Even with the Dim Sum Civil war hostilities officially at an end, Melanie is on a quest to complete a comprehensive overview of the area's dim sum houses.
To this end five of us met at Mr. Fong's (949-A Edgewater Blvd., Foster City, 650-627-8729) Sunday. After the dismal experience on Friday I was afraid maybe I'd lost my taste for dim sum, but Mr. Fong's proved that good dim sum can still excite me.
We kept ordering and ordering, because everything was good. In fact, we ended up ordering 24 plates of dim sum and two special orders (half a roast duck and a plate of on choi sauteed with garlic and fermented shrimp paste). The duck was one of the weaker offerings, as it had been reheated by microwaving, rendering the skin less crisp. Not bad and a huge portion, but not something we'd recommend.
Otherwise, I think we were happy with everything we ordered (one person found some of the dishes to be a little saltier than he was used to, although Melanie said they were actually quite authentically salty -- for example, the Thousand Layer Cake had quite a high proportion of salted ducks' egg, making it more savory than sweet).
Fried items were all well fried and crisp; steamed items were plump with excellent fillings, although the wrappers were not as delicate as the best high-end places. As Melanie said a couple of times: it's not the most refined dim sum, but everything was really tasty.
On top of that, the atmosphere was exceptionally pleasant, with big windows overlooking one arm of the lagoon. And service was excellent -- water glasses and tea were refilled promptly, and all the servers, including the cart ladies, spoke English. Over the two+ hours we were there, the restaurant went from mostly empty to mostly full, but there were still a few empty tables. Prices are $2.10/2.60/3.50/5.50, which makes it also a good value for the quality of the food and the setting.
The combination of food, atmosphere, service and lack of wait makes Mr. Fong's a great alternative to the crowds and chaos of some of the more well-known high-end dim sum houses. Foster City is also nicely centrally located with easy access from all parts of the Bay Area.
Thanks again to Wendy-san for bringing this place to our attention -- it's a winner!