New Dim Sum Restaurant Opening Friday in Chinatown
A few months ago I reported that a restaurant called Ru Chun had opened up in the old Plum Tree Inn space on Hill St. and expressed my puzzlement at why a Plum Tree copycat had opened up there when the real Plum Tree just moved a block away. Clearly the answer was that there was no good reason, and Ru Chun is gone. In its place is Master Chef, which opens Friday and whose signage gives us the promise of a new dim sum choice in Chinatown. Since grand openings of places like this sometimes result in craziness I'll stay away for a while, so if somebody tries this place first please report back.
Thanks to all of the guinea pigs who preceded me here. Finally stopped by and I give the place a thumbs sideways. Actually the food is reasonably good, which would be as expected given that the chef moved over from Full House. However, like Full House there are no lunch specials and the prices are on the high side for Chinatown. Also given a relatively compact menu, and I really can't see any compelling reason to come back here on a regular basis.
NOT A GOOD EXPERIENCE
I just got back from Chinatown...was excited to try Master Chef after reading about it here on CH and I've been in a bit of a rut with my Chinatown spots...thought it would be a good idea to try something a bit more "cleaned up" vs the hole in the wall places or dim-sum-y places I wind up going too...welll...
I ordered 3 things just outta curiosity and because it was raining and I really wanted pot stickers...I ordered slippery shrimp because their menu said it was one of their specialties, and I ordered green beans.
In about 2 minutes...out came the green beans.
I knew this was going to be a problem from the get go since potstickers usually take a while and I love to start with them first (no chance on this).
I asked the server "where are the potstickers" he just shrugged and walked away...there I sat with my green beans (oh, and nothing else but tea, not even rice) waiting...and waiting...I asked again "potstickers?' he said "I'll bring you rice" hhhm?
he brought some rice.
So, for lunch, I'm supposed to just have rice and green beans and tea...not such a bad combo, but since I ordered other things....I was not so thrilled.
So, the beans are getting cold, I asked "are you at least going to bring out the rice or shrimp?"
He says "we've very busy."
Huh?....there were 2 big tables of about 5-7 and 3 2-tops.
So, I say, "well, forget about the potstickers then, I will just eat the beans if you bring out the shrimp and rice"
The shrimp comes out, the beans are cold, and the slippery shrimp was NASTY!!!
I would rather pour sugar over food from pfchangs...the slippery shrimp was pure sweet...nothing else...just sugary, honey-y, no other flavor...yuck!
I just sat there stunned.
The server never once checked...I left the food there, I drank some tea, and he came over, grabbed the plates and said "to go?"...never even asked if anything was wrong...I ate 3 shrimp and maybe 5 green beans...hmmm, something wrong?...yes.
He just grabbed them and left...no time to even answer.
The host came over to check and offered to bring out the potstickers for 20% off....uhhh, a bit late, eh? I told him I didn't even want the poststickers.
The host was very nice, the manager was very nice. I told them I didn't even want anything at that point and that they could just keep the food (the server didn't even bother to put rice in the bag when he wrapped everything up...ugg)...they did wind up apologizing and said they would be happy to comp the food if I "would please come back and give us another try."
I said "unlikely...I'm off to Jade Wok."
I know, a bit harsh..I will (maybe) give them another try, but it's doubtful.
My lunch was saved by the people at Jade Wok....it was only my 2nd time and it was even better than the first...I had the House Tofu which was amazing!!! and potstickers and green beans.
Well, Master Chef is clean and spacious and you can order beer/wine...but it's not worth it for me.
Yup, Kinda sad...I may go back after a month or two if someone else I know suggests that we meet there...most likely I'll just stick to the holes-in-the-walls that have names I never remember but always know how to get to when I'm hungry and trying to find a quick place to park.
I recently ate at Master Chef with my family last weekend for lunch because I saw the grand opening sign while I was driving by. My family and I wanted to try a new restuarant and to my suprise, it was really good. I recommend this restuarant to anyone that wants to try a new place.
we've been eating at FULL HOUSE for over a decade. it's always been open on holidays and open late. enough to scratch the itch. but lately, the food has been better than ever. go figure? maybe because the former chef moved next door?
at FULL HOUSE, we've been having the live crab, lobster, seafood over rice, salted fish fried rice, the usual veggies. my folks just had some steamed oysters they said were incredible.
I just got back from dinner at Master Chef and I must say it's pretty good. I went with my family and we ordered some chow fun, house special crispy chicken, wonton soup, and some deep fried flounder (or something like that). The crispy chicken was especially good because it wasn't dry like most seafood restaurants. They also had the right amount of seasoning on there. I'd definitely recommend trying that dish.
Although the sign says dim sum, the owner actually clarified that there is a limited dim sum selection for appetizers only. They serve it all day long though, so if you're craving some dim sum at night, it's available here. We tried the har gow... it was dim sum quality and they make the sizes of the dim sum larger than average, so the price is relatively justified.
The service was quick and friendly, but if you need someone immediately, just flag down the waiter. The owner came out and talked to us a bit, which was a nice surprise.
Overall, my experience was good and I would come back... the only problem is the parking situation is as bad as it was for Plum Tree. The owner said he's hoping to get an arrangement for parking soon though. Hopefully that'll come true!
The freebie Downtown News has a 10% off your entire order for Master Chef. So if you go there, you might as well get the paper & save a couple of bucks. There is probably a newstand within site of the restaurant.
As far as parking goes, there usually is not too many people in Chinatown so finding a space on the street is not uncommon.
Does anybody know why Plum Tree Inn moved in the first place? Was there a big rent increase or something? No idea what their financials looked liked before the moved, but I know that whenever I pass their place nowadays, the lot is competely empty. How can Plum Tree Inn afford to stay in business when there is zero business on weekends during lunch hour? Not sure, but I suspect their dinner business is not that much better.
Yeah - I went there hoping to get dim sum today as well. I was extremely disappointed to see that they consider 6 appetizers "Dim Sum" - I feel like they're falsely advertising on their sign outside. My friend and I headed over to Empress Pavillion, though and had a great dim sum lunch for under $20.
Haven't gone over to Master Chef yet but I do notice that their website (masterchefla) is up and running and it gives some information. The master chef in question is the former longtime chef at Full House Seafood. Menu looks straight forward--standard Cantonese fare plus Americanized favorites for the DASH crowd.