Last month I had a chance to try Hong Kong Flower Lounge for dinner, my first time there since it became part of the Mayflower group. A few of the supervisors and waiters looked vaguely familiar to me, perhaps held over from the previous management. Service was well-oiled and efficient with two changes of plates and serving up individual portions of the soup and our final noodle dish. Six different staff waited on our table. After asking us three times what type of tea we wanted, we were served something else. But that was the only service mistake and we felt that the staff did well on a bustling Sunday night. We ordered somewhat conservatively as there were only three of us. Here’s what we tried.
Dried scallop and crab meat soup, $8 – Very tasty stock and better than the standard seafood soups often found on set dinner menus even though the crab meat was stringy.
Appetizer: Steamed surf clam, $6 – An excellent version with careful knife work, on point in texture and sweetness of flesh, balanced by the slightly bitter savoriness of the tender leeks.
Appetizer: Mexican king scallop with gai lan, $6 – Presented with a fork and steak knife to attack this big and meaty mollusk. Not particularly sweet or flavorful and the curdled sauce added little flavor-wise. No need to order this again, but now we know what a king scallop is.
Cold chicken, $8 – Quarter of a poached yellow-crowned chicken, mix of white and dark meat, mostly deboned with tight firmish skin, high salt level, red at the bone. Just scrumptious served with ginger sauce.
Chef's Special: sliced beef, green vegetable (gai lan), and mixed mushrooms in clay pot, $14 – Our waiter recommended this on from the tabletop menu card of daily specials, saying it was “popular with everybody.” Quite a good deal too, as this modest-looking pot seemed to be bottomless as we scooped out serving after serving of charred beef, tender stems of peeled gai lan, and a many varieties of Asian mushrooms bathed in the concentrated onion gravy. No lettuce or cabbage filler on the bottom for bulk, very delicious on hot steamed rice.
E-fu noodles with crab meat, $12 – Noodles had great texture, but lacked depth of flavor and again, stringy crab meat. Adding some of the gravy from the beef and mushroom clay pot helped this dish a lot.
The total tab with tax and tip of $67 was not much more than we might have spent at a less well-appointed Chinese restaurant. Servings were large and we had enough of the noodles and clay pot leftover to take home for a good size lunch. With new owners, Hong Kong Flower Lounge is in good form.
Hong Kong Flower Lounge
51 Millbrae Ave, Millbrae, CA 94030
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