Oh. My. Goodness! I have a French visitor just now and used his visit as an excuse to check out Hong Kong Lounge II at 3300 Geary because i’d read Michael Bauer’s review back in the spring and was curious. He’s right, it’s fab.
I’ve eaten a lot of dim sum, but i never had it this good, not even at the storied Yank Sing, about which i’ve repeatedly raved. Not that Yank Sing isn’t still a wonderful place to take out of towners owing to the spectacular setting and high quality, but the most honest part of my tongue is my taste buds, and they vote for Hong Kong Lounge II.
Is it a bargain? No. The prices are right up there with Yank Sing, noticeably pricier than typical, but the quality is breathtaking.
The only dish we had that was less than superb was the salt and pepper soft shell crab, which was merely good.
The dry cooked string beans, a great favorite of mine, were dramatically better than any i’d had elsewhere – tender but still crisp and sauced to perfection.
I might have had shrimp dumplings (har gow) as good somewhere but don’t recall when or where. These contained large shrimp and were wonderfully tender and flavorful.
The braised pork belly was utterly succulent, wading in a rich sauce, and accompanied by little flattened rolls that could be easily opened up, lightly anointed with the accompanying bowl of Chinese mustard, and stuffed with a piece of the pork so you could eat it as a small sandwich.
The egg custard tarts (dan tat) for dessert were absolutely perfect. Never had ’em better.
Since i mentioned “pricey” earlier i’ll go ahead and add that the bill for a pot of pu’er and the above feast came to $47, and since it left us both stuffed, that’s not very pricey. Better yet, Valentin picked up the check.
My only disappointment was not seeing the baked pork pastry (char siu sou) on the menu and then, when i inquired, being told they don’t make it. That said, they do make another kind of baked pork stuffed item that apparently uses the same dough as the char siu bao but is cooked in a dry oven, so maybe i’ll try that next time since several reviewers quite liked it.
While looking for in vain for the restaurant’s website, i ran across Patricia Unterman’s review. She rates right up there with Ruth Reichel as my favorite restaurant reviewer, and i was delighted to see from her review that they serve that Shanghai-style soup dumpling (xiao long bao), which i’ll definitely have next time.
Now that i’ve eaten lunch there, i’m dying to go in for dinner. Stay tuned.
Oh, and here’s a photo of the Seward Street Slides, where i took Valentin on the way to lunch.
That’s him at the top of the left slide.