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Sharuf | Jul 2, 200211:28 AM     7

Since I get an occasional craving for egg fu young (to each her own), I am undertaking an intermittent search in the Chinese restaurant wasteland of Marin. My idea of proper fu young is three eggy omelets, the size and shape of medium pancakes, containing bean sprouts and maybe other bits of veggie along with the selected meat or shrimp, and generously topped with gravy.

Yesterday, after seeing an earlier suggestion on this BB, I went to Chrysanthemum on the San Rafael 4th St. Miracle Mile.

Got there at 11:40 and it was locked up, although the lights were on and the sign said it opened at 11:30. After poking around out back, I went to the front door again just as they were opening up. The lady in charge left me standing there while she fussed around with this and that before seating me.

The place is an attractive, upscale, carpets-and-tablecloths type of restaurant. I expected to see what I call the "ambience surcharge", and sure enough, the prices showed about a 40% elevation over what you would usually pay for regular stuff like chow mein or wonton.

Egg fu young was not on the lunch menu, so I ordered it from the four versions on the regular menu. $9.00 for the BBQ pork version! (Shrimp was $11!) Plus I had to kick in another buck for some rice. Pretty pricy for something that's supposed to be basically a cheap dish.

It arrived looking like something I'd never seen before. The three cakes resembled very thick (1-1/2") hamburger patties with squared-off edges. They looked like they had been formed inside a crumpet ring. They contained chopped cabbage, a little onion, and a generous amount of BBQ pork. No bean sprouts, alas.

Everything was tasty enough, but it's not where I'd drop in for a cheap quick fu young fix.

BTW, the manager/server told me three times that the tea wasn't ready yet, but it would be along. It still hadn't appeared by the time I left at 12:20.

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