New Chinese.. "House of Pancake" 937 Taraval bet 19th and 20th [San Francisco]
- ChowFun_derek Feb 11, 2013 01:10 PM
I drove by..has anyone been??? Intriguing name!!!
Sounds like a Michele's or Beijing Pie house. Hopefully it is close to those in quality and value.
house of pancakes has 11 kinds of fillings for their pancakes.. pancakes pretty thin, almost crispy. chewy , much better than xlb. pretty good.
hand pulled noodles made in house, thick as udon, lamb hand pulled noodle had tender chunks of meat , lamb broth and spinach strands. no msg tasted. noodles almost al dente.
skewers, dumplings, apps, casseroles also on menu.
Yesterday we tried the beef hand pull noodle, beef pancake, green onion pancake, pork dumplings, zha jiang mian, and chicken fried rice. I thought all were quite good. Noodles had the properly chewy texture.
Service a bit lacking as there was only one waiter. He was quite pleasant and there was no problem with ordering and getting dishes, but tables were not cleared for several minutes after diners left.
I called and got some information. It's closed on Wednesdays. Open for lunch and dinner the other days until 10pm. I asked whether it closes in the afternoon between lunch and dinner service and the answer was "yes" but I'm not sure I was understood completely.
Next one there, please fill us in.
Stopped by on Sunday at 3pm. The staff was eating, but they were definitely open. Hours 11:30am-10pm every day except closed on Wednesday.
SO and I ordered the beef pancake (told it was the most popular) and the mustard (misspelled as "master") green and pork hand pulled noodles. Both cost $6.95.
Maybe it was because the restaurant was empty, but the waiter/owner was extremely friendly and chatty. I watched the woman, whose photo appears on the menu, pull the noodles and she smiled as I peered over. It appears they pull to order.
The pancake was large and thick, cut into quarters and served with sliced cucumbers and tomato. My SO loved it and it was his first time eating chinese pancakes. The exterior was crispy and near greaseless. The interior was juicy and tender in the "barely cooked" way I prefer. If I could suggest one improvement I would say I prefer my exteriors about 1 shade darker brown. The accompanying oil based chili sauce (homemade?) was an excellent accompaniment.
The pork noodles were excellent. Nice pieces of pork, some with fat and a combination of some fresh greens and salted mustard greens. As others have noted the noodles were wonderfully al dente, and cooked a bit more when we got to the bottom of the bowl. The clear broth tasted clean, not too salty. We were given two bowls and a ladle to share the soup. One one of the wait staff (noodle pulling lady) saw me struggling serve the long noodles with my chopsticks, so she ferried over a pair of scissors.
Looking forward to trying more of the menu and excited for this new addition on this stretch of Taraval. I posted some pics on Yelp (more phone friendly).
Mrs. Wineguy and I dropped in for lunch today. We had the Sesame Pancake w/Beef (the filling was cold, sliced, marinated beef), Lamb Skewers, Pork Dumplings w/ Chives and Vegetarian Hand Pull Noodle. We liked everything. Oddly, the Lamb Skewers were accompanied by a mayonnaise based cole slaw on the plate. I asked the owner about the cole slaw and he replied that he served it because he used to work in Hawaii.
Love the cole slaw background!
I'm still very curious about the outbreak of non-Canto noodle, dumpling and pancake options we're seeing recently in San Francisco and wonder what's driving it. New immigration from non-Guangdong areas of China? Influx of Chinese college students and businesses springing up to serve them? Cooks breaking away from establishments like Kingdom of Dumpling to do their own thing?
Not a complaint from me either!
There've always been more in the South Bay, but even there, new Shandong/Dongbei/Beijing places serving skewers, pancakes, noodles and dumplings are cropping up. Since you've established some rapport with the owner, please do ask him when you return.
Hand-pulled noodles with preserved vegetable: preserved vegetable was firm and had a nice crunch. Noodles varied in width considerably, but all had a great chew. I'd put the thickest of the lot on par with QQ Noodle in Fremont. The soup was subtly flavored, and sometimes overpowered by the sesame oil on top. If you're looking for a light soup, I would recommend this.
Sesame pancake: good sesame flavor, thick crust, nice and puffy. Bottom a little oily. The one at Happy Golden Bowl in El Cerrito is larger in height and circumference, and is less dense.
Onion pancakes: crispy and excellent. Oiliness didn't both me since it was freshly made. My DCs enjoyed it, but expressed their preference for the ones at Five Happiness.
Lamb and napa dumplings: very good. Skins cooking uniformly. Not very gamey.
The server was really friendly and told us that the owner is from Beijing.
I tried this place yesterday and thought it was great:
Zha ziang mian was one of the best versions I've had in the USA. Noodles had a nice bite, and we watched them being made. Sauce wasn't too salty or oily, and contained bits of smoked tofu and pork.
Lamb potstickers were pretty good, though next time I'd try the boiled version instead. Nice chili paste on the table, which I added to black vinegar for dipping.
Cucumber salad had lots of sesame oil and garlic, but tasted fresh and also not too salty.
#9 pancake - the sesame w/ beef - was probably the star for me. It was a crispy, flaky dough filled with thin slices of beef, scallion, and hoisin sauce.
We ran into another hound there, who will hopefully chime in as well....and we ended up sharing dishes with her as well. They had the noodles w/ pork and mustard greens, which was a soup. Again, noodles were great, flavor was simple but tasted fresh. I'd order this if I was sick, and the serving was very large.
Pork and chive boiled dumplings were good....on par with the other dumpling spots in that area (Kingdom, Shandong, Kitchen, etc....I can't even keep track of the names at this point).
Beef pancake (#1 in pancake section) was a totally different beast than #9...it was a thinner dough, more like a fat scallion pancake. It was a bit underdone, and the filling inside was very moist (much like a dumpling filling), so the pancake wasn't very crispy by the time it was on the table. But I liked the flavor a lot, and it was another large serving.
Service was friendly, and I definitely want to return!
re: Dave MP
It was a wonderful coincidence to meet Dave MP in person and for all of us to share lunch and conversation together! Loved the food.
#1 beef pancake-this was undercooked and too moist inside. It's tricky because the outside was fully cooked with nice brown fry marks. Maybe the heat was too hot or the dough was too thick. Meat could have been seasoned a bit more.
#9 sesame pancake w/ beef-this reminded me of roast duck in pancakes with hoisin sauce. I’m not a big hoisin sauce fan though. My friend, however, loved it.
#9 pork dumpling with chives-excellent chewy, soft dough. Flavorful filling.
#3 master (should be ‘mustard’) green w/pork hand pull noodle-outstanding chew and perfect size. Broth, greens, and pork were mild and pleasant. I thought these would be dry noodles, rather than soup. Other than the 'bean paste' noodles, are any other noodles not in soup?
I'm going to return to Xiao Long Bao on Clement Street to compare the beef pancakes at both places and will report back.
Service is friendly and the interior is fresh and lively. There are about 15 tables, so the place is relatively small.
What else looks exciting: 1) charcoaled grill items-this is unusual. what other chinese restaurant has a separate charcoal grill menu section? 2) pancakes-onion #6, beef roll pancake #10, house special sesame pancake #11 3) wok dishes: eggplant wi hot garlic sauce #5, garlic string beans #4, beef chow fun #10. 5) milk tea (green/black) 6) pumpkin cake #1 or black sesame coconut cake #2
Hours are 11:30am-10pm daily except Wednesday (closed).
re: elise h
I finally tried some of the stir fry dishes:
1. #5 eggplant w/hot garlic sauce. Good; a little spicy, a little greasy (red oil), which is typical. Seems similar to szechuan style.
2. #3 eggplant w/tofu. Good. Same as #5, expect with friend tofu.
3. #4 garlic string beans. Good, dry fried with savory bits (cannot remember if it was pork)
4. #10 beef chow fun. Avoid. No wok hay, bland flavor, noodles were not springy soft (maybe they were old)
The main staff person is very friendly and pleasant.
When this restaurant gets crowded at night and if the customers are loud, the noise reflects off the walls and makes conversation difficult. I go at off hours and the experience is so much better, or get take out.
This thread has been making me drool since you posted it. Made it down there today, despite the inconvenient location and the fact that I had to spend the better part of an hour killing time in the Walgreens while I waited for them to open. (Not their fault, just tried to combine the drive with a much earlier errand in the vicinity).
I got the pork and preserved vegetable noodle. Definitely a solid bowl of noodles. Thick noodles with a lot of chew as everyone else has mentioned. The noodles occasionally had a bit of a floury flavor, which wasn't my favorite. The smoky chili sauce on the table didn't have much kick, but added a nice element of complexity to a fairly plain dish.
I would definitely come back to try the dumplings if I find myself in this area again, but probably won't be driving all the way out here just for the noodles.
Went tonight and was wild about the egg and onion pancake. One of the best things I've eaten in months. Beef pancake was a little too heavy for me; we also got lamb noodles, which came in soup format, and while the noodles had nice bite neither the broth nor the lamb was super flavorful--this definitely benefited from the liberal addition of chili oil.
@ Melanie: they do not close between lunch and dinner (I ate there yesterday between 2 and 4)
@ Elise H: I haven't had the beef pancake at HOP, but the one at Beijing Restaurant is also undercooked and moist and the beef tastes a bit like steak-um.
Echoing pane's comment, the onion pancake with egg is absolutely delicious, and it's better than the onion pancake by itself. It appears to be fried on both sides, and then one side is lathered in hoisin, covered in beaten egg, and fried before the thing is rolled up and sliced. The egg, hoisin, and starchy crunch make it reminiscent of mu shu dishes.
The vegetable hand-pulled noodles were kind of a wash. The meat broths here tend on the mild side, and the vegetable broth was even weaker. We added salt, but even then not much was going on. Served with broccoli, carrots, 2 shiitake mushrooms, a few leaves of (spinach?), and enoki mushrooms. The noodles were very good, but slightly chewier last time.
The chef's noodle pulling technique is visible from the dining area and is very interesting. A coil of thick dough sits in a tub to her left, and she yanks stretches of it toward her right side to thin it out. When she's done, she coils the stretched dough around her arms like an infinity loop. Once the entire length of dough is around her arms, she pulls her arms outward and slaps the dough on the table a few times.
The fresh cucumber salad is made up of small cucumbers (persian?) and smashed garlic.
Tofu w/malian vegetables was a nice side dish. The server wasn't able to translate the vegetable name for me, but said he had to special order it and its a vegetable called "malanka." Pleco translates it as "ma lan tou" 馬蘭頭.
For dessert, we got the fried pumpkin cakes. Chewy and with a thin layer of red bean paste in the center. Kind of oily on the outside, but a very enjoyable dessert.
re: Melanie Wong
That's what I was hoping it was too....when I was in the restaurant last week, I actually asked whether they had jian bing, and I'm pretty sure the answer is no (though there could have been some language barriers there perhaps).
Based on the descriptions, though, I think the egg and onion pancake is a bit thicker than jian bing. Is that right?
re: Dave MP
My dining companion was hoping it would be an item she had eaten in Shanghai (she understands a similar, perhaps identical item, in Taiwan to be called "dan bing"). She liked HOP's item quite a bit, but what she ate in Shanghai didn't have hoisin.
Unlike that link, and what I've eaten at Beijing Restaurant, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8565... , HOP's didn't have a crunchy thing in the center. It matched Dave's description above as being chewy and dumpling like.
I understand from other threads that there are two different major styles of jian bing, and then there's dan bing too. I should have asked the server for help on this. The typeface in scanned menus aren't too legible, but I do know that the name for the dish at HOP ends with the character for egg and doesn't have the character for "jian" in it at all.
re: Melanie Wong
aha... this link/pic reminds me of a Chinese version of a Dosa. yum. But after seeing the links to the "lamb pie" at Beijing Pie in So. Cal: http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/20...
I am on a quest for a lamb filled "hockey puck" like pie - their version of xian biang. Is there a such a place in SF or in the nearby bay area??? Thanks, in advance for any leads.
馬蘭頭 is Kalimeris indica. "Also known as Indian aster or Indian Kalimeris, [it] is a flowering herbaceous perennial plant of the family Asteraceae (Compositae). Kalimeris indica, like other species in the genus of Kalimeris, occurs mainly in eastern Asian countries of China, Korea and Japan, but has been introduced to California and Hawaii." See http://beautiful-in-life.blogspot.com....
hyperbowler mentions slapping the dough on the table.
I've not had this style of noodle, so I don't have any of my own photos.
But here are some from Imperial Tea in Berkeley by Martin Strell,
re: Melanie Wong
HOP uses a different technique than what's used at Imperial Tea, see my additional link below, but the techniques are closer to each other than to the halving and spinning techniques used at My China or Ark in Alameda. The Imperial Tea noodles are kind of wide and flattish and there's a step where they tear sheets of noodle lengthwise. The chef slaps each wide noodle onto the table as they're being formed.
The HOP noodles are a bit more roundish. I didn't notice any tearing step, but then again I don't know how the dough gets coiled up in the bowl to prepare for the pulling. At HOP a pound or two of pulled dough is coiled around the chef's arms, and the center of it is slapped onto the table as she spreads her arms out.
However these are made, the range of techniques for making noodles is fascinating.
re: Melanie Wong
Ah, gotcha. We're discussing three types of "hand pulled noodles"
Lagman / Xinjiang Ban Mian (e.g., Shandong Deluxe)
La Mian / Shou la mian (e.g., Ark in Alameda, My China
Biang Biang mian (timepoint 1:55, e.g., Imperial Tea Court
I don't know if anyone has seen the chef at HOP start off making the dough, but her finishing viewable to the dining area is consistent with it being Xinjiang Ban Mian as Melanie said.
This is what the menu lists them as. I have no idea how these conform to the actual dishes people have had elsewhere. Apologies for the lazy phonetic transcription ...
The beef pancake, pork pancake, chicken pancake, lamb pancake, and vegetable are listed on the menu as varieties of 餡餅 (xian bing)
The onion pancake is 蔥油餅 (cong you bing )
The onion pancake with egg is 蔥油餅夾蛋 (cong you bing jia dan )
The small sesame pancake is 燒餅 (shao bing)
The sesame pancake w/ beef is 燒餅夾肉 (shao bing jia rou )
Beef roll pancake is 牛肉卷餅 (niu rou juan bing)
House special sesame pancake is 黃金芝麻餅 (huangjin zhima bing)
Thanks very much, hb. Nothing lazy about your pinyin. A dozen years ago I was vainly searching for 餡餅 in California, dreaming of the very different, but equally scrumptious versions I'd had in Taipei and Beijing. Since that time, I've given up meat, but I remain curious and will certainly be trying the vegetable version on Taraval soon.
Interesting meal at HOP last night:
We ordered #A9 Sesame Pancake w/Beef, but #A10 Beef Roll Pancake, destined for another table, appeared, and it was probably best of the night, a soft pancake roll around the beef. The #A9 came later and was also good, but maybe a bit too much pancake for the filling.
Also ordered the #A7 Onion Pancake w/ egg, but it never came and we had more than enough to eat so didn’t fuss. Next time will try this, though I think it is quite different from the fantastically excellent jian bing we had at Beijing Restaurant last week (thanks to recent comments on http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/856576).
The hand pulled noodles were thick, chewy, and excellent. We had and enjoyed #E8 “Bean Paster Hand Pull Noodle” Zha Ziang Mian 炸醬面. Lots of minced meat and tiny bits of tofu in a strong fried bean paste sauce with scallion shreds. I thought this might be similar to the “Beijing Style Noodles with Brown Paste” (打 鹵 麵 dalumian) at Beijing Restaurant, but the flavor was much less intense and less “challenging”.
Grilled Lamb Skewer was also excellent. Chunky pieces of marinated lamb, not the Uiqhur, Xinjiang cumin flavored lamb skewers seen at Beijing Restaurant, Spices, etc.
Shrimp dumpling was unavailable, so we tried the decent Pork Dumpling with Chives. I do like Beijing Restaurant’s dumplings better (even if my hero KK, on another thread, thinks they are weirdly flavored).
A fresh cucumber salad was also nice, not Sichuan style with chili oil, but a (cooked) garlic based dressing, better than the raw garlic versions sometimes seen.
Will attempt to upload photos of the menu.
Will be back.
I returned for yet another excellent meal tonight.
First up was the #1 beef pancake (牛肉餡餅 , niu rou jian bing). Crunchy outside, chewy, almost mochi looking, inside. I would guess that means the inside is undercooked, but I kind of like that. Beef was more solid here than in the version at Beijing Restaurant. A slathering of hot sauce helped round this out.
I've liked the noodles in the past, but the weakness of the soup made me hesitant to get them again. Instead we had the "Bean Paster Hand Pull Noodle” Zha Ziang Mian 炸醬面. This was a very harmonious version of this dish--- noodles were chewy and had a good resistance, the sauce had texture and avoided being too oily, saucy, or salty, and the shreds of cucumbers were appropriate in their width and number.
Chicken casserole pot : 5 or 6 large chicken balls, shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, thick glass noodles, and carrots. Enjoyable base.
The cucumber salad was great tonight and had some jalapenos in it. I think we asked for it spicy.
I loved this place the first time I visited, and had a horrible meal on a return visit.
Hand pulled noodles - A trainwreck. Technique and texture are amateurish and effect the dishes themselves. Reminds me of the results I got trying to make pasta off watching youtube video. Noodles are uneven (and will cook accordingly, uneven), and gummy. If you order them as chow mein instead of soup, they clump together. The noodles were not made properly.
Beef Pancake - I liked this, but $7 is pricey for the size.
House special pancake - Bitter bad tasting grease, and too dense. I'm not even sure why I had another bite. Another item that tastes amateurish.
All the lamb I tasted was tough on top of it.
Noodle dishes aside, pricing is steep, and adds up quickly if you're trying to make a full meal for two. I paid almost as much as I did at Mission Chinese Food, and got nothing substantial to show for it.
Oh, I assumed the chow mein noodles weren't hand-pulled because they were on a different part of the menu as the Zha Jiang Mein. Looking at the menu, this all makes sense since chow mein is listed under the Stir Fry section. Hmm... is this a problem with their noodle making technique, or in using hand pulled noodles (la mien) for stir frying? My experience with la mien is limited to what's available in the Bay Area, and I can't think of another place that has stir fried versions of la mien.
On what day of the week did you go? I've seen the same woman pulling noodles on all my visits. Perhaps you discovered for us her day off.
The price tag for their 4-slice pancakes initially struck me as high too. Then again, the flatter and wider 6-slice one at Beijing restaurant are $8.25. I'd guess they're both the same mass.
My last meal, one post above, was $19 with tax and tip per hungry male. There were enough leftovers for a snack.
Lo-Mein/Chow Mein uses the hand pulled noodles too.
I've only seen the one older woman making the noodles, standing near the kitchen doorway pulling short strands, the length of her table. I don't recall the day of the week (they're closed Wednesdays, which I found odd), but I wouldn't think that matters with fresh noodles. I'm not an expert, but in my experience (mostly on the East Coast) hand pulled noodles hold up no matter what you do with them. My guess is the flaws were more apparent when not co-mingled with a broth, and such, but it's still really inexcusable. The noodles differentiated between spaghetti, and fettucinni thickness all within one strand, and sections had lumps closer to a spaetzle.
We had leftovers too, but that's because it wasn't appetizing.
Looking over my leftovers at lunch today, I also noticed an inconsistent thickness in the noodles, but perhaps not as much as you ran into. Nothing was particularly overcooked, and mixed with everything in the ZJM though, it didn't detract from the dish and seemed to add texture. I'll be cautious about getting the chow mein if it makes a difference there.
I would think that the noodle pulling technique where the maker divides the noodles in half several times would make the noodles more consistent. Is her technique a common technique or a technique from a particular region?
Went last night, for my 5th or 6th visit. Still very good, though we're having a hard time veering off of our favorites.
The tender rib hand pulled noodles was new to me. Great texture on the noodles as always, with meat that was indeed very tender (fell of the bone, and was cut in small slivers). The broth is just OK though. Nothing special about it at all. If they could make an amazing broth to accompany these noodles, it would be really fantastic.
Everything else was a tried-and-true favorite:
Pork and chive dumplings - not overcooked, nice bite to the dough.
Egg and Onion pancake - Almost like mu-si pork inside a crispy pancake. Amazing as usual.
Beef sesame pancake - Particularly crispy last night, and really good.
Cucumber w/ garlic, Spinach w/ garlic, fried string beans -- All the veggie dishes were very good last night. Vegetables tasted fresh, nothing too greasy.
Zha-ziang Mian - As always, my favorite. Made w/ hand pulled noodles and lots of dark bean paste.
It was nice being here on a Monday night. There were a few other tables w/ people at 7:15 pm, but it wasn't too crowded. In the past on weekends, it's been much busier.
CASH ONLY. Tried out House of Pancakes best for locals or people that drive because it's really far on Muni.
Went on Sunday 9/1/13 and there was a little wait since it was already dinner time when we went.
Ordered way too much food again:
FREE hot green tea from bags when you are seated. Gotta ask for ice water if you want it.
Cucumber salad - lots of cucumbers chopped up w/ lots of garlic. Yum.
Shrimp & Spinach dumplings - 12 in an order. It's pretty good, some dumplings more shrimp than others. It's pretty good.
Beef tripe - it's pretty good for beef tripe, B. ordered it.
Lamb Skewers - 4 in an order w/ a mayo coleslaw on the side. It's pretty good.
Onion pancake - the waiter brought out onion/egg not ours, then onion beef, finally the right one - just plain onion pancake. It's fine, thin & greasy.
Beef noodle soup - noodles are long & chewy, not my favorite, beef was tender though.
CASH ONLY. Our total before tip $43.20.
One unisex bathroom in the back on the left.
I had lunch here Friday with a friend who doesn't eat pork, beef or lamb; I was worried that it wouldn't work out because most of my favorite dishes include one of the three.
We ended up ordering chicken pot stickers, eggplant (not the tofu/eggplant version, just eggplant), egg/onion pancake, and cucumber in oil. There was one steamed dumpling that fit my DC's dietary restrictions, but they were a vegetable (non-chicken) dumpling, and because I really disliked the grassy, tasteless veggie dumplings at Shanghai Dumpling King, the chicken potstickers sounded like a better option.
Everything came out really quickly (we were in and out in 30 minutes; perfect timing for a work-day lunch) and was good-to-great. The chicken potstickers were good but not excellent; I thought the meat was a little dry. I wasn't excited about the one acceptable noodle dish ("vegetable noodles") so missed out on noodles, but between the pancake and potstickers we had enough dough-y goodness. At lunchtime, the place didn't have a line but was humming--a few free tables when we walked in at 11:30, completely full when we left at noon.
My DC demolished everything, and when the server came by to clear the plates, he asked him "Why is everything here so good?"
"It's the Beijing style" the server said, which was a funny and lovely response.