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Nov 11, 2007 10:47 PM

Seafood Chow Mein @ Silver Lake, San Mateo

In August I pulled into a space in front of Silver Lake in San Mateo, letting the parking gods pick my lunch spot. This was my first time here and I ordered my usual HK-style seafood noodles, my test dish for Cantonese seafood restaurants.

No so good here --- overcooked shrimp, too much bland and underseasoned calamari, goopy sauce, too big and tough undercooked bok choy, and too much grease leaving a big pool of oil on the plate.

Image of Hong Kong-style seafood chow mein -

So, what do 'hounds usually order here?

Silver Lake Seafood Restaurant
2291 S El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA 94403

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  1. Silver Lake is a family-run hole-in-the-wall. It is not on the level of and can/should not be compared to Chef Wai or Joy Luck nearby. It is smaller than Silver House across El Camino. Parking on El Camino usually is difficult. Have not had occasion to sample their noodle dishes or rice plates. Their family/wo choy dinners, on the other hand, are acceptably good, inexpensive, comfort food depending on what you order: on the 3 entrees for $17.95 combination – salt and pepper smelt fish or squid, braised pork w/preserved vegetable claypot (kau yuk), crispy chicken wings (crackling crispy), lotus leaf chicken (bamboo steamer), spicy eggplant claypot; on the 4 for $32.00 combination – pan fried dover sole (chewable bones & fins), black bean steamed oyster in shell, sparerib w/bitter melon claypot, steamed chicken ham w/ginger & mushroom (dragon/phoenix), and baby short rib in red wine are all very good. The clay pots come piping hot and bubbly to the table. One of their specialties is fried stuffed chicken wings with glutinous rice and lop chong (not on menu, but is shown on sticker in Chinese on the back wall at ~ $2.50 per wing (the whole stuffed Spring Chicken at Ming’s Diner is a better deal). Tried their 2-meal Peking Duck once, but do not recommend it. Have had lotus in their complimentary house soup.

    3 Replies
    1. re: CYL

      Thanks for the advice. I've been to Silver House across the street three times or so and really enjoyed it. On a sunny day, I thought the room was more pleasant at Silver Lake and wouldn't call it a hole-in-the-wall. Silver House has seemed a little busier and I was looking for an alternative when the wait is too long.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        I tried the razor clams at Silver House that the local hounds reco'd about a year ago and was blown away. A couple of months ago on my way home from the City I called to confirm that they were available but by the time I arrived they had sold out. Do you know if there is a seasonality for these in the area? It's become an obsession now anytime I'm lucky enough to be passing through. Apologies, don't mean to try and hijack the thread.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Have not been there in years, but recall they did steam dishesl and home style stir fry dishes well all so. The wall paper specials in Chinese are sometimes the best they have to offer.

          I have heard that if looks like a family operation but owners do not work there and not part of the daily operation.

          In the past I have had the set dinner for ten wan less than impressed. Lot of work but nothing stood out.