Melanie Wong | Feb 3, 201711:15 AM     10

Dim Sum Tea House opened recently. I was there last week on Day 6 of operations, having spotted it while doing last minute new year's grocery shopping nearby.

It is upstairs from Taste of Jiangnan https://www.chowhound.com/post/taste-... and under common ownership, using the same phone number. The second floor had not been in regular use, and now its a separate business concept.

The manager explained that this building used to house a dim sum parlor. As there had been no dim sum restaurant on this end of Clement, this venture was created to fill the niche. I ordered chrysanthemum tea ($1 per person tea charge).

Crispy rice crust with salted egg yolk sounded intriguing to me. No wonder. When brought to the table, I recognized this as one of my favorites from downstairs. Nice to get a smaller serving for $3.88, instead of the too large plate for $11 at Taste of Jiangnan.

Rice noodle rolls with shrimp had been highly recommended by the manager who said they were steamed to order and stuffed with big prawns. Very nice job with a tender, fresh rice crepe filled with three giant whole prawns apiece. The seasoning sauce added at the table was less sweet than most, which I appreciated.

From the SuZhou dim sum section of the menu, Small Wonton in Clay Pot, $3.88, was a bargain. This is another dish that I have enjoyed downstairs and I liked being able to order a smaller portion for a lower price.

Shanghai Dumplings, $3.88, or xiao long bao, came four to an order. Though each was placed atop a disc of carrot in the individual spoon-cups, it was still a little hard to dislodge. Luckily, the thinnish, soft wrappers had enough strength to not burst in handling. Plump with fatty, glycerined pork stock inside, these were much richer and closer to old world flavor than most examples around here. The ground pork filling was somewhat gummy, my only real criticism of the XLB. And they're served with black vinegar and ginger shreds. I was willing to violate my rule of not ordering XLB at dim sum houses only because of the downstairs sister restaurant, and I'm glad I did.

Making friends with two ladies at a neighboring table, I had a chance to try the har gao and lobak go. Neither was very good, tasting stale with a mushy, oversteamed texture. It may be that the best dishes here are from the Shanghai/Suzhou/Wuxi genre rather than classic Cantonese style.

A supplementary menu offers these larger plates.

While my favorite dishes in this initial visit seemed to be the ones borrowed from Taste of Jiangnan's menu, I did prefer the sunny upstairs room to the darkness of the ground level. Note that there is no elevator, only the staircase for access. With free wifi available, I expect to use this as workspace over a pot of tea and snacks.

For now hours are 11am to 3pm, and once things settle down, dinner hours will be considered. The space is also available in the evening for private parties.

Dim Sum Tea House
(Second Floor)
332 Clement St.
San Francisco, CA

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