This expensive classy Chinese restaurant serves a pretty spectacular Sunday dim sum with tables spilling out into the middle of the Rincon Center, a public office, apartment and retail complex near Embarcadero. The restaurant occupies part of the central fountain area where the spectacular architecture (the building having been started in the 1940s, containing some impressive murals, and redone in the 1980s) including a fountain where water drops 40 feet, said to be part of the cooling system of the central area.
We were 3.5 (my four-year-old granddaughter along for the fun) and without reservation scored a table within 15 minutes or so, immediately confronted with the menu of over 60 items, and then offered delicacies from passing carts. We chose and enjoyed at various times pork sui mai, stuffed crab claw, phoenix tailed shrimp, Shanghai dumpling, slices of Peking duck, pot sticker, and spring rolls. Robin wasn’t that impressed with the overall quality, but I thought everything was pretty delicious although by the time we arrived, parked, and were seated I was definitely starving. We drank Chinese beer and enjoyed the dappled sunshine and chatter in the echoing high semi-outdoor space.
The dumplings (upper right) were probably my favourites, soft outside and tasty and chewy in the centre, although I also liked the crisp tender deep-fried crab claw (directly above) very much. There were special sauces with several of the items and a good-quality soy sauce on the table. Sad to have to report, the Peking duck meat was dry and chewy although the skin was crisp.
An older male main server brought the drinks quickly and made unsolicited suggestions and the polite young ladies wheeling the carts were gracious and cheerful.
Ordering dim sum is a bit like drinking shooters in a crazy Mexican bar: you don’t necessarily think about the cost until it’s too late. With a 20% tip we were set back C$250 for this experience. I think we won’t go back, not just because of the cost as for the dazzling range of other great eating places in this wonderful city.
Food 8.8, service 8.5, ambience 9.1, peace and quiet 8.2, value 6.2.