Last week my mom and I had lunch at Jade Palace in Palo Alto. I’ve had dinner here several times, enough to be recognized as a regular customer (and promise to report on our favorites and a few misses). This was my first visit during lunch time, and I had wanted to get back here at the first opportunity after hearing the terrible news about the violent attack in the kitchen.
( http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?sect... )
I wasn’t the only one, as several others, some just stopping by and not eating, came by to offer their best wishes and support to the owner during these trying times. I did learn that the injured worker was in stable condition and would soon be discharged from the hospital.
Anyway, back to the chow, we did have quite a good lunch. Nearly 50 lunch specials are available, which include soup of the day, an eggroll and steamed rice. Mom ordered the asparagus beef lunch special, $6.95, and I went with Shanghai wontons (listed on the dim sum menu), $6.95. The soup of the day was hot and sour, and the owner was kind to comp me on a bowl and an eggroll as well.
Usually I avoid the generic h & s soup offered with lunch plates as its typically more akin to cornstarch-thickened dishwater than the real thing. The version here was surprisingly good, even including expensive lily buds, as shown in the photo, plus slivered tofu and wood ears in a tangy and relatively spicy, non-gloppy broth.
Hot and sour soup -
The eggrolls tasted vegetarian, filled with cabbage, carrot and onion. Nice and crispy, they were freshly made and as greaseless as I’ve ever encountered. We avoided the dayglow sweet and sour dipping sauce served on the side.
I had to squelch a wince when my mother wanted to order asparagus beef, since Jade Palace is a Shanghainese restaurant. However, the kitchen did a great job with this Cantonese-American classic. The portion of asparagus beef was quite generous, and almost enough for two light eaters to share with the accompanying overflowing bowl of rice. Unlike too many places, the thickish slabs of beef here had not been tenderized to mushy sponges and had retained good beefy flavor. Nice searing in the hot wok and a touch of oyster sauce added complexity. The asparagus pieces were very fresh, well-trimmed, and cooked perfectly.
Asparagus beef lunch special -
My Shanghai-style big wontons, $6.95, were equally good. The dumplings had a higher proportion of ji cai blended with the coarsely ground pork to lighten the texture, giving them more crunch and fresh green vegetable taste. The wrappers were al dente and not overcooked. The light and delicate seafood stock was quite refreshing on this warm afternoon. Some tiny brine shrimp and dried seaweed added another marine accent to the dish, along with some scallions for fragrance and bite.
Shanghai wontons -
If I worked in Palo Alto, I’d be here often for a delicious and well-priced lunch out on the patio.
151 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306
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