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Shandong Deluxe, San Francisco

I visited Shandong Deluxe yesterday to check out the noodles. (I did a blog post, which I won't link because it's verboten to do so). Bottom line is big portions, fresh house-made (but not hand-pulled) noodles. Jiaozi are entirely hand-made and probably worth checking out.

There are two Xinjiang Uyghur standards on the noodle menu, Xinjiang Da Pan Ji (surprising that it's on the noodle portion of the menu) and Xinjiang Ban Mian (a. k. a. lagman). The latter is identified in English as "Sam Sun Noodles," which is very confusing because Sam Sun noodles are a Korean dish.

Here's the noodle menu:

 
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  1. Hey, soupcon, it's okay to put your blog URL in the signature per CH etiquette page: "There is a location for your blog information in your user profile. You may also announce your web site or blog via a one-line "sig" beneath your postings which includes the URL of the main page and (optionally) the name of the blog. There is no automated way to do this -- you must type it on each post where you wish to include it." If you did that, we could search for your entry on Shandong Dx :-).

    2 Replies
    1. re: grayelf

      Thanks. We'll see how long this sticks around.

      Full Noodle Frontity http://noodlefrontity.blogspot.com/

      1. re: soupçon

        I think it's okay to do that but here's the permalink to the bit about blogger etiquette in case you want to have a read through it: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3676...

    2. Thanks to your recommendation I tried this place tonight. Got the Lagman noodles. Quite a surprise as they gave off a strong "italian food" vibe. Choice of lamb or beef. Picked lamb. The pieces of lamb, though not as pervasive as I would have hoped, were really tasty. Onions, mushrooms, bellpepper rounded things out. Sauce is tomato based. Noodles were very firm.
      Vegetarian dumpling were good. Greens blended with tofu(?). Not overly garlicky as some vegetarian dumplings can be.
      Lamb skewers were the hit of the night. Great pepper/cumin spice mixture. 4 large skewers for $6.50. Only a little fat, and what was there was delicious. Definitely like these more than at San Dong House.
      Catch was, it was freezing inside the restaurant and our food got cold almost immediately.

      Lagman noodles:
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/10201385...
      Lamb Skewers
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/10201385...

      2 Replies
      1. re: kairo

        I returned for lunch today to try the Xinjiang Ban Mian myself, also choosing the lamb. It was a huge portion for one person, really big enough for two. I got the tomato sauce vibe too, and only wished it had been made spicier. (It's hard to distribute chili oil throughout a "dry" noodle dish after the fact).

        The skewers look great. I'm convinced there must be a Xinjiangren on the team, though I haven't yet figured out who. They all look Han to me.

        http://noodlefrontity.blogspot.com/

        1. re: soupçon

          My husband and I went tonight per soupcon's recommendations and it was fantastic. We had the lamb xinjiang ban mian as well, with an order of shrimp and pork (steamed) dumplings. We were very full, all for $17 with tip.

          We sat by the door and didn't have an issue with the restaurant being cold... So maybe it was just a weird cold night when you went, kairo?

          We're definitely going to come back and try the other noodle dishes. I like the surprise of not knowing what to expect!

      2. Went back with a larger group. We shared the Xinjiang Da Pan Ji. This is a large plate of diced tender bone in chicken (the chicken seemed freshly cooked and was not dried out), potatoes, a little bell pepper, whole dried chili peppers and large chunks of ginger and garlic. Tons of flavor in the sauce. It's sweet. It's spicy. It's a bit numbing. A good amount of peppercorns that though shared similarity to szechuan peppercorns seemed a little less numbing and oddly reminiscent of juniper berries. Oh and it's on a bed of thick wide wheat noodles. I loved it. It may be 19.99, but it was very large and was a perfect portion to split between 4 people.

        Also tried the "Beef Pancake". I really enjoyed this. It was not thin. Half inch thick maybe. Seemed to be made from layers of dough and ground beef. The irregularity of the thickness of the dough was a plus in my book. The best part was that it was fried to a crisp on the outside yet quite juicy on the inside. Yet another large portion. My friend commented that it tasted oddly European. I've had various kinds of Chinese beef pies over the years, and these were quite distinct.

        Had the pork and green chives dumplings and they were a hit as well. I'm not as picky about dumpling skins as some folks on here, so I can't ever claim to vouch for them, but the fillings were some of the more flavorful I've had.

        Had to get the lamb skewers again. I can't handle spicy food at all, and these are definitely on a threshold of pleasure/pain for me but I can't imagine not getting them. As long as they keep making them the same way, they will always remind me of spending New Years eve in Lijiang in Yunnan China.

        Oh. and it wasn't as cold, so the food stayed warmer (also probably ate faster as I was with a small group.)

        Definitely same owners as San Dong House and Dong Bei Mama.
        In my opinion, it is way better than San Dong House (who were great for a short while). Kind of a merging of the two places. (Saw the owner of those places eating with staff here)
        I hope they keep up the quality and the giant portions.

        Sorry about the lack of pictures. I get too excited and always forget.

        1. Just a note -- I went by there hoping for bowl of noodles for lunch today and found out they are open for dinner only on Monday and Tuesday. Or, as the sign on the door said, "17:00-9:30"

          3 Replies
          1. re: soupçon

            That seems like a typo on their part. I was there just on Friday night.
            Most likely they are closed Monday and Tuesday at some point.

            1. re: kairo

              Sorry for the confusion. I meant that on Monday and Tuesday they are open for dinner but not for lunch. They are open for dinner every night.

            2. re: soupçon

              Mrs. Wineguy and I dropped in today, Tuesday, for lunch. The menu states they are open 7 days, 11:00 AM-9:30 PM. We loved our lunch and will definitely return.
              We ordered the Lamb Skewers, addictive, and made me crave a cold beer (which they don't serve). Pork Dumplings with Spinach were very plump and juicy. The wrappers seemed a little gummy, maybe from too long in the steamer? Beef Pan Cake was crisp, thick, rich and meaty. Lamb Noodle was great as it is getting cold today. Chunks of lamb, pieces of bok choy and slices of shiitake as well as toothsome noodles in a very lamb-y broth.
              I didn't notice if anyone posted this information in this thread, but the restaurant is cash only.

            3. Sunday lunch time at Shandong Deluxe turned out to be a full house.

              tried the fish steam dumplings, 12 big ones the size of potsitckers.(6.95) they had a slight fish taste with some chives. not a dumpling fan, it tasted ok.

              lamb noodles(6.95)

              -had fresh tasting pieces of lamb, veggies, some noodles.

              -broth mixture of star anise, szechwan mustard and msg flavorings

              -noodles supposedly hand pulled were very tender, not chewy, no elasticity.

              specialiies posted on window: xiao long bao, steam dumplings, won ton soups, hand pulled noodles, small plates, northern style, shandong breads, etc.

              noticed portions were big.

              1. Back again today, this time for the Chao Ma Mian (a. k. a. jjamppong). Great noodles and huge portions as before, toppings included shrimp, octopus, cuttle-fish, pork, chicken, cabbage etc. in a mildly spicy broth.

                Contrary to some reports, the server Jenny says they are not connected with any other restaurant, and I don't see any similarities between Shandong Deluxe and the other two mentioned.

                They now have paper takeaway menus and have improved the translations on some items. I scanned it and am providing a link (it's six pages).

                http://goo.gl/6SFo5

                http://noodlefrontity.blogspot.com/

                 
                4 Replies
                1. re: soupçon

                  That is really odd that she denies the connection. All 3 times I've gone (I eat out too much) the owner of those other two restaurants has been seated at the back table talking with the staff and drinking tea. Maybe he's no longer involved with Dong Bei and San Dong. He was at one time really friendly with me so I should just ask him about it.

                  Got the Beef Pancake again. Not quite as "crispy" as last time... a bit chewier, but still pretty good and too my tastes, fairly unique. Lamb and squash dumpling was fine and fish dumpling a bit too mild. Favorite still is pork and chive.

                  1. re: kairo

                    According to tasting table, the owner/chef is Mr. Wong, formerly of King of Noodles : http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_det...

                    That might explain Dave MP's observation below that the dumplings were similar to Kingdom of Dumpling, which has the same owner as King of Noodles.

                    1. re: kairo

                      Kairo, I think you were confusing Shandong Deluxe with Shandong House (now Xi'an Gourmet) which is jointly owned with Dongbei Mama)

                      1. re: davidg1

                        Definitely understand why you'd say that, but I'm pretty diligent with my Chinese restaurant info (or was especially then... had to cut back on noodle/dumpling because of a gluten intolerance diagnosis.)
                        It was probably just some strange coincidence that the Dong Bei / Shandong House guy was hanging out at Shandong Deluxe but since he was at a back table where the staff were prepping dumplings, it seemed like he was involved business-wise.

                  2. After reading this discussion, I ended up trying this place for a late lunch last weekend. Sorry I wasn't able to post until now.

                    Pork and radish dumplings were plump and juicy, though the filling didn't taste much different from a pork and cabbage dumpling (and I wondered if that's what we actually got?). Still, skins were good, and the dumplings reminded me of Kingdom of Dumpling...I thought quality was about the same.

                    Xinjiang Ban Mian was good, but not as good as I was hoping for. The noodles themselves, which are hand-rolled in the back of the restaurant, had a nice bite, and the serving was very generous. Lamb pieces were tender, but I was hoping for more of a lamb stew-like sauce....instead, it was a quick stir-fry of thinly sliced lamb, and then some spices and tomatoes and peppers. We asked for our dish to be spicy, and what came out appeared to be a normal version mixed in with Sriracha sauce, which I found disappointing, though there also was a bit of sichuan peppercorn in the noodle dish. I was hoping this dish would be an A, but I think it was probably only a B for me, compared to other versions of this dish that I've had in China and London.

                    Service was a bit haphazard (though it was an off hour), but I really want to like this place, so I'm definitely hoping to return soon.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Dave MP

                      We went yesterday. My wife Jing talked to the owners as they were making the noodles in back. The woman said that she ran a restaurant in Urumqi in Xinjiang for 10 years. We enjoyed the noodle dish a lot, though I agree it could have used more spice. The onion pancakes were good too. Our lamb kebabs had a taste we both found odd and unpleasant - we thought there might be something wrong with the meat and did not eat it, though the lamb with the noodles was fine. I enjoyed the meal and would come back, though.

                      1. re: Martin Strell

                        The first time I went there shortly after it opened, I went to the restroom through the narrow hallway near the register... They had the lamb skewers (raw) placed on a table in the back near the restrooms. Just sitting there in bulk. Since then I haven't ordered the lamb skewers, despite people claiming it's one of the best items, because they just left raw meat on a table near the restroom with no fridge!

                        However, I love everything else I have had here and come back often :)

                        1. re: bobabear

                          In china, you'll just see a pile of them out at a street vendor, likely will sit for hours and hours. Meat should be aged, and it's then cooked over the charcoal. That's what fire's all about!

                          1. re: bbulkow

                            street vendors who grill meat skewers are often using meats that have been steeped in bacteria-suppressing marinades. the other big variable for the bacterial growth vectors of course is temperature. a health inspector who sees raw meat, not immediately getting cooked and being left unrefrigerated, might do two things -- take a temperature of the meat sitting out, and explain why he's throwing out the meat (because he won't know how long the meat has been above the permitted level), or just throw it out.

                            1. re: moto

                              I've never seen a street vendor inspector in China, how frequently do they come around? In China, are these regional standards, or national?

                    2. Had lunch at Shandong Deluxe yesterday. They are closed for lunch on Monday and Tuesday.

                      A table of four split the following (these may not be the exact dish names on the menu):

                      Cucumber salad: smashed cucumbers with lots of vinegar and garlic. I love this stuff.
                      Bean curd noodle salad: not as flavorful as I would have liked, but not bad.
                      Chicken soup noodles: Irregular, long, handmade looking noodles with the perfect texture, in a delicate clear broth with wisps of chicken breast, a few pieces of bok choy, and slices of shiitake. Perfect for a cold day.
                      Chicken "chow mein": We ordered a noodle dish by pointing to another table. This also featured the irregular hand pulled noodles, but we were not expecting it to be spicy. Great wok flavor.
                      Pan fried buns: Crisply browned top and bottom, small puffy buns with tasty meat filling.

                      A very satisfying lunch. The prices are exceedingly reasonable and the deliciously chewy noodles are a definite highlight. The place was full during lunch and everyone looked happy. Will be returning often.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sumimao

                        Kingdom of Dumpling (related restaurant, see above) tends to use way too many bean sprouts in their "chow mein." What was the noodle to bean sprout ratio like at Shandong Deluxe?

                        1. re: hyperbowler

                          No bean sprouts in any of the dishes we had. IIRC, there were slivers of carrot, napa cabbage, and pieces of scallion as well as strips of chicken in the "chow mein" (still not sure what the menu name is).

                      2. Hand-cranked noodles
                        Spanish Mackerel Dumpling
                        Irrigation Soup Steamed Buns

                        1 Reply
                        1. Tried this place again tonight.

                          Dry fried string beans were salty from the preserved vegetables. No meat. Hot and tasty and not too greasy, but not quite as complex a flavor as other versions in town.

                          Zha ziang mian is made with hand pulled noodles, and I was curious to compare it with House of Pancakes, one block away. My verdict is that House of Pancakes definitely has Shandong beat when it comes to this dish. The version at Shandong was a bit more gloopy, with larger chunks of bland tofu, small bits of pork, some pieces of green bean (looked like the same pieces that had been dry frie, but cup up), and some onion. Not a bad version of this dish, just not super special. I'd probably get the Xinjiang noodles again next time.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Dave MP

                            Here's a photo of the noodles

                             
                            1. re: Dave MP

                              The Korean versions of this dish tend to be as black as what's in your picture. Is that just the lighting, or did the taste match up to that as well? Either way, good to know the ZZM at HOP is worth it!

                            2. Mrs. Wineguy and I were going to go for lunch yesterday (Wednesday) around 2 PM. The line for a table was out the door and onto the sidewalk. We didn't want to wait in the rain, so skipped it. I'm pleased to see that Shandong Deluxe is popular!

                              1. Lamb skewers -- fragrant, not too spicy, could have used more char, but were excellent

                                Off menu wall special -- numbing spicy cabbage ( 麻辣白菜 , only wall item not translated ) for $5.95. Nice side dish containing cabbage, cucumber, peanuts, and sichuan peppercorns.

                                Xinjiang noodles. The noodles themselves were fantastic. Great chew. The posters above have characterized the sauce as having a "tomato sauce vibe." For me, it had the vibe of the Chinese food my mom would cook. Celery was the dominant flavor, and mixed with green pepper and onion, this dish struck me as a dead ringer for the pepper steak in "the Art of Jewish Cooking," only based on tender lamb instead of the leathery beef my mother would wind up with. There were also white mushrooms and unripe tomatoes. I'm not sure I'd recommend this dish to anyone, but the mixture of good noodles and nostalgia provided few leftovers.

                                 
                                 
                                 
                                3 Replies
                                1. re: hyperbowler

                                  My friends (who both have experience with Uighur dishes in Beijing and Xinjiang itself) did not care for the lagman at all and said it tasted almost nothing like the versions they were familiar with. They did, however, enjoy the big plate chicken.

                                  (FWIW, I thought the lagman was OK but wouldn't go out of my way for it; however, I don't have any reference point like my friends did.)

                                  1. re: bigwheel042

                                    Yeah, re-reading what I wrote previously in this discussion, I agree that the noodle dish tasted really different than the Xinjiang noodle dishes I have eaten in Beijing and London.

                                    I still need to get back there and try the big plate chicken!

                                    1. re: Dave MP

                                      Thanks for the insights! That's what we get for ordering the Xinjiang noodles at a place called "Shandong Deluxe" :-)

                                      Dave, did you witness the noodle pulling technique? I thought I saw a metal bowl of coiled up dough, similar to what's at House of Pancakes, on the chef's counter but didn't see any action.

                                      Leftovers didn't fare very well, but sauce from the numbing cabbage made a good dressing for mixed greens. Incidentally, the tiny portion of leftover noodles made me aware that the sauce had some heat to it, but I didn't notice Sichuan peppercorn.

                                2. Following up on the info above that the owner used to work at Kind of Noodles, I compared two old menus side by side. The majority of the menus are identical.

                                  Comparing their old menus... not on King of Noodles menu but on Shandong Deluxe:
                                  A18 Five spices fish (Shandong five spices smoked fish)
                                  A22 Tofu with preserved egg
                                  B3 Fish dumpling (Spanish mackeral)
                                  B16 Fennel dumpling
                                  C6 Pork fried cake (rou chao bing )
                                  E7 Comb. spicy seafood, chicken, pork noodle (chao ma mian, aka jampon )
                                  E12 Pork and fungus in egg flower sauce noodle (dai lu mian)
                                  E19 Lamb noodle
                                  E20 Chicken noodle
                                  F3 Flour drop soup (geda tang)
                                  H2 Polished pan cake (dessert: glutinous rice jian bing)
                                  Some wok dishes, including dry cooked chicken wings

                                  And some Northwestern dishes
                                  A16 Lamb skewers
                                  C3 Fried crush noodles (ding ding chao mian )
                                  E2 Xinjiang style chicken with noodle (XInjiang big plate chicken)
                                  E3 XInjian noodle (lamb, beef, pork)

                                  Okay, that's for a start. Since I last ate there Shandong Deluxe added these items to the menu, some from Shaanxi:
                                  E1 Xian cold noodle (xian ma jiang liang pi)
                                  E4 Marinated meat in baked bun (rou jia mo)
                                  E5 Mutton stewed noodle (yangrou huimian)
                                  E6 Mutton and bread pieces in lamb soup (yangrou paomo)

                                  There's also a bunch of other dishes. Are all of these of Shandong and northeast origin?
                                  A20 Cold spicy napa
                                  A21 Cold cauliflower with dried bean (拌花菜) (no cauliflower, this is really a cold salad of bean curd sticks http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/966672 and http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/981311 )
                                  B14 Pork, shrimp, and green chives dumpling
                                  B15 Pork, shrimp, and cucumber dumpling
                                  B17 Crab meat dumpling
                                  B18 Green pepper pork dumpling
                                  B19 Cuttlefish dumpling
                                  B20 Sea cucumber dumpling
                                  B21 Sea snail with chives and pork dumpling
                                  E13 seafood 3 flavor noodles (shrimp, conch, squids
                                  )I1 Vegetable pork bao
                                  12 Vegetable pao (vegetarian bao)
                                  I3 Steam bread (mantou)

                                  1. A17 Shandong style marinated chicken : Ok. Pieces of bone-in chicken in a marinade tasting like five spice powder or star anise. Lots of loose bone shards.

                                    A21 Cold cauliflower with dried bean (拌花菜) : no cauliflower, this is really a cold salad of bean curd sticks, whole peanuts, shredded potatoes, cucumber, and a sour/spicy sauce. I prefer the version across the street at Made in China ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9666... ). The veggies in SD's version were cut into strips so fine you lose sight of what you're eating and the contrasting textures. Also, the bean curd sticks weren't hydrated enough.

                                    I've had mixed success introducing my (Jewish) family to non-Chinese-American dishes, but I think I've finally found some items they'd like:

                                    B19 Cuttlefish dumpling (shui jiao) : very tasty and good wrappers. The ground fish filling was milder than I was expecting, in a good way. The Chinese chives (leeks maybe) added enough oomph that these didn't need a condiment.

                                    C3 Fried crush noodles (ding ding chao mian ). For this dish, hand-pulled noodles are chopped into, maybe, 1/2" pieces and served in a soupy sauce that got fully absorbed by the next day. The sauce was like a chopped up version of what's in their Xinjiang noodles--- lamb, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and white mushrooms and a tiny amount of heat. The sauce is one of the least exciting things I can imagine ordering at a restaurant. But excitement and Seasonal California cuisine be damned-- this dish fuses flavors of my childhood (Jewish, Chinese American, and Italian American) and is delicious for it.

                                    All the components are cut pretty small, which keeps things in balance better than in the Xinjiang noodle. This dish was more enjoyable with a spoon/fork than with chopsticks.

                                     
                                     
                                     
                                     
                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: hyperbowler

                                      I had a very similar reaction to the ding ding chao mian at Shandong Deluxe. It's a Silk Road dish whose flavors come more from the Mediterranean end than the China end.

                                    2. Had a taste of some take-out last week from here. The xinjiang noodles made with lamb had some clumsy veggies and unripe tomatoes with thinly sliced lamb that had no sense of having touched wok at all. The noodles had softened in the 15 minutes before it arrived to me, or perhaps never did have any chew. Though I pushed the veggies and meat aside, especially the yucky near-raw mushrooms, I did like the flavor that those elements plus a ton of garlic infused in the noodles. This dish also seemed under-noodled to me with too much bad vegetables floating around.

                                      And I tried the "cauliflower" dish, my first encounter with this prep and liked it very much. No problem with the hydration of the tofu skins but maybe I like them firmer than most. I'd order this again.