CP, whom I met thru SK & A a couple years back planned this dinner to start of our Dragon year with an amazing feast. She made reservations for 13 at 8 pm but the restaurant was packed and we finally got seated at about 8.20 pm. Our whole meal lasted almost 2 hours (only because we sat around chatting while the servers cleaned up the place). The last time we ate here was for dim sum (also because CP got us a table without having to wait 40 mins for one) and it was fabulous so I was pretty psyched bout dinner.
There were the balloon brothers (who looked eeriely like twins), they were going around making balloons for the guests (at a fee of course).
The Chinese New Year dinner options were the same as their banquet menu offering $588, $688 or $788. The full regular menu can be seen here.
There was also a mini booklet with the Chef Specials.
We picked the $688 menu but added the Roast Suckling Pork for an additional $35 and instead of the Lobster salad we had the Steam Prawns. I placed the estimate prices of what the dishes would have been if ordered a la carte. The prices are estimates or what I could get off the regular menu to give an idea of what the dishes would have cost for a regular portion (which is a smaller portion) so take it with a grain of salt.
Hand Roasted Suckling Pig Combo (Medium) $35
Best way to start the meal – super crispy pork skin with succulent tender salty pork. I had to hold myself back from finishing the whole plate!! The jellyfish was seasoned very well, served cold and a nice contrast to the fatty pork. It had the signature crunch and texture like seaweed.
Steamed Prawns with Spicy Soy Sauce (Live shrimp – seasonal price)
I don’t know what kind of prawns these were but they were amazing! The pregnant ones were insteresting and massive with delicious fatty heads.
I found the eggs a little unnerving and they had the weirdest texture on the tongue. The flesh had the nice snap you get from fresh prawns and natural sweetness but flavourwise it was very much like a cross between Crawfish & Shrimp.
Shrimp Stuffed Eggplant Topped with Minced Pork Drizzles
We had to add 3 more pieces so that everyone at the table had one. I thought it was pricey to charge $5 extra per piece but I guess every other dish was more than enough food for 10 so whatever.
The shrimp was in paste form – just like the type served during dimsum. Not a lot of eggplant and the primar flavour was the shrimp paste and mayo topping. I was impressed with the crispy batter that was not the least bit greasy and the mayo & pork floss complimented each bite with a tad of creaminess and added salt.
Stir Fried Sea Scallops & Prawns with Veggies ($16)
Another great dish (this post is gonna sound redundant because all the dishes were pretty exceptional). The prawns and scallops were very fresh and cooked to perfection – sweet with a hint of brininess. Yummm… Seasoned beautifully and the scallions & snap peas had a nice crunch and added texture to the dish as a whole.
Supreme Shark’s Fin Soup in Thick Broth ($29/person)
I was blown away by how much shark fin was in each bowl. They managed to serve a full bowl for all 13 of us and each one had a heaping amount of shark fin.
Served with some bean sprouts & shredded ham to add texture and saltiness to the soup. I preferred it without.
The broth is a simple thick chicken broth that is so full of flavour – umami intense. The shark fin were full fins so there was also the gelatinous parts that was a nice change to the crunchy cartilage (the part that is usually shredded and served in the soups).
Whole Abalone Braised with Sea Cucumber (Abalone is $25/person, Sea Cucumber dish $30)
I only knew the price of the abalone is $25 each because we were asked if we wanted to add 3 more pieces so each guest would have one. We opted not to since some of the diners were not big fans of abalone.
I love abalone & sea cucumber and was definitely impressed with the dish. The abalone was not as tender as I would have expected but the sea cucumber exceeded all expectations. The sea cucumber was very tender, gelatinous without being mushy and absorbed the abalone sauce. The abalone itself was impressive in size and quality but was tender enough. The veggies added a nice bitter and fresh note to the luxurious dish. The sauce was thick and and well balanced – salty, umami and a hint of sweetness.
Shanghai 2 Tastes Crab ($35)
My least favourite dish of the evening but it was still good. The body of the crab is shelled and the flesh cooked with fluffy egg whites and then topped with a raw egg yolk. The legs were battered, deep fried and seasoned simply with salt and pepper.
The egg white were soft and creamy but it just didn’t stand out and the crab is quite lost. The legs were a little overdone but tasted good.
Oven Roasted Chicken with Marinated Bean Sauce Dip ($22)
Crispy skin, tender and flavourful meat. It was the simplest but well prepared chicken dishes. I actually did not try the bean dip – the chicken by itself was delicious.
Tender Beef Cubes Stir Fried w Onion & Wasabi Aioli (Additional dish – $16)
One of my top dishes! The beef was surprisingly tender – it was so tender that we were curious to how they got it that way. Marbled with some fat so it was extremely rich and the wasabi mayo gave it an added creamy dimension. I could have eaten just this dish with plain rice and be perfectly content. It was saucy – sweet, salty with a hint of spice.
Steamed Sea Bass w Ginger & Scallions (Live Sea Bass – Seasonal Price)
The fish was a massive – I think it is a over 2.5 lbs.
Extremely fresh and steamed to perfection. The flesh literally melted in the mouth. The sauce was salty and light, complimented the tender sweet flesh without overpowering it. Not a hint of fishiness was detected!
Shark’s Fin & Abalone Braised Rice ($24)
As unimpressive as it looked, once all mixed and served to us in individual bowls – I was blown away. I am usually unimpressed with fried rice that is served at the end of meals because they are usually dry and boring. This was anything but boring. The sauce was an abalone sauce with chunks of asparagus, shiitake mushrooms & abalone and mixed into the simple egg fried rice (I didn’t detect any shred of shark fin though). It was delicious and addictive, I kept eating eventhough I was stuffed to the brim.
Sugar Egg Puffs ($5 for 4)
Very light & airy – crowd favourite! The server advised us to eat it before it got cold and he was right. I had one hot and one cold and it does make a huge difference.
Mango Pudding ($4 for 4)
The mango pudding was missing the evaporated milk but it was OK. Nothing great and tasted a tad too much like artificial mango flavouring. Texture was delicate and jiggly~
Turtle Essence Herbal Pudding ($4 each)
Sweet with bitter afternotes. Definitely one of those either love it or hate it desserts. I grew up eating this and I have to say, they make it really well it.
Extras on top of our $688 menu:
5 bowls of Jasmine Rice $10
Beef dish $16
Roast Suckling Pig $35
3 pieces Shrimp stuffed eggplant $15
Overal Damage: $951.10 (including tax & tip)
Personal rating: 4.5 out of 5 (Excellent)
They charged a mandatory 15% tip, which we didn’t mind (for the service we got we would have gladly tipped more). If we hadn’t ordered the banquet menu and selected off the items of the a la carte menu, we would have spent at least a couple hundred extra. Banquet menus are great if you have a group of more than 10 individuals because there is definite “savings”.
We were served some deep fried dough balls, which I thought was all – but was further surprised when asked what other desserts we would like. We got some Mango Pudding & Herbal pudding and was not charged for those. 3 desserts instead of 1 (as the menu stated). Yay!!
Service was spectacular, which is rare for a Chinese establishment and on such a busy night like tonight. The moment I sat down and placed my jacket on my chair, a man came with a chair sleeve that slipped onto the back fo the chair so the jackets and purses are protected and don’t fall off. Then he proceeded to take my chopsticks out of the paper wrappers.
The dishes came out steadily after ordering and I was wowed by the quantity of food. Eventhough we ordered the menu that is set for 10 people, we had 13 and still have an amazing amount of leftovers. There was more than enough food to feed us all to the brim. Plates were switched 3 times throughout our meal. Oh and the server was so sweet, after getting used to pausing for me to take the picture, he even asked me if I wanted to take a picture before he mixed the egg into the crab dish (I was too busy eating to notice).
.365 Gellert Blvd
Daly City, CA 94015