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Dim sum at East Ocean, Alameda

Ruth Lafler | Jun 11, 200509:32 PM

It's been mentioned a few times, including recently, but I've never done a full-scale report on East Ocean. This is because my experience has been limited to going by myself during the week, but when the dim sum craving hit this morning I called my sister and BIL to join me. Neither had been there before and both were pleased to realize they could have good dim sum without leaving the island.

During the week you order off a check menu, but on the weekends they have full cart/tray service and a wider array of offerings. One dish I'd never seen before was a take on unagi: six pieces of bbq eel on a bed of fine seaweed, and instead of wasabi, a dish of Chinese mustard. Very tasty!

Otherwise, we pretty much stuck to traditional items which, although not as refined as the upper end dim sum houses, were quite good. The exception was the shrimp rice noodles, which had too much loose, slightly mushy noodle. We skipped the pig's blood and the tripe.

One thing I liked was that the pieces were all fairly small -- I don't like oversized dumplings that are hard to pick up. These were one and two bite sizes, which were perfect. The waitress also used her scissors to cut the gai lan stalks in half -- after struggling with long, slippery whole stalks of gai lan over the years, I really appreciated this! The proportion of wrapper to filling was good on the whole range of items (from dumplings to fried sesame balls).

Service was good -- I've always found them to be warm and "gringo-friendly" and over the years I've always seen many of the same faces. I wanted to introduce my sister and BIL to the black-sesame filled mochi, and when I didn't see any circling, one of the senior waiters special ordered them from the kitchen, checked back to see if they'd come yet, and finally brought them himself, with warnings that they were very hot (mmmmm ... nothing better than fresh from the kitchen black sesame mochi balls!). We were there between 11 and 12:30 and it was busy but never full. Parking is easy -- there's a parking lot in the back and plenty of street parking.

A hearty brunch for three came to $33.50 (with tax but before tip).

East Ocean
1713 Webster St.
10 am - 9 pm every day
Dim sum served 10-2:30 every day (although there was a sign saying they'd be open at 9 am Father's Day).


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