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Lady of the lake, version #938

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Koi Palace

Koi Palace
365 Gellert Blvd.
Daly City, CA 94015
650-992-9000

kissing the squab...
I had tried to get into Koi Palace last year but the place was so packed that particular night that we left and found our supper elsewhere. Not to be denied, I returned tonight in the company of my pal Kerry and we were lucky enough to get seated.

Located in the somewhat plain and nondescript Serramonte Mall in Daly City, upon surveying the building my dinner companion confessed to extremely low expectations for the quality of our dining prospects.

But I had done my due diligence. More than a few websites had said that the dim sum was the best in the Bay Area. I had even seen a credible review calling it the best Chinese restaurant in the United States. I was frankly not not leaving without a meal this time.

Upon entrance we were quickly directed to a table near the entrance, right next to the spare plate station, but a table nonetheless. A favorite of the asian community, we were incidentally the only occidental faces to be seen anywhere in the restaurant.

Koi Palace is one of four restaurants in a small family, two are located in Dublin and one in Lincoln, near Sacramento somewhere. This is Hong Kong style chinese food, a bit more opulence than many of us are used to.

The dim sum at Koi Palace ends at 3:00 so we were on for a regular dinner. There were at least three menus on the table, one was for parties of 10 or better. Lots of chef specials on another. The regular menu is so extensive that it was hard to make a choice.

Like Hong Kong Seafood Lounge, a lot of shark fin, abalone and rather strange fare on the menu as well but I decided to focus on delicious rather than esoteric tonight. If it was good I could always come back and try the weird stuff. Goose intestines with tubers, that sort of thing.

And boy was it good...

I was frankly starving. It was close to six thirty and this was my first meal of the busy day. We started out with a pot of hot jasmine tea and a round of steamed pork dumplings that arrived in a wooden dim sum basket. On the table were bowls of homemade pickles and a peanut sardine or smelt appetizer combination that tasted much better than it sounds.

The dumplings were only so so. Incredibly hot, the bland pork filling fell out of the noodle cover every time I tried to take a bite, splashing the table with soy sauce. Not too interesting, wouldn't order them again. 


The entrees soon arrived at table side fast and furiously. First was a large crab cooked in ginger and scallions, sweet and succulent. It was split into parts and we quickly decided to screw propriety, jettison our chopsticks and dig in with our hands.  This was very messy work but quite delicious. Unfortunately, even though it came cut up in pieces, it was quite a digging expedition and I felt like I left a lot on the table and in the shell.

Next came korean style barbecued short ribs that had been fried. Small gooey, crunchy bites stuck on the bone with an unbelievable chewy texture and wonderful slightly sour flavor. 


The manager came out and told us that they were unfortunately out of the drunken squab. It had been a squab or duck toss up and I went with the less common squab. With no drunken squab, we decided to have the sober squab. Amazing, apparently tea smoked and five spiced, plump and juicy. Gave the squab a quick peck on the beak and dug in to a little cranial meat. Now as a supposed birder I must confess to not even really knowing what the hell a squab actually looks like. How do I know I was being served the genuine article? Lets just say we didn't see a lot of pigeons on the telephone wires outside the restaurant. Very tasty in any case...

We tied the whole meal together with the routine steamed rice. Kerry loved the tea which got a little too strong for me after sitting on the table too long. As usual I craned my neck with every passing dish to see what the other diners were eating Whole fish looked very good. Many things to consider the next go round.

We finished the meal and asked for the check. They brought us a couple extremely light and tasty donuts gratis. I must say that I can not wait to go back and try more food at Koi Palace. It was if anything, better than described. Kerry felt the same way. Best I have had in the area. Clean, well appointed and most importantly, they serve some really great food.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

sounds yummy. the dumpling sounds like a soup dumpling, meant to be eaten in one bite.. either that or somthing to send to the gaijins at table 2

love you buzz

Kerry said...

It's different alight, my usual is the $5 combo plate from the local take out joint on San Bruno Ave. Last night at Koi Palace really was the best Chinese food I've ever had. Thanks for the great meal Robert. Kerry