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LY Garden (outer sunset district) [San Francisco]

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Spinal Tap Jan 13, 2013 07:18 PM

My family and I have been to this newly opened restaurant on Noriega St. between 20th and 21st AVE. It serves Hong Kong style cafe food mainly. It's a family owned place with the husband as the chef and the wife working as waitress.

We've tried dishes from most of the categories of food from the menu. I can honestly say that I like them all. I'm not a fan of the Hong Kong cafe dishes like baked pork chops in spaghetti, but theirs was pretty good. It came with 3 thin pork chops seasoned nicely with a bowl of tomatoey sweet and sour sauce on the side.

My favorite dishes were the pan fried homestyle rice noodles and the dried fried string beans with olives. The noodles had good wok hay and the flavors were well balanced. The combination of bean sprouts, sliced onions, green onions and various match stick sized meats were in just the right proportion to eveything.

The string beans are my favorite version anywhere. The chinese olives add a distinct flavor that went so well with the minced meat. I liked the small chunks of carrots that added the light sweetness.

The other dish that I liked alot was the salt fish, chicken and tofu claypot. The problem with that dish was I had to eat rice with it and I ate way too much rice.

They have a special deal where 3 dishes with rice and soup is only $21.99. We added a noodle dish and a couple others and our family of 6 ate for $50. I hope they stick around.

LY Garden
1310 Noriega St.

  1. j
    jaiko Jan 14, 2013 09:25 AM

    Thanks for the tip, will check it out.

    Noriega between 20th & 21st Avenues is Central or Mid-Sunset, though?

    2 Replies
    1. re: jaiko
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      shanghaikid Jan 14, 2013 10:58 AM

      20th Ave would be a block from the 19th ave that divides sunset. sounds mid to me.

      1. re: shanghaikid
        w
        wally Jan 14, 2013 12:46 PM

        When i used to live in the area, west of 19th was outer but that was a long time ago.

    2. a
      acvr5 Jan 19, 2013 11:08 AM

      S.O. and I visited last night. Located on a block with many other restaurants. Ordered the stir fried string beans which were great. Not too greasy, fair amount of minced pork I think. Also had the clay pot tofu infused with delicious salted fish also cubes of chicken. No MSG after effect noted. Friendly service. Deserves more customers given pricing and quality of food. Will return most definitely.

      1 Reply
      1. re: acvr5
        Melanie Wong Jan 23, 2013 12:22 PM

        acvr5, thanks for coming out of "retirement" to post again. I've been thinking about those beans since Spinal Tap first reported. It seems that since seared string beans have become such a popular and ubiquitous dish, hardly anyone makes a proper "four season beans" including olives these days.

      2. Dave MP Jan 25, 2013 09:14 AM

        After reading this discussion, I went to this place last night. The dining room is very no-frills, with bright lighting, so it feels sort of like a cafeteria. The menu is large, and contains some pictures, and as Spinal Tap says, there was a single server (who I assume is the owner).

        The meal started with a complimentary soup of the day, which was a pork broth with pieces of bone-on pork, daikon, and carrot. The broth tasted homemade (i.e. not made from bouillon), and was light and nourishing. Maybe not quite as good as the soup at Hakka, but in that same vein.

        Black Pepper Spaghetti with Beef was comforting, with pieces of onion and scallion, thin slices of beef, in a very light sauce with lots of pepper. Pretty simple, and something I could maybe make at home, but we all liked it.

        Fried salt and pepper calamari was the biggest disappointment. It was OK, and the saltiness was spot-on, but it was a tad greasy and under-fried. I probably wouldn't order it again.

        Tofu and rock cod clay pot was served bubbling (hopefully the picture reflects this) and was very good. More tofu than fish, though they looked very similar in the sweet brown sauce. Fish was tender and tasted very sweet (almost too sweet?), tofu was silky on the inside.

        Finally, the dry fried string beans with pork and olives was great. Sadly, didn't get a picture of this (I guess I was too busy eating by that point?), but they are as others have described. Very generous amount of the olive, which was somewhat new to me, and bits of ground pork. Beans were maybe a *tad* greasy, but overall very good.

        Total bill for 3 people was $29 before tip, and this was enough food to bring home significant leftovers of the three main dishes. Thanks to Spinal Tap for alerting me to this place!

        After dinner, we went down the block to Golden Island Cafe for dessert. Tofu with red bean (cold) was okay, but not my favorite combo of textures. Mango with sago had sago at the bottom (good), mango slush (not as sweet as I'd have liked), and fresh mango on top (not ripe enough). I think it mainly just suffered from not-great mango. Sweet peanut sesame-filled dumplings were good, but only 5 per serving. It was surprisingly crowded at Golden Island (I think all 12 tables were full at 8:30 PM on a Thursday!) but service was still quick and efficient.

         
         
         
         
        1 Reply
        1. re: Dave MP
          Melanie Wong Jan 25, 2013 10:10 AM

          Thanks for checking it out and sharing your report. Here's where I learned about this style of beans with olives,
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/41839

          Now makes me wonder if these folks are from Zhongshan.

        2. e
          elise h Mar 3, 2013 01:50 PM

          Thanks for a super recommendation Spinal tap! We enjoyed:
          1. Beef chow fun -#15 on take out menu. Great flavor and good quality of meat.
          2. Malalysia style chow fun- #21 on take out menu. this is only the second place in SF I have found this (the other is Jade Garden on Balboa). Very good. LY Garden's version includes medium sized shrimp, slivers of chicken, bean sprouts, onions, and scrambled egg. I prefer Jade Garden's version because it also includes slivers of roast pork.
          3. olive vegetable ground pork & string bean-#17 on take out menu. The olives add a umami dimension. My order had 1 whole olive that escaped their knife. A winner.

          Both chow fun portions were GENEROUS; string bean portion was normal. They packaged the order carefully, lining the plastic container for the beans with foil, due to the liquid sauce.

          Definitely worth returning for these dishes and for exploring additional dishes such as:
          1) beef chow fun with Switzerland sauce (what is this?)
          2) eggplant steamed rice noodle
          3) yellow chives w/ birthday noodle

          The waitress was friendly and polite; the restaurant is very clean. Hours are 11am-9pm daily.

          5 Replies
          1. re: elise h
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            elise h Mar 21, 2013 12:29 AM

            Went back! Got the 3 dish for $21.95 special:
            1. olive vegetable ground pork & string bean-cannot get enough of this. Signature dish.
            2. braised eggplant-lots of eggplant topped with ground pork. Sauce is a clear, not red sauce. Very good. I wonder how they cook the eggplant without tons of oil.
            3. Shrimp and scrambled eggs-they were out of scallops, so they recommended this dish. I was disheartened, but when the dish arrived, the flavors were delicate and fresh.

            Its' clear that they take care and pride in their dishes. The restaurant itself is immaculate. There's more to explore here.

            1. re: elise h
              Dave MP Mar 21, 2013 09:26 AM

              Thanks for the report. Definitely need to eat here again soon. I am now suddenly craving the shrimp w/ scrambled eggs.

            2. re: elise h
              Melanie Wong Apr 3, 2013 02:29 AM

              Switzerland sauce probably refers to Maggi.

              Wonton noodles on the menu?

              1. re: Melanie Wong
                Dave MP Apr 3, 2013 09:06 AM

                I was there again last week and forgot to check if they had wonton noodles. I actually think that they don't have it listed on the menu, but I am not positive.

                We had beef with broccoli and the Malaysia style chow fun (thanks elise h!). The chow fun was pretty good, though slightly on the dry side. Beef with broccoli unfortunately wasn't great....broccoli a tad overcooked, and the pieces of beef somewhat large and not very tender. Sauce was mild but had an MSG flavor.

                The best part of the meal for me is the pork bone soup that is complimentary at the beginning of dinner.

                1. re: Dave MP
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                  elise h Sep 4, 2013 08:34 PM

                  Malaysia style chow fun-I think this is supposed to be dry and not in a sauce. I've had it elsewhere, and the slightly gritty curry texture is uniquely enjoyable.

            3. s
              Spinal Tap Mar 4, 2013 09:46 AM

              I'm glad you enjoyed it. We went again and learned a little more about the family that owns it. The woman who works as waitress and front of the restaurant is the wife. Her husband is the cook and he has got to be the tallest Chinese chef I've ever met. He looks like he's 6'3" or 4". He's from Hong Kong while she is from Mainland China. Very friendly folks. I hope they are able to stick around. Solid food at incredible prices.

              1. s
                shanghaikid May 2, 2013 07:32 PM

                service was very friendly
                had the dried fried beef chow fun, lunch (6.99)
                -large portion of noodles and some tender beef
                -taste was bland, adding soy didn't help
                -dry aftertaste in mouth after a few bites, indicating msg use, maybe heavy.
                -drank a lot of water
                -decided not to finish it. (or couldn't).

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