Sea Garden next to Happy Bakery on Ocean Avenue [San Francisco]
Today - July 4th - is the Grand Opening for Sea Garden Restaurant on Ocean Avenue, next door to Happy Bakery & Deli. The line was out the door.
Hi. My parents were in town this weekend and we have driven by this place many times and decided to try it out for dim sum on saturday.
We arrived on satruday at 11:30 and asked for the dimsum menu (no cart service). We ordered 11 dishes off the menu, and the dimsum for the price was above average. (the total came to 40 dollars plus a tip) i thought the wrappers on the steamed dumplings were too thick for my personal taste, but my parents enjoyed them. The shrimp fillings were fresh and seemed to be purely shrimp and no added fish fillers. The pork siu mai was very good. We had rice crepe with cilantro which my parents loved, but i am allergic to cilantro, so i didn't try it. The steamed spareribs were very good. The egg rolls were supposedly excellent (but i dont like egg rolls, so i didn't have any) but my very favorite was something we ordered out of interest called "maggies bean curd skin roll". oh my god that was good! it was tightly wrapped tofu skin with chopped bits of shitake wrapped in it and then the whole roll steamed sliced up and fanned out on the plate and it was crazy delicous! I loved it. i will totally be back for that!
We also tried the standards we are familiar with and everything was good to excellent: gai lan, steamed pork buns, baked pork buns, har gow, shrimp noodle, stuffed eggplant (probably the worst thing on the table due ot the heavy oil content, but it was still good)
Most of the tables around us were ordering dim sum, but some tables were ordering full menu food that looked amazing. The table next to us ordered a soup that looked so fantastic i asked the waiter what it was ("salted pork bones with greens" he said) i grabbed a menu from the hostess and was looking for it on the menu, but couldn't find it. So i asked another waiter where the soup was on the menu and he said "not that menu" and came back with a chef special menu that had some amazing looking dishes on it. So of course, after persuing that menu we had to give dinner a try!
Oh, and when we left the restuarant at 12:30 ish almost every table upsatirs and down was full.
So, having had the dim sum and really enjoying it we of course had to go back on sunday night to try it out for dinner. And some of the chef specials. My husband is not so adventurous of an eater, so it was left up to my mom and dad I, and we ordered some standard fare: rock cod filet with veg, clams in wine sauce (which were awesome by the way) and dry fried beef chow fun (for the husband) and of course, the egg rolls again, which were deemed better at dinner as they are fatter for dinner so you can taste more filling. and we also ordered pea pod stems with tofu skin and debated a clay pot, that we had to eventually pass on, as it would have been just my father and i eating it. So here are my thoughts: The food is very fresh and the sauces are extrememly light. nothing was overwhelmingly gravy oriented, and even the thickened sauces were not so thick to be borderline gloppy. the food reminded me a lot of the cantonese food of my youth from the chinese restaurants on the east coast (boston and new york chinatowns have very different food than the chinatowns here in SF). When we arrived at the restaurant at 6 we had to wait for a table as the restaurant was hosting a baby shower and having a banquet in the upstairs section, and ALL of the large tables were reserved for family dinners! the food coming out of the kitchen was excellent, especially for the fact that they were hosting a banquet at the same time. the majority of what i saw ordered from other tables were anything served in broth and a ton of fish dishes (jelly fish, lobsters in ginger and scallion, whole steamed fishes, etc...) also,, and i haven't seen this on a menu in a while, they had beef steak in nest and the banquet up stairs was having it so i saw a lot of it go by from the kitchen and it looked excellent. Honestly, i wsh my brother had been with us so we could have ordered twice as much food!
so, that is that. it was delicous, i would recommend it. Also, even though the majority of staff doesn't speak english, they were still very accomadating and helpful with us when we just pointed at other tables to show us what we wanted on the menu. i always appreciate that!
If anyone else goes, i hope the experience is as enjoyable for you. i have seen mixed reviews on yelp, but i thought it was a very solid performance for two very different meals.
Take care all.
Thanks for this post. We went this morning and really enjoyed it.
Best items: salty egg yolk buns, turnip cakes, fried chicken wings, fried shrimp claws (?), steamed bbq pork buns. And really good mango pudding. Hong Kong style chow mein with seafood had very fresh fish and shrimp.
Dumplings were okay but we only had shrimp and chives and decent siu mai.
Service was friendly; they kept our tea pot full, brought forks for kids, etc. A huge feast for 4 adults and 3 kids came to ~$75 including tip.
I'd definitely go back and look forward to trying out their dinner options.