about eatinng at Redd a couple of days ago:

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/433372

            For breakfast at Bouchon do you mean at the bakery?

            I would definitely make reservations for Ad Hoc, just ot make your life less stressful the day of.