A group of Chowhounds met for an informal dinner at 5 A's Cafe in Burlingame on Friday night. There were 11 of us, so we were able to try many menu items. Yimster ordered for us, and because the chef was from Sichuan and the restaurant seemed to specialize in dumplings and knife-cut noodles, we had lots of those dishes.
Here's a list of the dishes (all that I remember) and some reviews:
--Shrimp dumplings, lamb dumplings and vegetable dumplings: The wrappers were very good, not really thin, but with a good mouth feel and nice chew. I liked the lamb filling the best, but some folks preferred the vegetable. Neither of these were as good as the pork dumplings that Becky and I had at 5 A's last week.
--Vegetarian Goose: These were pan-fried wrappers around a greens/egg filling. I liked them a lot.
--Potstickers: These were enormous. The wrapper was a bit thick and doughy for me, but the pork filling was good.
--Chinese Hamburger: This was a beef patty flavored with soy and cilantro and encased in a crisp wheat wrapper. It was very good.
--Sour Cabbage Soup: Unfortunately, they could only serve us a small portion of this excellent soup which contained thin shreds of sour cabbage and little pork meatballs.
--Fish Head Soup: This was okay, but I liked the Sour Cabbage Soup much more. This soup was a bit bland.
--Jellyfish: Cold, marinated and served topped with thinly shredded cabbage and carrots. This was nice.
--Tea-Smoked Duck: This dish was many folks' favorite dish. The skin was crispy and there was very little fat. The flavor was good, but I prefer a bit more smoke.
--Knife-Cut Noodles: These wide wheat noodles were delicious. They were stir-fried and served very simply. I really liked them.
--Snow Cabbage: Braised greens with edamame -- good -- we could have used one more vegetable dish.
--A spicy chicken dish: I can't remember the name. I like spicy food quite a bit, but I felt that the peppers in this dish overwhelmed the chicken.
There was also a beef dish -- simple stir-fry that was tasty and maybe something else that I'm not remembering. All in all, it was good everyday (as Yimster described it) cooking.
I like this place and will return to try more items from their menu.