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Dinner at Legendary Palace, Oakland Chinatown

Yvonne | Dec 8, 200212:52 AM

I just got back from dinner at Legendary Palace in Oakland Chinatown. Our party of 6 showed up a little after 9 pm, hoping they'd serve us dim sum since I'd read here that they start serving dim sum 10 pm-1 am. Unfortunately, I was informed that they've stopped serving dim sum at night. I wasn't quite clear on whether they'd be starting up again anytime soon. Communication was a bit of a problem as I speak English-accented Mandarin and the staff spoke Cantonese-accented or no Mandarin at all. We ended up ordering from the dinner menu since the set banquet menus started at $288. Overall, I thought the food was quite good but I'm not sure it's the best in the area. I was surprised that salt-and-pepper crab was $20 for one that was a little under 2 pounds since I thought prices would be lower this season. We also ordered fish maw and crab soup, Peking duck (Cantonese-style), clams in black bean sauce, stir-fried large pea leaves, and beef stew in clay pot. Along with tea and rice, the pre-tip total was $100, which seemed reasonable to me. I think the service strived to emulate the high-end restaurants but wasn't quite there. When we sat down, the waiter tried to push appetizers on us, especially the special roast (suckling?) pig, which we agreed to. He came back to say that they'd run out of the pig. Food came quickly and was brought tableside by runners and served by waiters or waitresses. Plates were changed halfway through the dinner. The teapot was kept refilled but after the 2nd or 3rd time, the tea leaves were much too weak for any more refills. They brought complimentary mango pudding desserts while we were still eating the main courses, and only brought 5 for the 8 of us (2 other friends had joined us halfway through). Then they brought the check while we were still eating. By then it was almost 10 pm and the restaurant staff congregrated in the upstairs dining room, where we were seated, for their own dinner. I could understand why they were rushing us but it wasn't a pleasant feeling. We then saw them eating plates of roast pork, maybe the special that they'd run out of?

My final opinion, it's a nicely decorated restaurant and service is above-average for a Chinese restaurant. It seems that their strengths might be the expensive seafood items that I saw several banquet tables eating. Probably more of a special occasion restaurant than general eating. But the big disappointment is, no more dim sum as a midnight snack.

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