PPQ Dungeness Island – San Francisco, CA

We were sitting around SK & A’s apartment chatting and waiting for our brunch to digest before dinner at Burma Superstar. Of course, the conversation eventually evolved around food trucks and I mentioned this food truck that only served garlic noodles and how I did not get it. I have never tried garlic noodles and don’t know why that is the only selling point, which made them both gasped in horror! They love garlic noodles esp garlic noodles from PPQ.

Then SK suggested that we go get some garlic noodles at PPQ for dinner instead of Burmese food. A made reservations and we were on our way 1.5 hours later.

PPQ Dungeness Island is a Vietnamese restaurant that is popular for their Dungeness Crab dishes and garlic noodles. I asked the guy in the front what PPQ stood for, and he said it was just the abbreviation for Pho Phu Quoc, which is also the name for their beef noodle house.

The restaurant is deceptively small, because there is supposedly an upper floor. I don’t know where the stairs to the upper floor are though. The random palm tree in the middle of the restaurant is sooo strange.

Menu is not overwhelming like most Vietnamese/Chinese restaurant; featuring less than dozen appetisers, entrees, 5 different preparations of crab, and half a dozen desserts and drinks.

There is also set menus for 2, 4, 6 & 8 people.

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We ordered:

Imperial Rolls $6.75

Eventhough the menu says 6 pieces, they are just 3 spring rolls cut in halves. These are pretty much Vietnamese springrolls, stuffed with minced meat, vermicelli & a few vegetables.

The skin was very crispy but a tad too oily. Filling was moist, peppery and sweet; a little too sweet in my opinion. The fish sauce usually would help cut the sweetness of the roll because it is a pungent dip but not in this case, the sauce was a little sweeter than usual as well. Overall pretty average.

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Roasted Crab $38.95

The crab was beautifully presented, broken up into manageable pieces and swimming in its own juices and garlic butter. The meat was fresh and sweet, smothered in the sauce which is a nice change. It was seasoned perfectly with just the right amount of seasoning (salt, garlic, butter). There seem to be something else in the flavour but I can’t figure it out. The shell still held all the intact roe/brain that was just briny, fatty and just simply delicious.

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Garlic Noodles $7.25

Noodles came looking a little underwhelming. The noodles were overcooked, they were clumpy and tossed in lightly in garlic and pretty bland. But that was all before we knew the right trick. A mentioned that we should take the briny salty crab broth and mix it into the noodles… and it was like MAGIC! The briny garlicky broth gave the noodles a whole new depth and umami-ness. Amazing, even for Meep who really dislikes overcooked soft noodles could not get over how well the flavours of the broth and noodles meld together.

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Shitake Seabass $17.95

Seabass was pretty good. The fish was steamed with shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce and topped with green onions. The filet was not evenly cut, so there was a section that was cooked perfectly with a layer of soft gelatinouse skin topped with umami shiitake mushrooms and a light soy sauce AND another section that was overcooked. Flavours were spot on but hit & miss on the temperature of the fish on different sections were a tad of a let down.

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Banana Fritters $3.95

Perfect deep fried morsels of battered bananas. The batter was nice and crispy with a hint of salt, and not the least bit greasy.

The coconut ice cream was subtle in coconut flavour, creamy and complimented the fritters well. Best way to end the meal.

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Total Damage: $96 (including tax & tip)

Personal Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Pretty darn good)

The prices of the dishes are not cheap but then… the flavours make every dollar quite worth it. The crab and noodles were nothing like we have ever had. It was not perfect but just so tasty that even the imperfections were easily overlooked. Everything we tried was above average or good.

Service was not very good at all. Even with reservations, we had to wait for about 20 minutes for a table… They were not very efficient with cleaning the tables and setting them up, so even we spent quite some time eyeing these empty dirty tables. We were quite rushed when it came to ordering our food and paying the bill.

I would recommend the set menus, because they are actually very good deals, and have good options on them. :)

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PPQ Dungeness Island

2332 Clement St
San Franciso, CA 94121

(415) 386 8266

PPQ Dungeness Island on Urbanspoon

Ppq Vietnamese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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