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May 10, 2009 01:27 PM

Mothers Day Dim Sum at East Ocean Seafood in Alameda

For Mothers Day, East Ocean in Alameda added extra hours, serving dim sum from 9am to 2:30pm today. Our mom requested her brunch here, as she’s enjoyed it before. While I’ve had dinner here before, this was my first time for dim sum. When we arrived at 9:30am, the place was about half-full, and when we left before 11am, there were crowds out on the sidewalk and by the back entrance. Everything we had was above average to excellent, lots of variety, service is very good, and prices are more than fair. I can see why Mom likes it so much.

Photos with captions of everything we tried in this link.

Of these, I’ll highlight my three favorites from our brunch. The shrimp and Chinese chive dumplings were excellent with pan-seared wrappers so thin you can see through them. Some of our other choices were barely warm, but these were fresh out of the kitchen and piping hot. Unlike some versions, these had no starchy filler or binder, just sweet shrimp and fresh chives. I can’t think of a better one anywhere else.

My favorite was a plate of baked unagi on a bed of seaweed salad, served with hot mustard. A nice size serving, but admittedly I’d eyeballed the three plates on the cart and picked the one with the thickest filet and biggest portion. The eel was buttery soft, not too sweet or too salty. Priced as a "special", we held our breath to find out the cost on the bill. No need to be concerned, it was only $4.80 for the plate.

Also special was the Nai wong beng aka custard pancakes made with chewy rice flour. These are filled with golden custard and pan-fried. A bit greasier than Ton Kiang's version, but now that I know they’re here, I don’t need to go to TK anymore.

Total tab for 6 smalls, 9 mediums, 1 large, and 2 special plates was $75, including tax and tip, for five of us.

East Ocean Seafood
1713 Webster St, Alameda, CA 94501

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  1. Having been let off work early, I dropped into East Ocean for dim sum lunch. It's been a long time since I've gone on a regular weekday, and they seem to have gotten even more popular: at 12:30 the restaurant was 3/4 full. Most of the lunch service on weekdays is check-menu, but they did have some carts going around. I prefer to order off the menu, but a cart lady tempted me into a basket of steamed bbq pork in mochi dumplings, which I'd never seen before. These large-ish dumplings were very simple, with just bbq pork and a bit of sauce. I'm not sure I'd get them again, but they might be a good option for dim sum beginners.

    I ordered another item I'd never seen before from the menu: steamed dungeness crab dumplings. These were like supersized har gow, with chunks of crab meat and just a little chopped bamboo shoots. Very mild -- a dab of chile sauce made the flavor pop a bit more.

    They've reorganized the menu since last time I was there, so now it's divided into categories (dessert, steamed, baked and fried) rather than price, and there were items on it that I don't remember seeing on the menu before. In addition there were items on the carts that weren't on the menu.

    All in all, the quality remains high, the selection has expanded, the atmosphere is still pleasant and the service is still stellar. I'm so lucky to have a jewel like this nearby!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Glad to hear you had a good experience on a weekday. Maybe a year ago I was there with my mom, sister and b-i-law who eat there often on weekends. They both commented that the cooking and service seemed off and had been better on weekends with more selection as well. We even sent back a dish or two.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Went 2 Satutdays ago as a party of 5 -- Larry, his sis, an auntie and a cousin --at noon. Was surprised that we were seated immediately although 2 still hadn't arrived.

        Everything was back to EO's usual good standards, and having a larger party, we could enjoy more dishes and variety. Cart ladies remembered we want our hot dishes hot (not tepid) and were quick to radio for fresh (hot) selections. Auntie even commented that service had never been offered to her before. We eat there often for both dim sum and regular meals, so the staff have become familiar with our preferences. Staff including the cart ladies has low turnover so they're all experienced and professional.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          East Ocean is pretty amazing isn't? Been there for dim sum many times; never for dinner though. In my recent visit there on a Saturday, the crab dumplings hardly contained any crab. I complained to a staff member in Cantonese, but she didn't know how to respond. I finally found an ultra-tiny bit of crab in one of the dumplings. It was like 95% shrimp, 5% crab. Not happy with that. I also caught one stamping a "small" dim sum dish as "medium" on the dim sum card. Granted it was probably an accident, but she could have been more careful.