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Great Eastern Chinese Seafood in SF

Fine | Dec 1, 200406:25 AM

Four of us had a late dinner at Great Eastern on Jackson in SF's Chinatown.

Boiled prawns--we talked the waiter into letting us share 1/2 pound--were a tad tough and not as ocean sweet as many we've had but not bad (though at $32/lb, one hopes for perfection!). Jellyfish, pork shank, and sturgeonlike slices of octopus made a pleasant appetizer too, especially when dabbed with the mustardy sauce. Fried crab with garlic and chiles was suprisingly overcooked but flavorful; I was glad I turned the shell over--the chef had done something delicious to the tomalley--the best part of the dish, although we all gobbled up the large quantity of fried chopped garlic, chiles, and dots of black beans too. I asked for the pea shoots cooked simply with garlic--very generous and tasty. The crispy half chicken was unhealhfully but irresistibly salty and satisfying, though oddly topped with shrimp puffs. I don't remember the exact name of an eggplant and mushroom dish, but it was probably the favorite: slightly sweet, slightly hot, and melt-in-the-mouth tender. I didn't taste the pork and salted fish my BH ordered, but understand it was a stellar version.

A platter of complimentary orange slices, a pot of tea, rice, and two $10 corkages came to about $130 before tip. All and all a delightful meal, despite a couple of minor misses.

This is not the cheapest restaurant, by any means, but it's a comfort to know it's still reliable and OPEN LATE!

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