Note: this post was split out from the 2007 Chowing with the Hounds Picnic report by the moderators--that thread is here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/44850...
It's been years since I've gone chowhounding with the SF hounds; this was just like the good old days, which I miss terribly.
Lily's was great. Thanks to Melanie's guidance and a bit of negotiating with the chef, we hit on some excellent Shanghainese small plates; the standout was the smoked fish, which exceeds any version I've had in this country -- it was exceptionally sweet and crisp. Mock goose, wine poached chicken and kaofu were also very well made.
I was also very impressed with the dragonwell shrimp; despite the faintness of the dragonwell flavour, the curls of shrimip were impeccably cooked -- full of shrimpy sweetness as a counterpoint to the dipping black vinegar, and perfect, delicate succulence.
The beggar's chicken might have been tad overcooked, the flesh not as tender as it could have been. But the aroma and the deliciousness of the stuffing were unimpeachable -- I especially liked the mushrooms and the dried scallops.
Xiao long bao had good skins, but a notch below the delicacy of the ones at Su Hong in Palo Alto whch I had years ago. The merit of their rendition, however, lay in the quality of the filling and flavourful liquid.
Dessert were elegant glutinous rice dumplings cooked in rice wine with a lingering sweetness of osmanthus flowers.