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Aug 8, 2012 09:14 PM

Cooking Papa coming to San Bruno?

I was at the Foster City location this evening and I noticed the doggie bag listed a new location in San Bruno: 271 El Camino Real, San Bruno.

My server said it wasn't open yet and didn't know when it would open (permits, renovation, etc.). However, it appears that address is the former Lee's Buffet.

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  1. There's also one in Santa Clara on Homestead Avenue. Drove by it the other day and thought, "What a weird name for a restaurant". Just looked at the menu on line and it's clearly Chinese food. Is it good, and what do you recommend?

    7 Replies
    1. re: letsindulge

      Cooking Papa is a popular pair of HK-style cafes. They've been extensively covered on Chowhound, and generally speaking, the food is quite good and relatively cheap.

      Pretty much everything on their recommendations page is a safe bet - the crispy pork, Peking Duck, braised beef brisket, chicken fish cakes, sa yung, etc.

      1. re: Jon914

        Thanks Jon, I will make a point to give it a try

        1. re: letsindulge

          I swung by just last night and had the Peking Duck, Beef Brisket Lo Mein and a few other things.

          Peking Duck is really a roast duck with the skin sliced off the meat, but it's well-executed each time, with little to no fat left on the crispy skin. There are many ways this can go wrong (bony duck, overseasoned, fat left on skin), but Cooking Papa has only disappointed me once in the dozen or more times I've ordered this dish.

          Beef Brisket is done the right way, sliced flat like you see over noodles. You can also order the same brisket alone, inside a clay pot with turnip, or inside curry (yum!).

          1. re: Jon914

            Were you in Foster City or has the San Bruno location opened?

              1. re: Jon914

                Thanks for keeping us updated on the best dishes.

            1. re: Jon914

              Hard to beat the Foster CIty location right on the water with big windows. Meant to post after a visit 10 days ago.

              They have a long and unusual list of rice rolls (cheung fun 蒸腸粉). We had a delicious order with bitter melon and chicken. As others have noted the Hong Kong style barbecue is excellent. The pork belly barbecue with a big crispy skin was fabulous. And an order of XLB was very fine.

              It is also fun to watch the videos that show chefs in their kitchen preparing the various specialities. There is a very informative bit on making XLBs in case you ever wondered how they get the liquid inside -- it isn't liquid and it doesn't look iced, seems jellied when they stuff the XLB.

              With those 3 dishes and friendly service, we got out of there for well under $50, but we don't drink beer at lunchtime.

      2. In picking up takeout from Cooking Papa Foster City, I asked the waiter about San Bruno, and it turned out the boss / owner was there too, who confirmed that the San Bruno location is still getting permits for remodeling, a potential 10 month project. So don't expect CP SB to open until sometime next year. It is likely the executive chef will have to then rotate between 3 locations to train chefs.

        How do you spot the boss? He's the one chatting up with regular customers, and has a pot belly.