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Aug 26, 2013 09:35 AM

Tu Lan 3.0 [San Francisco]

Chron says it'll be open Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m starting today.

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    1. re: Melanie Wong

      What's scarier, the devil you know,or the devil you don't?

      1. re: poser

        One strategy would be to go now, early in the game, right after the health inspectors have left before things have any chance to degrade.

      2. re: Melanie Wong

        I'll be going soon I hope. I'll report back.

        1. re: virtualguthrie

          Can you take some pictures, if possible, please? Want to see how the place/food look like.

        2. re: Melanie Wong

          Was in the neighborhood with a true fan today so we thought we would check it out for old times’ sake. The line out the door was at Swan Oyster Depot levels, so we dropped in at Dottie's instead (no line).

        3. I went on Tuesday with 2 others. I had the 38. Bó Gung beef sauteed with ginger, They had 74. Mi Xáo Don Chay bean cake, mixed veg. & crispy noodle and 33. Ga Xáo Mang chicken with bamboo shoots. We shared summer and imperial rolls. It was all as great. The menu (and prices) look exactly as I remembered it.

          I've had at least 50 meals at the Tu Lan, over the years, I've always loved the place. There's new equipment and fixtures.

          I was inured with the old place. It was a great "greasy spoon" and I never questioned the surroundings. I don't own the "icky-icky" gene I guess.

          5 Replies
          1. re: dartinbout

            Thank you! While I was not a fan of Tu Lan, I'm glad that it still delivers for those who are.

            Some of the media linked to my old photo of the menu printed with Julia Child's visit. Is JC still referenced on the menu?

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              In November 1985, he ( Jim Wood ) took Julia Child to a grease-encrusted eatery on Sixth Street in San Francisco.

              "The food was very good," said Child, reached Tuesday as she was heading down the California coast. "It was a very dirty place, but I enjoyed it and had no ill effects."

              from an old SF Chronicle article ....

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                No, they took the JC reference off their printed menu. Also they added "since 1977" (the year the Nguyen family purchased the restaurant), even though as far as I know it had been operating as TL since 1973.

                1. re: L C

                  Thanks, L C. Good to see you here again.

              2. re: dartinbout

                I as well loved the old joint, especially when the father, whom I referred to as "the Maestro," was cooking. I would be walking there some days and see billows of smoke coming out the door. I subscribe to the old say "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" so the unremitting filthiness of the place didn't bother me.

                As far as I'm concerned, the two things not to miss are the imperial rolls--never done better anywhere, even the wrapper is different and better, let alone the juicy porky white-peppery filling--and the shrimp fried rice. Alchemy is involved with that dish, not sure how it tastes SO DAMN GOOD. Truly an example of the sum is better than the parts. I will be there with bells on when the crowds die down.

              3. It's open 11am-9:30 pm (closed Sundays), but they close 3-4 pm (last lunch order by 2:40pm) to clean up the place and for staff to eat. It's better to order to go, there's too many first time visitors.

                All the pork dishes (and the meatball appetizer) have the same price as before, everything else is $0.50-$1.50 more (most items raised $0.75). And the special dinner for 2-4 people is $3 more.

                Right now the wait is too long. On the day I visited, the staff seemed nervous (perhaps worried that a health inspector was lurking among customers, who knows), didn't look happy, and not working very efficiently. After waiting in line for 20-25 minutes I left.

                I prefer other Viet places better than TL. But I'd love to see TL survive, just for the nostalgia. My first visit to TL was in 1986, a favorite spot of my classmates.

                1 Reply
                1. re: L C

                  And so I went. I stopped by for a take out order prior to heading back over to the East Bay. Line (not too bad, he was telling people 15+ minutes for a table) at about 1245p. Several of us wanted take out only, and we finally got his attention and he took our orders.

                  (1) Imperial Rolls
                  (2) Lemon Beef Salad

                  My order came out in just a few minutes. The imperial rolls were a bit overdone, but that crispy goodness was a memory from the past that came back to life. Maybe it was just a fresh change of oil (instead of 20 year oil) that had them cooking so crisply; in any event, so tasty that I will overlook the omission of the dipping sauce in their haste to get the order out the door. The lemon beef salad was very good, but not as "bright" as in times past - no discernable bits of lemon, and the dish (historically) comes with rice, but there was no rice to be found in my bag when I got home. Probably an oversight in haste, or maybe rice is no longer included.

                  In any event, my two reliable dishes there remain reliable, and I won't hesitate to return once I don't have to wait outside for either a table or a to go order.