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ABC Cafe (Hong Kong style cafe) in San Mateo opening Oct 3

  • K K Sep 21, 2009 01:17 PM
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Had lunch at ABC Foster City today and asked the manager about their ABC Cafe Bakery branch that is still under construction in downtown San Mateo. She said they are slated to open October 3. It is literally next door to Sushi Sam's, and from driving by Saturday night it seems pretty small from the outside (hopefully it will have a near or full bakery like SF Noriega, Chinatown, and former Oakland location for a complete experience). I just hope it will be better than the SF ones.

Another interesting tidbit....at ABC Foster City, they have a small range of desserts on the check-off dim sum menu item. They had a picture of a almond flavor stewed bird's nest, but did not have the marking of (S), (M), (L), or (C) on it....so I asked the waitress. She mentioned the swallow's nest they use is very high end (Gung Yeen)....and the item costs $38 (!!!!) which is literally two appetizer plates of cripsy skin suckling pig plus a (M) or (L) dim sum item.

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  1. Funny you should post this item. I was walking by the ABC bakery on Jackson and read a flyer in the window showing the upcoming opening. I had to reread the poster to see if this operation was moving into the old Joy Luck location. As you stated it not. Something to look forward too. I was wondering why they did not open a week earlier to sell moon cakes Autumn Moon Day also on Oct 3 this year.

    9 Replies
    1. re: yimster

      It had a soft opening today October 1, fairly crowded, no breakfast menu available, lunch and dinner menu very close to Noreiga and Chinatown menu. I will try and post a copy when i scan it. Tried the Beef Stew Wonton Noodle and HK Iced Milk Tea $10.07. It was above average and well presented. Wonton had 3 shrimps per, noodles filled the bowl with two pieces of bok choy vegetable. Good Beef Stew with soft Tendon. Milk Tea was on par with chinatown.
      Business hours: Mon-Thur 8am-1am, Fri -Sat 8am -3am
      ABC Cafe 210 E-3rd Avenue San Mateo 650-685-8881

      1. re: dabinlo

        Are those hours correct!? Open till 3?!!?

        Finally a place in my town for late night drunken eating!

        1. re: Adamsimpson

          Yeah.. I had lunch there today and the sign for their normal business hours read exactly as mentioned above.. 3am on the weekends ! Just like their Noriega SF location I guess... A place to get something to fill the alcoholic stomach after going out on a weekend.. The decor is quite modern and way better than their SF locations.. Clean (for now at least.) Hope they can keep that place up.. it can be a very nice place to just hang out. Have booth for privacy and all.

          Seem like they are under staff at the moment. .maybe they are just testing how things run before their grand opening on Oct 3rd.. which their posters read.

          Oh.. the wonton noodle soup I had was pretty good and the Baked Pork rice my friend had was not bad neither.. the sauce was great, but the pork was a bit dry tho...

          1. re: madeinhkg

            The Noreiga ABC opens till 3 a.m. EVERYDAY, not just on the weekends.

            I also read their poster about the grand opening of their new store in San Mateo; I plan to check it out tonight. I've been a customer of ABC since the opening of their Oakland store which as you know, is no longer there. Hopefully this new store is NOT as pricy as Cafe Salina in Millbrae. We'll see.

        2. re: dabinlo

          Thanks for the update on the soft opening. Looking forward to checking them out. The Noriega and former Oakland locations were a bit tired and run down, so new decor and hopefully a stepped up game, will be considered really good for the Peninsula (considering the 2 to 3 HK cafe's in Millbrae are slipping, except Cafe Salina which is pricey but still not bad, but not superb).

          1. re: dabinlo

            Do they have a bakery portion like the SF Chinatown and Noriega locations? Or is it only a restaurant?

            1. re: peachblossom

              I dropped by this morning to check it out. The place was empty, and the cashier was all the way in the back.

              There was a display case of 4 types of baked buns with prices. In the left corner behind the cashier was a large refrigerator sized oven/warmer where they kept the buns. Upon inquiring further, the buns are indeed delivered and not made in house. The staff member I asked didn't know if there were plans on offering things like pre-ordering birthday cakes etc.

              Of the buns I know that are available: pineapple bun (bor lor bao), cocktail bun (gai mei bao), and baked bbq pork buns.

              The interior is quite swanky and there are quite a lot of booth seats with the backing sides going upward towards the celing (so you can't really see what's in front or behind you unless you stuck your head out to the side (more privacy that way?).

              The kitchen is huge, this will likely help with processing orders quickly, provided the staff are on top of this (and I'm sure they'll need time to ramp up).

              Hours are indeed 8 am to 1 am Mon - Thurs and closing at 3 am Fri - Sun.

              The menu is all over the place which is great.

              Noodle soup, including what I picked out to be "Che Jai Meen" which is a very cool street style "peddler noodle". The idea is that you pick the toppings which range from nasty bits, animal parts to veg and recognizeable things. For $5.75 you can pick 3 from brisket, chicken wing tips, greens, pork intestine, fish balls, tripe, pork liver. Additional toppings are $0.50 per and they offer this for lo mein as well. The other item of note under "noodle soup" is "duo combination" aka pick 2 from a list of bbq pork, empress chicken, greens, roast duck, beef tendon, beef brisket, wonton, shui gow, cuttlefish ball or nam yu pig's knuckles.

              They offer 5 kinds of cheung fun (steamed rice rolls), with the 5th one being less common as a dim sum offering (pork liver and kidney...)

              Other things of note:
              - They also have lobster lo mein for $15
              - curry beef brisket chow fun
              - bbq items like hainan chicken, roast duck, bbq pork, soy sauce marinated duck wings
              - a series of fish broths with your choice of noodle type and condiments (like how they offer it during lunch at ABC Foster City)
              - 20 kinds of congee (including wonton or shuigow congee which is a strange pairing. Fried dough stick is a whooping $2. Specialty congee that serves 4 is $18 (probably a ton of ingredients inside)
              - 21 kinds of fried rice themed dishes (Chinese and western fusion)
              - HK style curry rice
              - appetizers that include the fried fast food types, as well as siu mai, plain cheung fun, XLB (?!?!), pot stickers, green onion pancake, HK style street vendor waffles with peanut butter and condensed milk, satay skewers

              The last page of the takeout menu at the bottom, probably the most interesting lineup...for those who want to order sit down Cantonese stir fry, might want to check these out:

              Che's Specials

              - Clear broth beef brisket stew $8.95
              - honey walnut shrimp - $8.95
              - salt pepper shrimp - $7.95
              - stir fried lotus root - $7.95
              - mushrrom and veg stir fried with ox tongue - $7.95
              - Chinese style beef filet stir fry - $7.95
              - salt pepper squid - $8.95
              - mei choy stir fried with pork stomach - $7.95
              - bitter melon beef - $7.95
              - XO sauce sauteed beef - $8.95
              - 3 cup sauce sea bass - $10.95

              1. re: K K

                Yeah, the difference in ambiance between this one and Chinatown is like night and day.

                1. re: Chandavkl

                  A HK cafe/cha chaan teng, traditionally should not look upscale or pretty, like an authentic izakaya/watering hole in Japan. Unfortunately the CCTs in Millbrae choose the upscale motif, and with it comes higher prices at lower quality (altho to be fair, Cafe Salina is the better one at some things). At least ABC San Mateo has kept lower prices and has a versatile and broad menu.

        3. link

          -----
          ABC Bakery Cafe
          210 E 3rd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

          1. I saw egg tarts in the display case (although none for sale in the morning), the cookie dough crust (not the multi flakey layer). Hope they turn out decent.