Chef King San Mateo now Sheep King (Mongolian/maybe hot pot?)
Drove by Silver House / Lee's Comics / Chef King part of El Camino in San Mateo a few days ago and noticed that Chef King went through yet another business change.
The sign or awning is now bright yellow and the restaurant name, if I remember correctly, is now Sheep King. As I drove by quickly, I only caught the Chinese characters Mongolia or Mongolian.
Has anyone been to this new Sheep King restaurant, and do they offer hot pot? I know Chef King when they did offer hot pot their specialty was lamb.
So what's up with this sudden invasion of regional Northern Chinese cuisine popping up out of nowhere.
First Dongbei style food with a recent review somewhere/the restaurant in Milpitas Square next to Coriya/the restaurant that now occupies the space in old Fatima in San Mateo, and now with Gary's post below of Mongolian Little Sheep hotpot (and now Sheep King it appears). I see a pattern forming :-)
They offer hot pot. Boy do they offer hot pot! Based on your query I went down there for a late lunch. The windows were steamed up despite the open front door. Almost every table was enjoying hot pot.
As for a business change, well, the awning and credit card receipt said Sheep King. The menu, however, was still the one from Chef King (it had the old name on it!) and the offerings seemed to be the same as I remember from my last visit to Chef King.
Anyhow, on to the food. I ordered a lamb hot pot with pea leaves (xiao dou miao). I also gluttonously ordered the green onion pancake (cong you bing) and lamb dumplings (yang rou jiao zi) -- ordered in the name of research, yessiree. The dumplings (10 of them) weren't particularly flavorful (we're talking lamb here, so go figure) and I don't think I would order them again. The pancake wasn't bad, although I've had better ones that were more layered. It was fried nicely enough that it was pleasantly crispy on the outside.
The lamb hot pot was the star. I tried to order the half-and-half broth as I had been able to do at Chef King, but they said they wouldn't do it for a single diner. So I got the regular since I remember a colleague ordering the spicy broth and proceeding to sweat his way through lunch. And that was a guy who brings back extra spicy hot sauces from Hong Kong. The normal broth was excellent, a creamy yellow color full of the usual twigs, bark, and roots. ;-) I really couldn't identify everything in there, but I did find a whole clove of garlic, plenty of dates, green onions, small orange "berries", and various seeds. Prominent among the seeds were whole cumin seeds which made the whole thing remind me of the lamb skewers I love to buy on the streets of Beijing. A generous serving of pea leaves, bean threads, tofu, and thinly sliced lamb came on a separate plate. There were also 3 meat balls on the plate. A selection of condiments in jars was set on the table and the waitress proceeded to explain to me how they ought to be mixed. $7.95 for the lunchtime lamb hot pot. Other options include chicken, beef, etc. if lamb is not your thing.
Service was attentive and although the clientele was mostly Mandarin speakers, the staff was sufficiently bilingual to assist that one table of English speakers. ;-)
re: Peter Yee
You are the man! Thanks for that wonderous review and for taking one for the team ;-)
I assume you can read Chinese no problem. I remember when the restaurant was still displaying Chef King as the restaurant name, that it claimed their soup bases were all natural, no artificial ingredients/enhancements or MSG (on messages posted on the windows). Is this still the case?