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Nov 15, 2011 07:57 AM

Ga ga Seafood, Chinatown.

In my quest to maintain my record of trying every Ctown restaurant, I've been to Ga Ga Seafood (Tyler near Kneeland) for lunch. Despite the silly name, it serves a good inexpensive lunch. Their lunch specials including soup and appetizer for $4.95 was an incredible opening deal but their current lunch which does not include appetizer is a remarkable $4.50. I had the well prepared fried fish fillet with tofu and scallions on rice with a chicken corn soup. This place and the lunch special at Jade Garden across the street may keep me from ever brown bagging again.

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  1. Went there for dinner last night. Although many places in Ctown had lines out the door, Ga Ga was less than half full. One plus in winter- it was nicely heated and it's up a flight of stairs, so it doesn't get cold drafts of wind like some of the smaller places.

    Another poster mentioned that the roasted squab was a favorite, so we ordered that. It was good, but not too exciting. I think I just prefer squab cooked med rare, and this was a crispy, well done version. Of course the squab I've had in the past that I really liked cost 3x more at a fancy chef-driven restaurant.

    On the wall, there were a bunch of specials that the owner patiently translated for us. I remember one was twin lobsters, another was a pork blood dish, and unfortunately now I can't remember most of the others. But one sounded good and turned out to be slices of surf clams stir fried with lots of thick chives and ground pork. The clams were not 'clammy' like cherrystones or steamers- they were more like squid body in texture. They were tender and sweet and the dish overall was quite tasty.

    We also had the seafood combination soup, which was a thickened clear soup chock full of small pieces of fish, lobster claw and maybe some fake crab. It hit the spot on a cold night, but it wasn't mind-blowing.

    The owner was very nice and described all the live fish and seafood they have available. The staff is pleasant too, and if you were wondering, yes, the background music does seem to include lots of Lady GaGa!

    I suggested that they have a translation of their specials so those of us who can't read Chinese can order those too. The owner said it was his experience that non-Chinese really only want the chicken fingers, etc anyhow. Perhaps there are other hounds out there to prove that wrong! They're worth a try.

    1 Reply
    1. re: silver queen

      FYI surf clams are usually sliced at chinese restaurants. Texture is indeed squid/calamari like...a bit al dente...

    2. I tried this place for lunch on Friday when I was in town, and though the price was certainly right and my soup was tasty, the fish I got in the lunch special tasted pretty musty and sort of bad. Maybe I caught them on a bad day or something, but it was pretty awful.

      8 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          no, I was there at lunch so I just ordered the filet + tofu lunch special referenced in gourmaniac's post. probably best to stick with the fresh killed there, i guess, because whatever they used for the special was nasty. though with the plethora of options in that area, I doubt I'll get around to giving them another go...

          1. re: passing thru

            I find it's a good idea to ask what the fish is before ordering. Tilapia is pretty commonly used in Chinatown these days, and some of it is farm-raised, unpleasant stuff, which sounds like what you got. I think the live-tank stuff at Gaga is great, but it is pricier.


            1. re: MC Slim JB

              asking first would sure be the thing to do. I think it was tilapia, which honestly I don't even mind all that much as long as it doesn't taste like a moldy basement like this one did. for a 5$ lunch I wasn't really prepared to squawk so much (and also didn't expect haute cuisine) so it's entirely possible that it was just a one-off botch job--but for a first time trying out a place it was sort of disappointing.

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  all I can say is that I've eaten tilapia a lot. and while I know the slightly "muddy" taste is something that puts people off, I've always been OK with the fish in general. The fish I got on friday at gaga I would describe as different than my general experience with the species, tasting more like something moldy or musty--not horribly overpowering, but noticeable enough to be unpleasant.

                2. re: passing thru

                  ok, writing this down ,

                  dont order "papa's-in- the-basement" at lady wait...that cant be right...

              1. re: passing thru

                Haven't been in a while but have ordered that dish a few times (cheap and reasonably healthy). Certainly not as tasty as fish from the tanks but it wasn't off. sorry for your experience. Not sure how this place is doing business-wise and a drop in freshness is always a bad sign that they are cutting corners. I hope it's an aberration and not the start of a trend.

          2. I know it's been 2-3 years now since the fire closed this place down, but is there any word on a possible reopening? Or a possible new restaurant in this space? I loved this place...