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Aug 31, 2010 08:54 PM

Lunching on Sui Gow and Lobster Noodles at Brother Seafood Restaurant (San Francisco)

My mom was back in the City again on Monday for a doctor’s appointment. Thanks to this spotting of Brother Seafood Restaurant by Jonathan Kauffman , I had a ready target for lunch. Opened a month ago by New Hing Lung’s owner, Brother is housed in the former Go Go Cafe.

I’d been to Go Go before for inexpensive late night eats. Brother Seafood has cleaned up the venue considerably. White table cloths (topped with white paper during lunch), natural light streaming through the sparkling clean large windows, and this elaborate nine dragon (Kowloon) carving on the long wall.

Prices on the printed menu (150+ items) are pretty low with most dishes in the $6 to $8 range. Unlike New Hing Lung, there’s no dim sum service. A white board has some higher priced specials in Chinese.

Banquet menus

Wo choy menus

New shiny restaurant = Expensive in my thrifty mother’s mental math. This made her a little wary when we approached the entrance. Then I pointed to the wontons listed at $4 on the menu posted in the window and she agreed to try Brother.

Mom ordered the Shrimp dumpling (sui gow) noodles in soup, $4. Perfectly cooked thin and bouncy noodles, six large dumplings filled with shrimp and pork, a scattering of scallions, and some poached iceberg lettuce underneath. Her only complaint was that the soup was not that tasty even after adding more salt. At this rock bottom price, the serving size was pretty generous and we packed up her leftover noodles to take home.

I tried the Lobster noodles, $12.95, made with huge amount of cho mein (wide noodles) and a good size, whole lobster with two full-grown claws. This could easily serve two, and I had a big portion of noodles leftover. The lobster had been carefully chopped into serving size pieces at angles that made it easy to access all the sweet flesh. The wide egg noodles had plenty of snap and the savory juices seasoned with scallions and long thin slices of young ginger were delicious to the last drop. The lighter, almost soupy composition of the saucing made for some messiness turning this into a four-napkin undertaking.

With only six other customers during the time we were there, we had plenty of attention from the two staff. Change of plates, extra napkins, tea cups refilled, and leftovers boxed up for us.

Of note, the posted hours are 10AM to 1AM, daily. With a dozen congee selections, priced at $4 each, Brother Seafood could become the spot in the Sunset for a late night snack. Mom probably won’t be here after midnight but she does want to return.

New Hing Lung
1556 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122

Brother Seafood Restaurant
1830 Irving St., San Francisco, CA

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  1. "A white board has some higher priced specials in Chinese."

    From left to right (where they have a /lb for fresh seafood, it's name your own way of preparation


    Signature empress chicken
    Rose (rose wine I assume) yellow fur chicken
    Ginger scallion (not sure what that cooking character is next) Juk fish (carp?)
    live shrimp
    live geoduck
    live grouper/rock cod? (sek ban) or whatever it is called in English these days
    Cabazon two way (sek gau gong)
    golden sand pumpkin crab (probably pumpkin and salted egg yolk batter fried crab)
    roasted squab
    roasted quail
    lobster lo mein
    San Woo shrimp (corral shrimp?)
    catfish (tong sut)

    2 Replies
    1. re: K K

      KK, thanks a bunch!!!

      I'll mention that the lobster noodles can be made with yee mein for an extra $2.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        First 2 items ($7.50) priced for half
        #8 thru #11, #14 are priced each, the rest are per pound
        #3 preparation is a stew (ginger scallion fish)
        #12 is coral shrimp
        #12 thru #14 are also live

    2. thanks, Melanie. I'll be lunching there with my mom soon!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Cynsa

        The next time i go, I think I'll bring my own container and get an order of jook to go for another day.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          They have plastic tubs for to go orders of soups & jook.

          1. re: L C

            Yes, they do. I try to use my own to reduce container proliferation and because they're more secure. Thanks for the additional menu details!

      2. Thanks for the report. Go Go had been there for quite a while, but I guess time marches on.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Chandavkl

          The last time I peeked into Go Go, not too long before it gave up the ghost, it had a handwritten menu of Shanghainese dishes as lunch specials. But there was no one inside at prime lunch time.

        2. Those shrimp dumplings and the lobster look great. Although I normally don't care for photos taken in restaurants, yours are always so good. We have about 36 hours in SF next week and will try to fit this in; maybe congee for breakfast. Thanks for a great review.

          1. Brother Seafood is back on my radar again after a dim sum chowdown here in October.

            Mom and I returned for another lunch three weeks ago. We revisited the tofu skins with pea shoots, $4.50, we'd liked so much from the dim sum menu. Also from the dim sum check-off menu, the jin dui (sesame balls), $2, turned out to be very good. Not so thin, but very crisp shells and filled with lotus seed paste rather than bean. Mom had the wonton soup, $5, and she pronounced it very good too. The wontons were pretty highly seasoned almost tasting like cured pork.

            I had noticed another table ordering a round of giant surf clams, one for each person. Rather than simply steamed on the half shell, I had mine poached in jook. The texture of the jook was quite creamy with plump grains of swollen rice, indicating it was fresh. Not too thin, not too thick.

            Though not visible from the surface, digging underneath uncovered enough pieces that I felt that indeed an entire giant clam had been sacrificed for this $8.50 order. Adding a shake of white pepper was all that was needed to round out the clean live seafood flavors accented with scallions and fresh ginger. In Goldilock's terms, this one was just right.

            FWIW, my mother liked the jin dui so much, we went back the next day to get some for her to take home to Salinas.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              My wife LOVES Jin Dui, and says that if the skins are too thin, it won't be able to successfully hold enough sweet bean paste to be satisfying. The thicker skins make them a bit better balanced, particularly if they have a greasy surface.