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Beijing BBQ 4683 Mission (at Persia) (sister of Beijing Restaurant), SF

hhc May 20, 2010 10:46 PM

Beijing BBQ 4683 Mission (at Persia), SF 415-333-6601; open daily, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Anyone try it yet?

Beijing BBQ lamb skewers

From SFoodie's blog:

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  1. BernalKC RE: hhc May 21, 2010 02:38 PM

    Had to check this out. So I dropped in, had 4 skewers and a plate of 3-flavor dumplings. $12.50

    The lamb skewers were definitely the winner. Really interesting spicing -- somewhat like the cumin lamb at Beijing Restaurant, but with an extra kick of pepper and some other unidentified spices that are grilled in nicely. If they sold these little buggers from a cart in Dolores Park, the line would go for blocks... Delicious.

    22 Replies
    1. re: BernalKC
      Chandavkl RE: BernalKC May 21, 2010 05:27 PM

      I'm curious as to the location of Beijing BBQ--can you tell if there is much of a latent Chinese population in the neighborhood to warrant such a highly authentic eating place? To me the location is a little improbable. As to the autolink, it's worst on the LA board because the geographic territory is larger. Once discussed a restaurant in LA and the board linked to a place in the desert over 100 miles away.

      1. re: Chandavkl
        wolfe RE: Chandavkl May 21, 2010 05:32 PM

        the board linked to a place in the desert over 100 miles away.
        But was the place any good?

        1. re: wolfe
          Chandavkl RE: wolfe May 21, 2010 08:51 PM

          There is no good Chinese food in the California desert.

          1. re: Chandavkl
            wolfe RE: Chandavkl May 21, 2010 09:17 PM

            I think this quote from "The American President" could be used to explain the state of food in many Chinese restaurants especially those in the desert.
            President Andrew Shepherd: "People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty. They drink the sand because they don't know the difference. "

        2. re: Chandavkl
          Mari RE: Chandavkl May 21, 2010 09:07 PM

          Yes, there are a lot of new Chinese immigrants in the Excelsior now. I grew up in the neighborhood and it's gone from Italian & Irish, Hispanic & Filipino to Chinese. Rent is probably cheaper there too.

          1. re: Mari
            Chandavkl RE: Mari May 22, 2010 12:54 PM

            Thanks. Sounds like it's worth a field trip to see the restaurant and the neighborhood, too.

          2. re: Chandavkl
            soupçon RE: Chandavkl May 30, 2010 04:28 PM

            There's a fair number of Chinese in the area (more blatant than latent). My wife and a friend from that neighborhood were at one point casing a Chinese restaurant for possible purchase in almost that precise location. Also, even the humblest regional cuisine restaurants can become destination restaurants if authentic, as you Angelenos well know.

            1. re: Chandavkl
              roseink RE: Chandavkl Feb 18, 2011 09:20 AM

              I've lived in the Excelsior and there is a large Chinese population there.

            2. re: BernalKC
              Melanie Wong RE: BernalKC May 21, 2010 04:44 PM

              Thanks! I've been salivating since reading JK's blog post yesterday. If you have ambitions of becoming the expert on SF terroir for Beijing street-style lamb skewers, there's a vendor on Sunday at the Stonestown farmers market, Happy Dumpling (formerly Yang Rou Chuan). Here's Birdsall's blog post about it.

              1. re: Melanie Wong
                L C RE: Melanie Wong May 21, 2010 07:01 PM

                That SF Weekly article is outdated. They are no longer "Happy Dumpling" (that name only lasted 1 or 2 weekends), back to original name of Yang Rou Chuan.

                1. re: L C
                  Melanie Wong RE: L C May 22, 2010 02:42 PM

                  Thanks for the denomination update. How do you like Yang Rou Chuan? I've not tried it and won't have a chance to do so for a few weeks.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                    intomeat RE: Melanie Wong May 24, 2010 07:53 AM

                    nothing to write home about.... the lamb skewers ($2 ea.) are fatty and not enough flavor for me. The soy milk ($1.50 12oz. cup) is watery. Onion pancakes lack scallions as if they were running out of ingredients and trying to stretch with what the have on hand. It was flavorless and taste of grease and floury dough. They're starting a permanent place on Larkin (Larkin Cafe (?) I didn't pay attention since I wasn't impressed by the food.)

                    1. re: Melanie Wong
                      L C RE: Melanie Wong May 30, 2010 01:48 PM

                      Sorry for the late reply Melanie, I was offline. They made a brand new sign ("home cooking" - in Chinese, Happy Dumplings) after I had posted my comment. Previously they were still using the YRC sign at the market and festival events.

                      In my opinion the lamb skewers taste good, seasoned with cumin. Yes, there's a little bit of fat but that's no big deal to me. The dumplings/pot stickers are hand made on the spot and pan fried. The chives and pork are my favorite. The cabbage dilutes some of the pork flavor, so that one is not as flavorful. The vegetarian (carrots, mushrooms, chives, etc.) is fine. It's as authentic as can be found on the streets in China. The 3 for $2 price is very reasonable (originally 50 cents each).

                      Also as Cynsa already mentioned they're going to open a store on Larkin street, next to Baguette Express. Not just dumplings and kabob skewers, they'll have rice plates and soups too.

                      Baguette Express
                      668 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                  2. re: Melanie Wong
                    Cynsa RE: Melanie Wong May 23, 2010 11:10 AM

                    It was Happy Dumpling today at the Sunday Stonestown Farmers Market behind Macy's... soon to be open at Little Saigon Cafe

                    Lamb Skewer $2 or 3 skewers for $5
                    Dumpling $3 for 2; cabbage/pork, vegetarian, chives/pork
                    Green Onion pancake $2

                    Dumplings are very popular - people with large orders bring their own plastic lidded containers! We brought home two orders and requested 2 of each kind; my favorite of the well-stuffed dumplings were the chive and pork.

                    The lamb skewers are well-seasoned tasty bits of crispy fatty lamb.

                    Little Saigon Cafe
                    670 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                    1. re: Cynsa
                      Cynsa RE: Cynsa May 23, 2010 01:18 PM

                      oops... it was $3 for 3 dumplings

                      1. re: Cynsa
                        intomeat RE: Cynsa May 24, 2010 08:19 AM

                        or $2 for 3? Made with yeasty dought.

                        1. re: intomeat
                          Cynsa RE: intomeat May 24, 2010 12:21 PM

                          I think you've got it...$2 for 3

                      2. re: Cynsa
                        L C RE: Cynsa Jun 3, 2010 05:45 AM

                        Yesterday was the first day of Little Saigon Cafe.

                        Happy Dumplings had already built a good reputation at the Sunday farmers market. I have no idea why they decided to go into this partnership together with a Vietnamese vendor. Why throw away that brand recognition they worked so hard to obtain to start again from scratch with a different name?

                        - They only have 2 items - the 3 dumplings (4 for $3.25) and the green onion pancake ($3), the lamb skewers will be added when they buy a new grill.
                        - And those 2 items are buried in the appetizer section of the menu. The dumplings have been renamed as "potstickers". It seems that they don't want to be found.
                        - Prices are higher than the farmers market prices.
                        - The food just sits on warmer trays all day, so at best you get lukewarm food.
                        - The Vietnamese rice plates are lackluster, steamed rice with 2 items $5, or 3 items $5.75.
                        - I haven't tried the noodle soups yet.
                        - The banh mi sandwiches are the best value at $2.75 each.
                        - The competition: this area is filled with cheap restaurants that make food to order. Freshly made hot food or food on warmer trays? Which one would you choose?

                        1. re: L C
                          Cynsa RE: L C Jun 3, 2010 05:51 AM

                          my original link has vanished -
                          Little Saigon Cafe
                          670 Larkin Street
                          San Francisco CA 94109
                          7 days a week - 7 am to 9 pm

                          Little Saigon Cafe
                          670 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                          1. re: Cynsa
                            L C RE: Cynsa Jun 3, 2010 07:15 AM

                            Revised hours are: daily 10am-8pm.

                          2. re: L C
                            soupçon RE: L C Jun 9, 2010 08:42 AM

                            Many, probably even a majority, of Vietnamese restaurants in SF are owned by ethnic Chinese Vietnamese, and such partnerships are not unusual. Jiang may have a family or regional connection with the other owner of Little Saigon.

                            Sit-down prices are bound to be higher than street-food prices, due to overhead costs, of course, and "potstickers" is a more descriptive term than "dumpling" (which can mean fried, boiled or steamed and of a variety of shapes). .

                            You do have a beef (or a pork) if the dumplings are anything but freshly cooked, if not freshly made. I wouldn't draw a lot of conclusions from the first day of operation, however.

                          3. re: Cynsa
                            Melanie Wong RE: Cynsa Feb 18, 2011 12:12 AM

                            I finally had a chance to try Happy Dumplings' pan-fried baozi at the Sunday morning farmers market at Fort Mason. They were 4 for $3 and I mixed-matched chicken and cilantro filling with pork and leeks. One of the chicken ones was undercooked inside and still slimy even though well-browned. Nice enough for a market breakfast. The most interesting part was watching them being prepped and cooked in a big skillet. When the layer of dumplings pressed up next to each other is reversed and turned out of the pan, the carmelized bottom looks like tart tatin.

                            Yesterday was the last day for the restaurant in the Tenderloin. It's been sold.

                      3. intomeat RE: hhc May 24, 2010 08:00 AM

                        Beijing BBQ, for all intents and purposes, is closed. Officially sold to the new owners either today or at EOM. Folks at Beijing Restaurant refurbished this place solely for the purpose of reselling and making a quick profit.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: intomeat
                          BernalKC RE: intomeat May 24, 2010 10:49 AM

                          Wow. That was quick.

                          Closed as in, not open for business? Or as in, no longer called Beijing BBQ and no longer offering $1 BBQ skewers?

                          Or, more likely, sold to new owners who will keep the concept --muddled though it is by an overly-large, overly-generic menu.

                          If have no problem with the latter. The Beijing Restaurant couple/family may have identified an opportunity -- with a near void of Beijing cuisine locally and a growing Chinese immigrant community in the Excelsior -- and launched this business to a) make a quick buck and b) help/partner with another family in their community and/or c) plant a seed to shape and extend their market for N.Chinese cuisine. Pure speculation on my part. Curious story for sure.

                          1. re: BernalKC
                            intomeat RE: BernalKC May 24, 2010 01:02 PM

                            BR owners told me that the new establishment is totally separate and distict from BR. They're not even sure what type of cuisine will be serveed there, if it's going to be a restaurant. I guess it's all handled by brokers and the BR folks just want their $$ and don't care about anything else.

                            BTW, anything new at Bbbq you can get it at BR with the same price point. I'd say it's a roundabout, not to mention expensive, way of introducing new dishes at BR, but, aparently, it's financially beneficial.

                          2. re: intomeat
                            psb RE: intomeat Jul 5, 2010 05:43 PM

                            >Beijing BBQ, for all intents and purposes, is closed.
                            my understanding is the Beijing Resto people are opening a new branch in the upper sunset [~irving] in the 2month time frame ... same menu has the mothership resto.

                            1. re: psb
                              wineguy7 RE: psb Oct 20, 2010 05:18 PM

                              Mrs. Wineguy and I were at Beijing for dinner last night. The owner told me they are opening the new branch at Irving and 40th Av. in November.
                              BTW, we had the lamb skewers that she was pushing...great at $1.00 each! Very meaty with lots of cumin and chile flakes.

                              1. re: wineguy7
                                Pandora RE: wineguy7 Nov 11, 2010 08:27 PM

                                I think the Irving street location is now open - I received a menu in my door today - free delivery, which is exciting as the delivery options in the outer sunset are not that great. Will report back if I try it, but I have high hopes as I really enjoyed the Ocean Ave restaurant the one time I tried it.

                                ETA: They have a nice website with pictures that I wasn't aware of previously - www.beijingrestaurant.us

                          3. ChowFun_derek RE: hhc Oct 21, 2010 03:12 PM

                            Is this the location where the Specially ordered( from China)...Peking Duck oven is or will be??? if so... has it arrived, if so ...how is the duck???

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