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Dinner at Koi Palace, Daly City - Long

KathySK | Jul 5, 200507:23 PM

So, we had some friends over unexpectedly and decided to go out to Koi Palace for dinner. When we got there (weekday, holiday evening) about 6ish it was still fairly empty and we got a table right away. Over the next 30 minutes it filled in rapidly around us, primarily with large family groups.

We did see the elusive and mysterious hot pot being served to a few tables in the back and noticed a sign on the door about it being served Mon-Fri but that you needed to call ahead for it (as previously posted).

What we had:
Japanese rice flower tea
Potsticker appetizer
hot and sour dumpling soup
honey glazed walnut prawns
"Lon Han Chai" vegetarian clay pot
chinese broccoli in ginger wine sauce
golden chives beef chow fun

(I know we didn't play to their strengths in not ordering the more seafood heavy dishes, but one of the diners doesn't do fish/seafood at all.)

There was a bit of weirdness at the start of the meal - originally the waiter either didn't hear or forgot our tea order so we started with the house's complimentary tea and had a heck of a time flagging down someone to get the right tea. Once we finally did get it though, it was worth it. Love that nutty scent!

And then we waited a good 40 minutes (at one point I finally flagged down a host to ask about our order and was assured it was coming but there was some difficulty between the two sides of the kitchen - the dim sum side for the potstickers and the other side for the rest of our meal?) to see our potsticker appetizer arrive. Then soup bowls (empty) were brought to our table and sat there... for another 20 minutes or so. And then more soup bowls (filled this time) were brought out and served individually, followed by the tureen with the remainder of our soup. Then the original soup bowls were taken away.

Once we got beyond that and got to the food everything went better :)

The potstickers were ok, not fantastic - the wrapper had actually sort of pulled away from the filling instead of clinging to it, but it was still tasty. We really liked the bits of ginger and garlic that were in the vinegar served with the potstickers.

The soup was fantastic, not too sour and full of tofu and shreds of mushroom. The texture of the dumplings in the soup was great, but there was a LOT of ginger in the filling (really that was the only taste I came away from the dumpling with). While it was tasty, I would have liked it to be a little less overpowering.

The honey walnut prawns were great, probably my favorite dish of the meal (don't hurt me). The prawns were a nice size, and cooked perfectly and dressed lightly (no overwhelming mayo). The walnuts were crunchy, tasty and just slightly sweet and we hunted down every last little morsel of them. (I will note that I actually liked the candied walnuts served with this dish at Fook Yuen a bit better, but these ones were darn good too, and I think Koi Palace's prawns have the edge.)

The vegetarian clay pot was the miss of the night, in our opinion. One diner didn't like the sauce (I did though) but it really didn't have anything distinctive about it, and the texture of the veggies (a bit overcooked for me) didn't work for me. Also, there were big slabs of tofu on top of it, but they were too soft/mushy for my tastes as well, and with no distinctive flavor lent by the dish. Similarly, the vegetables were all in BIG chunks that are somewhat difficult (for me at least) to manage with chopsticks. This was the only thing we left over.

Chinese broccoli was good, though not outstanding. Tender stalks but the sauce, again, was pretty indistinguishable. Fortunately all of us like the taste of this veggie with minimal dressing.

The chow fun was the other hit - the noodles were excellent. The only drawback was there were VERY few bits of beef in the entire plate, maybe 5 small (very small) shreds.

Overall, we were happy and our guests enjoyed. However, I think for the price and many of the dishes only being "ok" we may have done better elsewhere, especially with someone in the party that doesn't like seafood. Service issues were a bit awkward, but understandable on a busy holiday night.

On a random note, the table of 15 or so right next to us was getting dish after enormous dish of incredible looking food. I almost wish we could have pulled up chairs to join them! On the other hand, I'm a little scared of what their tab was going to look like, as they must have been doing a pre-negotiated banquet menu - that could not have been cheap. We left as their amazing looking lobster platter arrived.


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