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San Francisco Bay Area

Downhill alert: Mama Lan's

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Downhill alert: Mama Lan's

Miele Maiale | Sep 17, 2005 11:55 AM

Having heard wonderful things about the crab at Mama Lan's, a Vietnamese restaurant on Gilman in West Berkeley, we decided to forgo Lalime's and go across the street instead. Overall, the experience was extremely disappointing.

Imperial rolls were $5.95 for two TINY pallid rolls with a heavy doughy filling. The much touted garlic noodles were an overcooked, buttery mess with what tasted like jar garlic. The much touted tamarind crab with what the waiter described as an "uncanny sweet and sour taste" was drowned in a sludgy mass of onion gravy with nary a whiff of tamarind.

Service was comical, with our waiter trying way too hard to be overly solicitous, but coming off ridiculous. I was asked twice if I liked the crab, and both times, I replied that the sauce wasn't good. Both times, his response to me was "But you enjoyed it nonetheless, right?" He even asked if we wanted to pack the sauce to take home with us. I was rather dumbfounded, so didn't take this any further.

The bill came to around $52. Money not well spent.

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