Full Blog post with a bunch of pictures:
Champagne Seafood Restaurant is a new Chinese Restaurant in downtown San Mateo that opened in Joy Luck Place’s old location. The Chinese name for the restaurant translates to First Class Kings Court. They redid the internals and create a large dining room along with several very classy private dining rooms. The chef is Kam Pui Lai. This restaurant serves lunch Dim Sum and traditional Cantonese Chinese Dinner. Champagne Seafood has people circling with dim sum that you get food from, no carts.
Decor, Vibe – Fancy decor with lots of stylish wall accents, big murals, several Flat Panel TVs, new wide chairs, seafood tanks in the back, and a Hong Kong restaurant-feel. Mostly Asians were dining when we visited for lunch, place was loud, hectic, and crowded like most popular dim sum places. We had to wait about 30 minutes for a table.
668 Abalone Shark’s Fin Soup Dumpling in broth ($6.80) is totally not PC but a reference test dish. One of the few to include Abalone, this version was very good with lots of delicious filling but a more sedate broth.
607 Deep Fried Meat Dumpling ($2.60) or Ham Sui Gok were hot out of the fryer and very good. Nice minced meat filling.
648 Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll ($4.50) was had tasty big shrimp, chewy rice noodle wrapper, and a nice soy sauce. Couple veggies on the side too.
609 Deep Fried Sesame seed ball ($2.60) were ordered through the waitress and arrived freshly made. Hot with a thick skin but just the right sweetness of black sesame inards.
641 Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf ($4.50) was very good. Rice was cooked fine, lots of filling, and a quality egg yolk inside.
603 Chicken Feet with black bean sauce ($2.60) was made the classic way and hit the spot 100%.
619 Beef Tripe ($3.50) was a solid hit with lots of good stuff. They were lazy and included some of the more inedible parts.
629 Egg Yolk Lava Bun ($3.50) was excellent and reminded us of Hong Kong. Freshly steamed, lots of yolk, and some flavorful yolk at that.
636 Super Egg Puff ($3.50) is not as nice as Koi Palace’s but still excelled with good crispiness and sweetness at a lower price.
614 Steamed Shrimp Dumpling ($3.50) or Har Gow were five smallish bites of dim sum. Shrimp was fair, not top notch. Wrapper was decent.
602 Steamed Pork Spare Ribs ($2.60) had a good quantity, but flavor was on the salty side and broth was marginal. Black fungus to sop up the greasy juice.
631 Egg Custard Bun ($3.50) were three little buns with a nice custard inside. Nearby ABC Cafe’s are still better.
671 Steamed Shanghai Dumpling (8pcs for $6.50) were housed in silver foil with all the soup already leaked out. Soggy mess and clearly a big miss. Clearly a Cantonese person trying to cook a Northern Chinese dish.
Service was solid with plate changes, tea refills, water refills happening without asking. Dim Sum circulated pretty well during the noon hour, then tapered off. Champagne Seafood Restaurant has a lot of guts opening an upscale Chinese restaurant in the middle of an economic downturn. Food was solid and prices were reasonable. Lunch was good enough to prompt us to come back and see how dinner is.
Compared to the competition across the street, HK Causeway Bay, Champagne Seafood has superior dim sum and a much wider menu. Local top spots Daly City’s Koi Palace and Millbrae’s Asian Pearl Peninsula still rank higher. Hopefully in time, this place will become even better.