Thursday, July 10, 2008

SF Eating: Take 3

"Chinese food is among a handful of first-rate international cuisines. Unfortunately, as served in so many restaurants, this diverse, complex and inventive cuisine is rarely at its best, rarely even at second best. So clonelike have the (New York City) area's Chinese restaurants become, we rarely anticipate a new one. It is a sad admission . . ."
That is what the N.Y. Times' Patricia Brooks wrote about Chinese cuisine 14 years ago, and I think it's as true today as it was then. Moreover, it's probably true for Chinese restaurants in Boston, Washington, Chicago and a host of other cities.

The juxtaposition of ingredients — from bamboo shoots to chicken to lemon grass to pork — is an interesting start, but so many Chinese dishes seem to be created in a mass-production mode. Or at least they taste that way.

Spending the holiday weekend in San Fran, a city with a rich array of Chinese restaurants, I had high hopes that we would encounter a pleasant surprise. Friends recommended that we eat dim sum at Yank Sing, a Cantonese restaurant in San Fran's financial district.

Everything was decent, and most items were very good. But, except for the shrimp dumplings, nothing was stupendous.

With a final bill of $77.90 for two (no alcoholic beverages were ordered), more dishes should have been stupendous.

Don't get me wrong. You will eat well at Yank Sing, but not necessarily well enough to console your wallet.

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