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ANyone been to King Yen lately? (College Ave, Berkeley)

  • j
  • Joel Oct 28, 2007 11:58 AM
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I haven't been here in years. The negative messages about Shen Hua across the street lead me to wonder about King Yen. I took a quick look at the menu and as I recall some of the items looked interesting.

http://www.chow.com/places/190
2995 College Ave, Berkeley
(510) 845-1286

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  1. I was there last night! I really like their food, especially the dry fried green beans, Get them with shrimp if you're not vegetarian. I think they have generous portions, very fresh vegetables, and it's nice that they also serve brown rice rather than white if you request it.

    I would stay away from the steamed chicken and veggie dish. We got it for the baby, but it was too bland for us. We ended up eating it all, but only after dipping it in the garlic eggplant sauce.

    1 Reply
    1. re: YSZ

      We were also there last night.
      In answer to my own posting...
      We live nearby, so we will probably go there when we don't want to drive.
      First of all, they do a HUGE takeout business. It's a big place, about one-third full Sunday night. But there was a constant stream of folks getting takeout.
      The clientele was 99% non-Asian, not usually a good sign.
      I asked the waiter about the choice of green veg.
      Pea leaves?
      Ong Choy?
      A-choy?
      At each request he sadly shook his head, and he was very surprised at my requests (I am of the Caucasian persuasion).

      We wound up with five reasonably good dishes:
      #31 BBQ Chicken, somewhat in the Korean BBQ style, boneless, with a sweet glaze ($9.95)
      #24 Crispy Noodles ($9.95); these were very nicely topped with assorted items and did not have a gloppy sauce, so the noodles stayed crisp
      #47 Steamed Broccoli and tofu ($8.50), from the "diet delite" section of the menu, as advertised absolutely plain, no seasoning whatsoever. I put the sauce from the other dishes over it.
      #88 Shredded pork with grean bean ($9.50). The beans were dry-fried and very tasty.
      #90 Bok choy with black mushroom ($8.50) not a bad rendition.
      Brown rice for five, a $10 corkage fee brought the total to about $66, not bad for five people, no leftovers. Portions were generous.

      By the way, the waiter recommended Legendary Palace in Oakland Chinatown.

    2. I love their BIG garlic prawns, about $12 and worth it. The noodle dishes looked great, too. I enjoyed the spicy eggplant, too. I live in SF and if I lived in Berkeley, I'd be there all the time.

      1 Reply
      1. re: walker

        I'm caucasian but lived in Taiwan and mainland China in the past. For a slightly more mainstream Chinese food experience, I love King Yen's food and have been going there for 15 years. (For Berkeley, I also really like Great China on Kittredge.) Our favorites at King Yen: fried calamari appetizer (excellent! but not "to-go" because it gets soggy in the container), hot and sour soup, prawns with honey glazed walnuts, crispy smoked tea duck, kung pao chicken, garlic eggplant, steamed fresh salmon (delicious), mussels in ginger and black bean sauce, Mongolian lamb, mushu dishes. I've tried Shen Hua a few times, but never have found the same consistency in the food like at King Yen.

      2. link

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        King Yen Restaurant
        2995 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

        4 Replies
        1. re: rworange

          Had a DYNAMITE piece of salmon there this past Saturday...huge portion, moist, flavorful...one of the lunch specials they have most days, really impressed after this second visit in three weeks, first time I had a very nice chicken dish.

          After a less than exciting nosh at $hen Hua a month or so ago, this is my go-to Chinese spot for the Elmwood!

          1. re: Munching Mark

            Likewise! My husband and I go here at least once every couple weeks and have never had anything but good food and good service. We liked Shen Hua when we first moved to the neighborhood, but after several visits with bad to extremely bad service every time, we finally gave up. We do both eat in and take-out, so and Shen Hua failed miserably at both, whereas King Yen has excelled at both.

            1. re: chemchef

              What are your favorite dishes? -- especially for take out.

              1. re: Glencora

                sizzling rice soup
                fried calamari
                Chinese steak on a sizzling plate
                Fish special (on a daily specials menu, but they seem to have it everyday)
                dry cooked green beans
                mu shu pork

                I can't remember what else we've had, but I know we've liked everything we've tried.

        2. King Yen Rocks!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Mission

            Had an excellent walnut prawn dish there this past Saturday...really well done, and I love that soup they serve as part of lunch.