Fu Lam Mum/Moon resurfacing in Mountain View
- K K Mar 17, 2008 02:01 PM
Fu Lam Mum/Moon formerly at 240 something Castro street (now new tenant is a Vietnamese restaurant called Minh's) is re-opening at 155 Castro street next to another business venture of the owner's known as Hong Kong Bistro.
The new 2 story building is done but the insides are still being worked out. Two full stories, a full alcohol bar, and will offer dim sum according to when I last spoke to a friend of the owner who works at HKB.
Best guess is April/May timeframe for opening, and will be the only option for dim sum in Mountain View, since Golden Wok is stuck in "remodeling" mode with no news or update (the place is empty, not sure what they are waiting for).
On another note, it looks like Middlefield Road's famous Taqueria La Bamba has opened a branch right across from the new FLM. Xanh restaurant has moved down the street and across from its old location.
Thanks for the update. I was asked last night at dinner about the status of the New Fu Lam Moon by someone who lives in Mountain View. He told me that the shell was finish. This saves me a trip down there to check the construction.
It will be nice to have another option dim sum in Mountain View.
Any idea where the dim sum chef will be from?
Stopped by HKB for a quick lunch but didn't have time to chat with the waitstaff who were super busy.
The scrambled egg and shrimp chow fun was actually very decent today (slurpendously smooth runny scrambled egg, and really well cooked chow fun), although the quality of the shrimp was below average.
Overheard from a customer and one of the employees that Fu Lam Mum is slated to open in another 3 weeks / end of April. I wanted to ask about the dim sum chefs for next door but everyone was too busy running around, dodging elbow to elbow customer traffic.
On an unrelated note, nearby former dim sum Chinese restaurant Golden Wok is still very empty on the inside. No idea what's going on, but if I get a chance to poke my head in I'll ask.
re: K K
Regarding the Golden Wok. Don't expect much change. It appears as if the owner of the restaurant and owner of the building are in a contract dispute. Word is that the owner of the building is too cheap to make necessary repairs. The owner taped up notices in November/December about not being responsible for repairs that are being made. And a standard alcohol license transfer poster was up a few weeks ago that made it appear that it had been transferred to a new owner.
Fu Lam Mum opened today, just in time for the Mtn View Spring Family Parade.
Anybody else try the dim sum? My friends and I thought it was remarkably good! A good, broad selection of dishes on carts (not too greasy), no flops, and the service was good. Given that it was their first day, it was an amazing meal.
The tables were packed at lunch--I guess there was lots of pent-up demand for yum cha in MV.
I'm definitely going back.
Still haven't tried yet, but I dropped in to take a look earlier.
Fish tanks in the back: crabs, lobster, spot prawns, a humongous looking ling cod, and what appeared to be black bass. Aka the standard stuff for dinner consumption.
Dim sum based on the takeout menu: pretty much all of the the classics to a few "oddities" and a decent choice of teas.
Dim sum ranges from $2.50 then $3 and upwards of $1 increments, up to $6.50 for the special stuff like cold appetizers or a plate of bbq pork.
The interesting looking things on the Dim Sum menu:
XO sauce steamed daikon cake
XO sauce steamed taro cake
(yes they have XLB, but unless it is Yank Sing's or Koi Palace's I probably wouldn't bother myself)
Sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf apparently contains some abalone
Flakey pastry/crust bird's nest egg tartlets
Flakey pastry crust durian tarts (uhhhhh?)
Cheung Fun with abalone inside
Teas ranging from the basics to organic tea selection (green jasmine, oolong, pu-erh) to premium tea (monkey picked ti kuan yi, superior dragon well, and dong tin oolong).
Didn't see the dinner menu.
Two friends and I decided to partake of the New FLM to try for lunch. The new place is very much different than the old. It has a large ground street room but with only a second floor loft area in the back (does not appear to be a full second story such as an enclosed banquet room) which is closed off after 1 pm (could not go up and look). FLM is more upscale now and features dim sum at noon time (night menu say “certain dim sum items are available"). At 1 pm it was still crowded with carts buzzing about every which way. We had to wait a good 10 minutes to be seated and then only at an open table for ten - all to us three. We were not interested in dim sum and wanted to order three dishes to share family style. They had a lunch menu with dishes listed at $8 each, but we were uncertain as to whether these were merely individual rice plates which would make it awkward for us to share. As it turns out, they were individual dishes of food with a bowl of house soup and a separate bowl of rice which made it just suited for our desire. We had Kung Po Chicken, Fish Fillet w/Spicy Sauce (da chin bon nom), and Beef w/Black Pepper Sauce. At first the waiter said there was no cod, but he then decided to check further when we expressed disbelief and then confirmed that it was indeed available. We were very impressed with the dishes; they exceeded our expectations. They came hot with lots of “wok hay" and all three were aromatic, extremely tasty, and very well done which made us immediately aware of the extraordinary skill on the part of the cook. Portion sizes were all sizable; there were large pieces of chicken and cod and strips of tender beef.
I had a glance at their huge, big dinner menu (none printed to hand out). The selection of dishes has expanded greatly than before and there were upscale dishes that stands out a bit pricey for Mountain View Castro Street area (Chez TJ excepted). Although I was very impressed our introductory lunch venture very much, for now, I'd still sooner continue to drive up to Millbrae Row or to KP in Daly City for a more substantial dinner meal that is a sure thing until further data unfolds.
I've been there three times in the nine days it's been open, including opening day. All 3 times were for dim sum. The first time was on opening day at 11am, the second time was on Wednesday at 1:30pm, and the third time was today at 10:30am. Because of the lateness of the Wednesday visit, it is vaguely excusable that the food was below par. Therefore, I am judging based on the other 2 visits.
The quality is high, the food is fresh and the prices are more reasonable than Joy Luck Place in Cupertino. Most of JLP's plates are classified as large ($3.80-ish), whereas most of FLM's are medium ($3). The standards are all there, and the serving sizes are comparable. JLP has a few more creative dishes, but since FLM is only 3 blocks from my house and much cheaper, I can sacrifice those (although I'm sure I will make an occasional visit to JLP to get my fix).
It'll be interesting to see how JLP's business is affected by FLM. There really weren't any good dim sum places between JLP and ABC (Foster City) until FLM showed up. (I do not count Ming's in PA, since one, I have no idea if they still serve dim sum, and two, I haven't eaten there in over a decade because of the substandard food and superstandard prices.) I would guess that FLM will draw away the lower Peninsula residents (Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills). As it is, you already have to wait outside if you show up after 11:00am.
By the way, the $6.50 dim sum pig is not suckling. We checked, and it's just good ole roast pork.
The new FLM printed dim sum menu hand outs are below. The waiter told me that the dim sum chef is direct from Hong Kong. I’m skeptical that the Crispy Suckling Pig dish is truly suckling pig (“sill nom yuk” ain’t exactly “yee gee” and it’s only $6.50 for dim sum and, I think, $12.00 on the dinner menu).
I went today by myself on a whim (Sorry L! Maybe next time once these guys work the kinks out).
The warnings I was given in advance were more or less within expectations.
Bottom line is FLM could probably use some lessons in professional dim sum restaurant management to work out floor plan and logistics. I witnessed a bit of chaos as waiters and dim sum push cart ladies weren't sure how to properly tour the floor to sell their wares. One of the managers (owner?) and his buddy had to carry stacks of dim sum manually up 2 flights of stairs to service the 2nd floor (where's the dumbwaiter elevator?).
It is also a good test of a dim sum restaurant to see how they treat you when you lift up ONE finger when asked how many people in your party, and then see their reaction. The Mandarin speaking staff member glanced at the available tables, none of which sat less than 4 to 6, and then asked me if I was willing to WAIT 15 minutes. Then after debating it over briefly with a cohort, asked me if I was fine with sitting at a table for 6. The immediate thought that should have crossed her head was "this dude isn't here to chit chat and chew the phat" and I'm really a quick eater in these instances.
Anyway, I sampled the following:
har gow - four decent sized shrimp dumplings with at least 2 pieces of shrimp inside each. Unfortunately the skins were oversteamed and ended up being on the chewy and dry side. This compounded with the fact that two stuck to each other, made it a bit messy. The insides (shrimp) were moist, but not bursting with juices. Either a bad batch, or definitely an off day (so much for the chef hired out of Hong Kong :~(). With the taste test not fairing so well on a classic I immediately lowered my expectations further which helped the overall experience afterwards.
Beef cheung fun - the skins were pretty decent and smooth, but the insides (beef) while was soft, had little flavor or texture. The sad part was that these push carts have a portable gas stove underneath to keep the plates of dim sum warm, yet by the time I ate the 2nd piece, the temperature was rather cold (which made me wonder when these guys were steamed and how they got cold so quickly).
Ja Leung - custom ordered this. Out came three incredibly small pieces, as if I got a piece of fried cruller stick shrinkage. To their credit I got the cheung fun sauce on the side for dipping, in case the drownage would cause even further shrinkage on the outside. The skins were perfectly smooth, as this was steamed to order, but the "leung" on the inside was rather deplorable and unrefined. Not worth it for the price. Fat Wong's in San Bruno does a much better valued version, and I'm sure any other Millbrae Dim Sum joint.
Shark's Fin Dumpling - this was also a request and made to order. Arrived in a small ceramic soup bowl with a lid, and again it seemed much smaller than other places.
The dumpling itself looked really unrefined, with an off white skin vs yellow. Fans of the old HK Seafood Harbor in Millbrae that is now the kitchen, will feel my pain, as that place used to make the definitive version of SFD. The SFD at FLM is served in an ok flavored chicken broth, but I feel the broth could have used more work/ingredients. Lacking in the flavors were needed chunks of cured Chinese ham (jing hua huo tui or gum wah for terh). The dumpling looked like a mutant won ton on crack and roids, and other than pork and pork fat and a wee bit o' shrimp and remnants of shark's fin or "edges" rather (known as Chee Kwun), that was more or less it. For the amount I got, it wasn't very good value at all. Breaking up the dumpling and mixing it up with the soup didn't boost the overall experience that a good authentic SFD should. I was comtemplating adding some red vinegar, but thought even that wouldn't help. At least the SFD overall wasn't fatty.
When the bill came, I got charged $1 for tea, when all I had was a pot of boiled water. They apologized and fixed it right away. Perhaps it was truly an accident, but these days you need to study your bill before you pay.
Glanced at the dinner menu, which was a mix of standard and mildly interesting seafood Cantonese, a few receipes seemingly similar to those of Asia Pearl/The Kitchen, and a dish or two maybe lifted from Chef Wai (like the King Tea marinated sea bass, where Chef Wai uses it as part of soy sauce chicken). Prices range from the teens to higher, with the most expensive listed item is the Buddha Jumps Over the Wall at $350 that serves 8.
It is nice to have more dining options in Mountain View. Granted FLM's dim sum is way way way better than Golden Wok's prime a few years ago, but isn't anywhere near the caliber of Dynasty in Cupertino or the Dim Sum capitol in Millbrae.
Finished the meal with a new drink offering up the street at Tea Era, Genmai (roasted rice) milk tea with tapioca. It was like eating rice crispies cereal with milk and sugar. Quite fun.