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Time for one Chinese dinner and one hole-in-the-wall lunch

f
Fine Apr 15, 2013 07:13 PM

I've read dozens of posts (and tried not to confuse with planning anniversary din in SF and meals in Portland and Seattle, as well as one on Central Coast).

Is or is not Shanghai no. 1 Seafood best for dinner?

What's tasty in regional that we're unlikely to find in SFBA?

Thanks again.

  1. ipsedixit Apr 15, 2013 07:25 PM

    Dinner: Sea Harbour

    Lunch (hole-in-the-wall): Shanxxi Gourmet or Lucky Noodle King

    16 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit
      k
      kevin Apr 16, 2013 10:09 PM

      I third Sea Harbor.

      Call me crazy but their dinner menu is even better than their extravagant but supremely delicious dim sum menu.

      1. re: kevin
        ipsedixit Apr 17, 2013 07:47 AM

        Call me crazy but their dinner menu is even better than their extravagant but supremely delicious dim sum menu.
        __________________

        That's normal for just about every Canto-HK style restaurant out there.

        It would be sort of like believing desserts is all that Red Medicine does well. Desserts are indeed very good, but if you believe that's all that Red Medicine was good for, you'd be sorely missing out on what Red Medicine is all about.

        1. re: ipsedixit
          k
          kevin Apr 17, 2013 10:35 AM

          And I haven't been to Red Medicine before so that is good to note.

        2. re: kevin
          c
          condiment Apr 18, 2013 02:45 PM

          It must be said however that the OP was looking for something not available in the Bay Area, and as good as Sea Harbour can be, it's not quite up to the level of Koi Palace. Shanghai #1, on the other hand, when you learn how to navigate the menu, provides an experience not available in Northern California.

          1. re: condiment
            ipsedixit Apr 18, 2013 02:51 PM

            Shanghai #1, on the other hand, when you learn how to navigate the menu, provides an experience not available in Northern California.
            _______________________

            Like what?

            1. re: ipsedixit
              Porthos Apr 18, 2013 03:14 PM

              Agree. Koi Palace would trump both Elite and Sea Harbour combined at better prices.

              See my post below re "like what?" for SN1:

              "pan fried buns, soup dumplings (XLB), the old shanghai braised pork, the mixed rice and salted meat in stone pot, and the lion's head meatballs (hand chopped pork, not ground) in clear broth"

              Not to say these are not available in the Bay Area but not to this level and quality.

              1. re: Porthos
                ipsedixit Apr 18, 2013 03:22 PM

                With the exception of XLB (which you can get in spades up north) Taishan Cafe does many of the dishes better, and cheaper, and without a decor that would make Liberace blush from the grave.

                1. re: ipsedixit
                  Porthos Apr 18, 2013 04:28 PM

                  Most people agree the pan fried buns, SJB, are tops at SN1 and the closest to what you'll get in Shanghai.

                  You're not a SJB person so they don't impress you. Doesn't mean they're not the best versions around town. :-)

                  Haven't been to Taishan Cafe but yelp photos show mainly clay pot rice dishes. It's a totally different cuisine (Taishan) than what SN1 is serving (modern Shanghai).

                  1. re: Porthos
                    k
                    kevin Apr 18, 2013 04:45 PM

                    Now I have to get to Seafood Village already methinks.

                    In you guys opinion, Seafood Village is much cheaper than Sea Harbour for a lobster/crab dinner, correct ?

                    Thanks.

                    1. re: kevin
                      n
                      ns1 Apr 18, 2013 04:57 PM

                      it was like 7 bucks a pound last week @ Seafood Village. Not gonna lie, the garlic was delicious but I've had better crab - it felt overcooked or as if it died recently before cooking.

                      1. re: ns1
                        k
                        kevin Apr 18, 2013 05:32 PM

                        damn, ok. though i think Sea Harbour might run 25 or more bucks per pound.

                        Maybe if I do go to Seafood Village, I'll get a plate of that garlic and sop it up with some rice.

                        1. re: kevin
                          n
                          ns1 Apr 18, 2013 05:38 PM

                          next time I'll do the garlic prawn instead of crab.

                    2. re: Porthos
                      ipsedixit Apr 18, 2013 06:55 PM

                      Most people agree the pan fried buns, SJB, are tops at SN1 and the closest to what you'll get in Shanghai.
                      ________________

                      Cite please.

                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        Porthos Apr 18, 2013 07:50 PM

                        If you look through the 2 threads and dig through the monster thread drifts, looking at those who tried the SJB and those that have been to Shanghai...most agree and comment that it's the best version they have tried outside of Shanghai and best in LA.

                        Odub, Mr. Taster, and myself.

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/825217#7566820

                        Estone888

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/870468

                        All you have to do is take a look around the tables during lunch. Literally every table has at least one order of the SJB.

                        Since Taishan Cafe doesn't serve Shanghainese food, where in the Bay Area do you find that trumps SN1 for modern shanghai cuisine?

                        1. re: Porthos
                          ipsedixit Apr 18, 2013 08:19 PM

                          4 people do not make "most people".

                          But whatever.

                          As to SJB there are places aplenty up north that have it. Whether it is better or worse, is a matter of opinion.

                          And there is nothing "modern" about SN1's food.

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            Porthos Apr 18, 2013 08:29 PM

                            Not to say you're not entitled to your opinion, but you were the only one who tried the SJB and didn't like it. And completely understandable since you don't like SJB in general.

                            The soups, the menu, and presentation are updated vs the more traditional Shanghainese places in town (eg. MLV and J&J). It's consistent with what I saw when I visited Shanghai last year.

        3. Ciao Bob Apr 15, 2013 07:43 PM

          Shanghai No 1 Seafood is nothing special food-wise.
          Agree that Elite or Sea Harbour if you want Cantonese/HK seafood.
          Hunan Mao or Yuunan Garden if you want it HOT.

          1. Porthos Apr 15, 2013 07:44 PM

            I like the pick although you don't necessarily need to go for dinner. The entire dinner menu (except the slow cooked soups) is available at lunch. It will definitely be unique and I don't recall there being something like this in SF. Musts here include the pan fried buns, soup dumplings (XLB), the old shanghai braised pork, the mixed rice and salted meat in stone pot, and the lion's head meatballs (hand chopped pork, not ground) in clear broth.

            The hole in the wall version is literally right across the street at J&J. You have to get the crab and pork soup dumplings.

            The house special lobster at Newport Seafood Tan Cang (Chinese/Vietnamese) is also worth considering for the house special lobster but I find that the SGV version is more tame than the Santa Ana version and Rowland Heights version, the latter two may be hard to get to depending on where you are staying.

            Also consider Seafood Village (Chinese/Trieu Chau).

            My vote is for Shanghai No. 1.

            Avoid Elite and Sea Harbour if you are going to Koi Palace in the SFBA. If not going to Koi Palace, consider Elite and Sea Harbour. But really, go to Koi Palace in SFBA.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Porthos
              ipsedixit Apr 15, 2013 07:59 PM

              Do you know if the braised carp is available on the lunch menu at SNo.1? That's probably the only dish I'd go there for.

              1. re: ipsedixit
                Porthos Apr 15, 2013 08:24 PM

                Haven't tried it there yet.

                Are you talking the brown sauce version? I've seen a couple of braised fish dishes on other tables that I haven't had a chance to get to yet.

                1. re: Porthos
                  ipsedixit Apr 15, 2013 08:29 PM

                  Yes, it comes in a brown sauce (not steamed), almost like a soy sauce reduction. They do it pretty well there.

                  I've had it as part of a banquet, so wasn't sure about it's placement on the lunch and/or dinner menus.

            2. p
              poggibonzzi Apr 15, 2013 07:49 PM

              Second the motion for Sea Harbour. For lunch, check out Happy Garden, terrific Taiwanese. I love, love their white cut goose, pork fried rice and intestine hot pot.

              5 Replies
              1. re: poggibonzzi
                f
                Fine Apr 16, 2013 05:26 PM

                The menu I got for Happy Garden in Alhambra didn't have either of those items: Did I get the wrong place or are those on a special menu?

                BTW, we will be driving.

                Thanks

                1. re: Fine
                  ipsedixit Apr 16, 2013 07:07 PM

                  No, it's all there on their menu.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    f
                    Fine Apr 18, 2013 12:02 AM

                    http://dineries.com/ca/alhambra/happygarden1/1277evalleyblvd
                    The above site has a terrific set of menus.

                    http://www.urbanspoon.com/cities/5-lo...

                    This one looks more like it's out of the Mid-West, chop suey and all.

                    Which is the real one?

                    1. re: Fine
                      ipsedixit Apr 18, 2013 07:43 AM

                      The urbanspoon link is just wrong.

                      The first link is closer to their current menu.

                  2. re: Fine
                    t
                    taiwanesesmalleats Apr 17, 2013 12:57 PM

                    Happy Garden in Alhambra changed hands a few months ago. It's quite possible dishes have changed or removed.

                2. TonyC Apr 16, 2013 08:46 PM

                  Hole in wall lunch: Happy Garden, Flavor Garden. Same plaza, pick a garden. Or, Beijing Pie House.

                  Hole in wall dinner: Hunan Chili King, Xiang Wei Lou, Wok BBQ. Or you can pay for Shanghai to Long Beach trans-pacific shipping cost needed for the gauche Chinese furniture at Shanghai #1.

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