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Chowdown Report: Dim Sum @ Koi Garden, Dublin

Melanie Wong Sep 9, 2008 10:33 PM

Today six hounds and one guest gathered in the Tri-Valley for a dim sum lunch at Koi Garden in Ulferts Center, http://koipalace.com/koigarden/ . Most of our dishes were ordered from the check-off menu, and some came from the limited number of carts circling on a weekday. We had a pretty good location for catching the flow of carts, and the round table was good for conversation. However, the cold air blasting directly overhead from the air-conditioner immediately chilled all our food.

We worked our way through:

157. Roasted suckling pig, $18
154. Hand roasted duck, $5.50
147. Green algae (seaweed) and jellyfish, $5.50
445. Egg custard tart, $2.50
337. Bee’s nest taro puff, $3.50
368. Stir-fried rice roll in spicy XO sauce, $5.50
357. XO spicy sauce dumplings, $4.50
338. Chiu Chou steamed dumplings, $3.60
457. Old Timer sponge cake, $2.60
341. Shrimp dumplings (har gao), $4.50 x 2
331. Spinach shrimp dumplings, $3.60
348. Rice roll shrimp stuffings, $4.50
444. Bean curd in syrup (doufu fa), $2.60

Not available today, 365. Poached beef (book) tripe, $5.50

Charge for “People’s choice” pu-erh tea was $1 per person. The tab, including tax and tip, came to $15 each, not bad, but we had ordered rather lightly.

Now, let’s hear from the others at the table, please share your opinions and favorites.

-----
Just Koi
4288 Dublin Blvd, Dublin, CA 94568

  1. j
    jlafler Sep 10, 2008 01:53 PM

    I agree that the temperature was a problem for many of the dishes -- the pork especially. The dumplings were my favorite (and most of them arrived at the table hot). I also liked the jellyfish. I thought the cake smelled amazing but didn't taste very interesting.

    I wonder if the problem with the air conditioning was just that the weather suddenly got a lot cooler after the blazing temperatures we had last week.

    It was great to meet people!

    1. michele_corum Sep 10, 2008 11:28 AM

      Another fun chowhound lunch. Thank you Melanie for coordinating this event.

      By far, the best of the lot were the steamed dumplings: XO Spicy Sauce, Chiu Chou, Har Gao and Spinach Shrimp. The Old Timer sponge cake was delightful warm. Once it cooled, it was not so delighful! I never did figure out which was the roasted pig or the roasted duck! Both were very greasy....as was the Bee's Nest Taro Puff. Something new for me was the Bean Curd in Syrup. It was fine but I bet there are better versions elsewhere. And I was disappointed with the Egg Custard Tart. It was basically tasteless.

      FWIW The restaurant was incredibly cold. They had their air conditioning cranked up high.

      1. m
        mychinbeseauntie Sep 10, 2008 09:01 AM

        ive been to kg before for dim sum and dinner and enjoyed the excellent service and atmoshere and dimsum selection.this time service was spotty and some of the food seemed oversteamed and fell apart as we tried to split some of them. i enjoyed the rice roll ,seaweed and jellyfish.the duck was average tasting,no wow factor..the hargau was good with tasty pieces of shrimp as was the xodumpling with dried scallop topping.some of kg i have tried but we didnt get are book tripe,beancurd sheet rolled with minced pork and mushrooms, chicken feet,lotus wrapped sticky rice..but thats the fun of dimsum is to try everything and u certainly cant in one seaing.the one disapoinment was the bees nest dumpling [wo-gauk] and that is usually my fav at kg ,this time the thin coating was not crunchy and puffy and the taro was a bit mushy.
        i would certainly come back and try other dishes and since east bay seafood closed this is our only ''dim sum'' place in the tri valley.i dont count willow tree[dublin] or tins in w. creek in this class.
        this was my first lunch with chowhounds so im glad we met on this side of the hills!
        ~kc

        1. Cecelia Sep 10, 2008 06:58 AM

          All -

          Sounds mighty fun and fine.
          How does KG compare to its relative, Koi Palace?

          Cece

          1. c
            cvhound Sep 9, 2008 11:16 PM

            My favorites were the seaweed and the chiu chou steamed dumplings. The seaweed was very similar (if not identical) to seaweed dishes I've had at Japanese restaurants as well as served to me as pan chan in Korean restaurants. It was well seasoned and surprisingly, the first dish to disappear on the table!

            I didn't try the duck or the egg custard, so can't comment on those. The sponge cake was very interesting, not the bland yellow stuff but a spicy brown cake. I also enjoyed the pu-erh tea, which was new to me. Definitely different than the jasmine, oolong or chrysanthmum variety I'm used to having with dim sum. The tea was a bit too strong at first. I enjoyed it more as it became diluted with subsequent brewings.

            I enjoyed the chewy texture of the stir-fried rice roll, but it needed more salt and lacked good wok char. The shrimp in the har gao were quite large, but a tablemate commented that she didn't find them particularly tasty.

            Melanie kindly ordered the doufu fa when I inquired about its availability. As a huge soft tofu fan, I look for it everywhere I go. The texture wasn't quite as "flowery" and soft as I would have liked, but I enjoyed the sweet ginger simple syrup-type sauce that they kindly served on the side, so each diner could adjust the bean curd to his/her individual specification.

            All in all, the food didn't blow me away. I've had better dim sum elsewhere. But as always, it was great to meet new CHs and it was fun to attend a chowdown less than 5 minutes from my office. Thanks again to Melanie for serving as our lunch host today! It was a lot of fun!

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