New Oakland Seafood Restaurant,
Tuesday August 24th: the latest in the Oakland lunch series.
We eight ate a lunch that was planned for ten, but two did not show. This makes me crabby. So we had crab.
We had a "set" dinner for $98 with some addition. The theme of the dinner was "eat the inside, eat the outside" since almost every dish had some work to it, and something to discard.
Yellow Chives Seafood Soup: This was nourishing, but had very little of the yellow chive and very little seafood. Some pencil-eraser shrimp, and other bits and pieces of unidentified swimming objects. Tasted OK.
Crispy Fried Quail: Excellent, possibly the best version I've had. The quail were meaty, nicely cooked. Crisp outside, moist inside.
Salt and Pepper Shrimp: So-so. There was shrimp-to-shrimp variation. The larger ones were succulent and juicy, but the shells were hard; I managed to eat them, but diners with a less generous dental plan peeled. The smaller shrimp were tender but dry. Yimster speculated that the "live spot prawns" in the tank at the back, upon their demise, end up in this dish. Perhaps they are "shot in the back trying to escape" (this is Oakland, after all).
Ginger and Green Onion Chicken: This was perhaps the best dish, and one of the best chickens I've had. The whole bird was poached, cut up, covered with slivered scallions and ginger, doused with a delicate soy sauce, and presented at room temperature. The meat was "pink at the bone" ("the way we like it," said Derek). Very tender and very juicy.
Garlic Steamed Crab: I'm not a big fan of crab. This was OK. It was not steamed, but fried in a batter. The batter was tasty; whether it was too thick or too thin will be a matter for serious debate. Unlike the shrimp, where you eat the shell with the batter on it, the crab shell is inedible -- so what's the point of a tasty batter?
Peking ribs: I cringed inwardly when I saw the fluorescent red color of the sauce. However, it turned out to be an excellent dish. Only a few bones on the whole platter, mostly tender meat, no gristle in the pieces I got. The sauce was just right -- not too sweet.
Crispy Flounder: The one failure. The flounder had indeed been fried, to the point of dryness, and then covered with an unfortunate gloppy sauce which negated the crispy potential. I've enjoyed the version at Gold Medal, which is a smaller fish, fried to crunchiness and served sauceless to preserve the crunch. This fish was larger, so many of the bones were not edible (I got to remove the backbone this time, under the critical gaze of Yimster).
Snails in Black Bean Sauce: Very interesting. Smaller than the traditional French escargot, these seemed to be of a similar type. A hard operculum (the "trap-door" closing off the shell) was a barrier, but once penetrated the inhabitant was succulent. Toothpicks were provided to pry out the meat, or one could just suck. The sauce had a good amount of hot spiciness, more so than I would expect in the usual black bean sauce.
Shitake Mushroom over Mustard Green. This was true to its name, very clean flavors, the mustard green very tender.
Service was fine: cheerful, solicitous, helpful. However the place was only one-third full (if that), so it's hard to judge. Clientele was almost exclusively Chinese. We had a great time chatting, listening to tall tales of Yimster's early days.
The cost was $18 per person (however, recall this was supposed to be dinner for 10).
New Oakland Seafood Restaurant
307 Tenth Street (between Harrison and Webster)