Hong Kong Lounge II Opens On Geary [San Francisco]
Since my previous visit to San Francisco late last year, Hong Kong Lounge opened up a second branch on Geary, cleverly named Hong Kong Lounge II. In a way, it's the anti-Hong Kong Lounge. Small and sedate, I don't think it holds 50 people even if every table were fully occupied. Limited menu, too. I thought the food was pretty good, but it doesn't seem the same as the original. K K's been there and hasn't posted about it, so that tells you something. Street address is 3300 Geary Blvd., across from Mel's Drive In.
I've been going to HK Lounge II for dim sum about once every other month since it opened. It got off to a rocky start food wise but I feel like they have since stabilized and IMO the taste to wait time ratio is still more attractive than at the original. This past weekend, one of the servers mentioned that it had recently changed ownership and is no longer affiliated with the original HK Lounge. Dim sum still seemed quite consistent to prior visits. The two locations have always had slight differences in the non standard offerings, but am curious if anyone knows anything more about the transition.
They also recently converted an old laundrymat around the corner into another dining room. It's smaller and is even more basic in ambiance, but can seat another 20-25 people (five tables of varying size).
Interesting. I tried HK Lounge II for the first time a couple weeks ago. I much preferred this site --- cleaner, quieter, not so crowded --- though there was a line for tables when we left at 1pm. The food seemed quite similar to Hong Kong Lounge and Lai Hong Lounge to me.
Looking at liquor licenses, it seems that the original HK Lounge at 5322 Geary has new owners pending. The temporary permit and pending licensees are ZHEN, QIANYING and WU, YAODONG.
The licensee for HK Lounge II is still the same on the liquor license and haven't changed, ZHOU, MING LIAN.
Same licensee for Lai Hong Lounge, ZHOU, MING LIAN.
So I guess we should be asking what changes are afoot at the original Hong Kong Lounge.
re: Melanie Wong
re: Melanie Wong
i was with a party of six so we had a pretty good sampling. my favorites were:
spare ribs - particularly good on this visit, nice pieces with the bone and perfect balance of fat and meat
marinated chicken feet - served cold (prefer this over the fried braised version) on a bed of braised peanuts
cheong fun - ordered both shrimp and fish versions, former is better and i think the fish version is slightly breaded
ma lai gao (steamed sponge cake) - great rendition here. i've never noticed it with the two layered texture (reminiscent of bak tang gao) until this wknd
fried almond egg yolk ball - solid but have had better elsewhere
other solid items: siu mai, eggplant stuffed with shrimp paste, baked and steamed versions of bbq pork bun, ham soi gok (fried mochi pork filled dumplings - koi palace is still my gold standard for this dish though), fried taro dumplings, braised bean curd rolls.
a bit non standard but we love the deluxe rice roll which is served in a clay pot mixed with bbq pork, prawns, chinese mushrooms, roasted duck and pork liver. great flavor. this dish can err on being too greasy, but i didn't mind it.
couple months ago they had a pumpkin congee with shredded duck that was amazing. good balance of slightly sweet and salty. must be a seasonal item as i didn't notice it this weekend.
misses for me: scallion pancake (not traditional dim sum but original HK Lounge actually does a pretty good rendition), taro pancake (never seen this before elsewhere but wouldn't order again), fried daikon cubes with xo sauce (would prefer the more traditional daikon or taro cake which is good but nothing special here).
value here is great given the quality. our bill typically ranges from $13-20pp. on the higher end, it usually means we over-ordered and take away leftovers for snack.
re: Melanie Wong
My husband and I have mastered the "formula" to not over grossly over-ordering, which we used to do when coming earlier on (it's hard when you have to decide up front what you want vs. having carts!). For the 2 of us, we order 6 things and usually end up taking the extra bun and noodle home:
- Teriyaki beef & mushroom noodle: we really enjoy this! Their beef and mixed mushrooms are done so well with the noodle rolls in a heavy black pot. It's sizzling when it comes to the table. Very large portion for dim sum, we take home a full small box.
- Cheong fun w/shrimp
- Sui mai
- Har gao
- Baked BBQ pork bun: my fav thing at HKL! Surpasses all steamed BBQ pork buns ever.
- something else, which has varied from the mushroom bun, beef ball or the stick rice in leaf
For each person with your party, add another dish! So 4 people = 8 dishes. We never order the big noodle or rice dishes.
Mom and I had lunch here on July 17 after her doctor's appointment at St Mary's Med Center. It was a short drive down the hill and we were seated right away at 11:30am. By the time we left before 1pm, there was a short line waiting for tables.
As at Lai Hong Lounge, the har gow are very good.
Likewise, the talons of the phoenix, steamed sufficiently and infused with complex flavors,
Teochew fun gor were good too, but not as carefully prepared as the two times I've had them at Lai Hong Lounge,
Things that were edible but we wouldn't order again included:
Noodles with clam meat was served in a sizzling hot stone pot that overcooked the clams and turned the noodles to mush. Also, this was underflavored despite being very salty.
XO daikon cakes suffered from thick and oil-soaked batter. Good flavor, but too greasy to eat much of it.
Then in the spectacularly bad category, the egg puff was so hard and thick the only way to break off a piece was to whack the whole pastry against the plate to attempt to crack it. Of course, this was little use because the fractured shard was too tough to chew.
The menu is a bit smaller than LHL or HK Lounge by my eyeballing. But certainly more than enough variety to choose among. Like many Chinese places with wide-ranging menus, the trick is to find the few gems and avoid the pot holes. The trouble here and at LHL is that the low points are really, really down there. So, I'm just going to rely on others recs and not explore too much of the menu on my own as I don't have a great hit ratio. I'm sure we'll be back here again due to the convenience when we're in this part of town.
re: Melanie Wong
Yesterday at noon, there was a line with a 20 minute wait until we were seated immediately in the 'back room'.
The most delightful of dim sum was the pipa tofu, the mashed tofu and shrimp that looks like a deep-fried quenelle. It's tender and fluffy like a cloud of comfort. Notably it is much more delicious than our recent taste of pipa tofu at Cooking Papa in Foster City. Parking was easy.
Here's a link to our chowdown report,
Thanks to those of you who shared your favorites, it helped inform our ordering.
Also I had a chance to talk to the manager about the ownership shifts. He confirmed that the original Hong Kong Lounge has a new owner, and he also saw the irony of the original going off on its own and the founder keeping HKL II. He said that the staff at the original HKL stayed there, so I guess no cross-pollination to HKL II. He also said that Lai Hong Lounge in Chinatown had been sold. However, checking the ABC license data now, no change has been input yet. So all three are/will be under separate ownership and it will be interesting to see how they evolve and diverge.
HKL II is on opentable now for lunch reservations for larger parties and for dinner. With the addition of the new dining room, maybe dinner service and parties will be more of a priority.