My mother, great-aunt and I made plans weeks ago to have dim sum at Harbor Village today, not realizing it was Chinese New Year and it would be packed. Fortunately my ever-punctual GA had arrived really early and snagged a nice table by the window overlooking Justin Herman Plaza.
However, even if we had had to wait, it would have been worth it. I don't know if it was specifically because it was New Year or just because they knew there would be crowds, but there were more offerings on the carts than I've ever seen.
It was my turn to buy, so I was able to indulge myself by grabbing some extra, more exotic dishes.
I wasn't taking notes, but as far as I can remember we had:
Shrimp and scallop dumplings
Tofu/gluten three ways
Braised eggplant topped with chopped shrimp
Seaweed salad with sesame dressing
Baked pork buns
Shrimp toast (whole shrimp)
Fried rice (in the upside-down bowl)
I always find the roast duck here, served on a bed of candied soy beans, irresistible: dark, slightly crisp glazed skin with just the right amount of fat left underneath and moist flesh. The portion ($7) is large enough that even with three of us there were a couple of pieces left over.
Other dishes we thought were especially good: the wrapper on the spinach dumplings were tender as was the spinach, without any bitterness; the baked pork buns were the most delicate I've ever had, only a couple of inches across, the dough thin and tender and the meat delicate yet flavorful. Gluten is my new "thing" -- this plate had nuggets of mock BBQ pork, and two other preparations (one lightly curried soft gluten (yummy!), one that looked like tofu skin rolled almost like an omelet). Three tastes for the price of one!
The only dish that disappointed me was the fried rice -- the version we had at South Sea Seafood Village was much better.
Things we passed on included the seaweed salad with various seafood like abalone and/or octopus and jellyfish with pork shank. I also saw the noodles rolled into little cigars we had at South Sea Seafood Village, but alas there were only three of us (and one was 82), so our selections were modest.
Plates range from $2.60-$7.00. The tab for three of us, including tea, tax and tip was $62, which I thought was reasonable given the quality, the variety, the presentation (the plate with the shrimp toast was decorated with an orchid blossom), and the upscale setting. I only wish I'd had room for dessert!
4 Embarcadero Center, Second Level