Rangoon Super Stars - Berkeley
New Burmese place opened this week. Chef-owner was formerly at Rangoon Ruby's.
Got mohinga ($11), ginger salad ($10), and rainbow salad ($12) to go, all were very good, packaged thoughtfully so that stuff didn't get soggy.
Six of us had a nice dinner here early Saturday night.
Burmese rice salad. This was good but a bit oily -- we should have asked for lemon wedges to perk it up.
Burmese Garlic Noodles with Duck. Excellent.
Rangoon Lemon Grass Pork. Excellent; came with snap peas.
Village Catfish. Excellent.
Yellow Tofu in Red Curry. Excellent. This was the only dish we ordered "spicy"; the heat level was fine. I detected notes of cinnamon or nutmeg in the sauce. The "tofu" itself looked like squares of fried tofu but it had a custard texture. Very unusual.
Pea Leaves -- this was the only dish that was ordinary.
Complimentary "fish chips" were provided, tasty but oily.
We also ordered two bowls of brown rice.
One member of the group being unable to tolerate spicy food, we ordered most of the dishes "mild." Hot sauce was provided upon request -- two kinds; an incendiary dried red pepper crumble, and a sweet liquid sauce like Sriracha. The latter was a welcome addition to several of the dishes.
Parties of six or more have an automatic tip added to the bill; the menu specifies 20% but our bill only had a 15% charge. We upped the tip and wound up spending only $16 per person, a good value; the portions are reasonably large.
Service was very good -- they were only about one-third full and there was a plethora of servers, plus many cooks in the kitchen; the food came out piping hot and in good order.
We'll be back when they get a liquor license -- if their corkage fee is not unreasonable.
Tea Leaf Salad - The waitress seemed timid mixing it up and basically just pushed things around and left the tea leaves in a couple of clumps. We re-mixed after she left. Overall a bit disappointing with a paltry amount of tea leaves compared to the lettuce. The bites that had some were very good, but not enough for the size of the dish.
Egg & Okra Curry - Good flavors. Okra not slimey. Never had a deep-fried boiled egg and firm outer skin added an interesting texture and flavor.
Garlic Chili Sauce Shrimp & Eggplant - Our favorite dish of the meal. Perfectly cooked, juicy shrimp. 5 medium shrimp seemed a little stingy.
Burmese - Indian Rice - A little bland. The similar Tam-poi rice at Burma SS has a lot more flavor.
We had asked for "medium" spicy and got pretty mild.
I dropped in this week for a quick dinner, ordering one of my favorite Burmese dishes, ono kauk swe. Here's the menu description:
"Ohnoh Kawt Swe (Coconut Noodle Soup)
A rich and creamy bisque with flour noodles. Served with chicken, onion, tamarind powder, paprika, and garnished with onion, cilantro, and lemon "
This was very heavy and sweet with coconut, more like gravy with noodles than a soup. Much too sweet, I squeezed in all the lemon and added most of the chile flakes that were served on the side. Still lacking spark. The pieces of chicken were tender, actually nearly mushy from overcooking but that's pretty typical. Only shaved red onions, no fried shallots as garnish, and it has a hard-boiled egg that's not mentioned. I'd say this was above average, but not a dish I'd order here again.
re: Melanie Wong
No, I think that's just the style here. If I'd had more time and wasn't in a hurry, I probably would have asked if fried shallots were available as well as chicken soup to dilute the thick gravy. It's served in a rather shallow bowl, so really not what I'd call a soup dish.
During the time I was there, I overheard two different parties emphasize to their server that they wanted no spicy heat at all. Then another that went into a long litany about low sodium needs and dialysis. All I could think was "Welcome to Berkeley".
re: Melanie Wong
re: Robert Lauriston
My poor syntax in the post about the coconut chicken noodles. Shaved red onions, cilantro, lime, and chile flakes were provided as garnish when the dish was served. No fried shallots. I asked for chopsticks and was handed a disposable pair.
And your mention of mohinga reminds me that the woman sitting at the table next to me ordered it. When it arrived, she proceeded to spoon it over here coconut rice and eat it off a plate. Whatever.
re: Melanie Wong
Wow! Am I impressed with the quality of the meal a group of us had yesterday. Y'all should run and see what the chef is creating in this new location.
The 2 big tests:
- Palata: As good as Little Rangoon in Daly City. The dough is quite flavorful -- a different texture than Daly City or Mandalay, and the chicken curry sauce for dipping was a knock out. I woulda licked the bowl clean...
- Tea Leaf Salad: Some will be disappointed by the presence of chopped lettuce. But the flavor.... wow. A huge success.
Then equally pleasing:
- Rangoon Shrimp - a large serving of shrimp in a red curry sauce with tomatoes, garlic and a good hit of chile peppers. It's a winner.
No liquor license -- kinda confusing since that location has always had a bar. Hopefully the city of Berkeley will OK that sooner rather than later.
Run don't walk.
Went back for a sit-down dinner.
Fried yellow bean tofu with chile sauce was delicate and delicious.
Burmese rice salad was one of those dishes with lots of crunchy elements. Good, spicy, aromatic from fried shrimp and garlic.
Samosa soup was very good though more filling than I remember Burma Superstar's being. Had not just crumbled samosas and falafel but chickpeas and potatoes. About as hearty as vegan food gets.
Burmese pad Thai, too sweet for me, would not order again.
Stir-fried broccoli was simple and good. Maybe the Chinese dishes are worth a try here.