Burma Superstar, Oakland
Ate dinner there tonight. We got the samusas, which were okay but just okay. The famous tea saoad had cruchy bits so hard our teeth seemed in peril. And then every entree we got: eggplant, with garlic sauce, lamb kebat, superstar noodles, and superstar shrimp all tasted basically the same except the noodles came chilled and the onions in the shrimp were fried in a little tamarind and so were caramelized. The shrimp tasted a little too much of shrimp--I think they had been previously frozen. We looked at the people lining up to get in and someone said, "Look at that, they're coming in droves like the place is actually good!" I think this is an "Emperor's clothes" situation--reputation superceding personal judgment. Nan Yang is about 1000 x more creative, distinctive and downright better.
We had lunch there yesterday. The spicy stir-fried lamb (ordered with maximum spice) was new to me and good.
Samusa soup was good though I prefer Larkin Express's.
I think Larkin Express has spoiled me for Burma Superstar's tea leaf salad, I prefer shredded cabbage to lettuce and I think all their other ingredients are superior.
Nice room, nicest space of the three branches.
Prices are a lot higher than LE's. I think the tea leaf salad was $9 vs. LE's $5.50.
I had dinner there tonight: we shared the rainbow salad, the pumpkin stew with pork, and the kibet (sp?) with lamb. The rainbow salad was good, but not great, the flavors were all good, but a little muted -- the table next to us had the tea leaf salad, and it didn't look as interesting as other versions that I've had. I loved the pumpkin stew with pork, the pumpkin itself was delicious, the sauce was great, and the pork was really tender and flavorful. I'll definitely get this again, but tell them to make it spicier. The Kibet was stir fried lamb with onions and spices, and it was nicely spicy (though again, next time I'd tell them to make it spicier). The table next to mine got some greens that looked good -- I definitely want to go back to try those, as well as the samusa soup. I'm glad that this place is in the neighborhood, it was nice and spacious, and the staff was very friendly. It was also pretty packed on a Tuesday night, I got there at quarter after 8 and didn't sit down for at least 20 minutes.
They now have a late-night menu, Wed-Sun, 10:30-midnight. It's not on the website yet, but here's what I spotted at the restaurant. There seems to be a higher ratio of signal to noise on here than on their regular menu:
Salt & pepper chicken
Salt & pepper calamari
Platha & dip
Fried Yellow Bean Tofu
Burmese style chicken
Superstar vegetarian noodles
Nan gyi dok
Bun Tay Kauser
Garlic noodles w/ pork, duck, or tofu