Our visit yesterday was a pleasant surprise. We were geographically constrained to have dim sum in the East Bay, and my previous best attempt (Legendary Palace a while back) was a disappointment. Previous East Ocean reports were generally favorable, and the location was right. The food, it turned out, way exceeded my hopes.
The pan-fried items were, by a wide margin, the best I've ever tasted. The daikon cake and the XO rice noodles had nice charring on them. The daikon cake was even crispy on the outer surfaces, which made for excellent contrast with the creamy insides. But, even better, the daikon hadn't been completely mashed, so there were distinct (but meltingly soft) pieces of vegetable studding the cake. Normally I can take or leave this dish, but East Ocean's version was a conversation-stopper.
I was happy to see foil-wrapped chicken on the menu, which I hadn't had anywhere since Fook Yuen stopped offering it (and Fook Yuen is now off my regular rotation anyway). Chicken was plumper than I remember from Fook Yuen and much less oily. Flavors were well-balanced -- not overpoweringly gingery.
Steamed dumplings had thicker wrappers than elegance might call for, but they held together well and offered a bit of resilience, which I'd much rather have than too-thin wrappers that tear.
The view is incredible. The bathrooms are clean. Parking is easy. It's an unparalleled dim sum choice for people who don't care much about food, and it's a really good choice for people who do.
Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood
3199 Powell St, Emeryville, CA 94608