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Restaurants & Bars 2

Little Hong Kong (El Cerrito) -- good dinner

Joel Teller | May 31, 200406:53 PM

We had a good dinner at LHK yesterday (Sunday evening, Memorial Day weekend). It was our first time there, inspired by an earlier posting, and we will be back for sure.

It's a roomy, quiet place, about half-full while we were there. A sketchy neighborhood of auto-repair places and the like, but parking is easy. Multigenerational Asian families at large tables, many of them enjoying the live seafood specialties. Also they have a "Peking Duck three-ways" for $30 that seemed popular. Service was brisk but pleasant; they brought the dishes out one at a time. Sometimes when those of us of the Caucasian persuasion go to a Chinese place, all the dishes are brought at once, under the assumption that we like it that way.

The five of us (plus a three-year-old) had these dishes:

House special chicken shreds (cold-poached) with a fragrant dipping sauce. The main feature of this dish is the skin, which I enjoyed greatly. But the others in our group expressed a preference for "crispy" skin, and not the "crunchy" kind that the Chinese favor. The meat was flavorful but tough, and we won't order this again.

Salt-and-pepper prawns: Perhaps the best I've had. The spicy/salty/sweet coating was just right, and the prawns themselves were exceptional. The first person to bite into one spurted juice across the table, and I laughed at him until the same thing happened to me. The prawns were full of savory juice -- this is the dish where you eat the whole thing, shell and all.

Chinese okra (from the "specials board"), stirfried with ginger and garlic. Crunchy, fresh, bright green.

Tofu steamed with seafood in lotus leaf. A large bamboo steamer tray brought to the table, filled with lots of tofu and bits of shrimp. scallop, mushroom. Mild yet flavorful.

Salt-and-pepper asparagus (from the "specials board"). Yes, we had to have two salt-and-pepper dishes! The last dish served and it was a winner. Tender two-inch sections of asparagus stalk, perfectly cooked in a light batter (same as for the prawns). Think of asparagus french-fries.

We saw numerous platters of ong choy (Chinese "watercress") go by but we were already stuffed.
They gave us a complimentary dessert: Cold tapioca/mango soup. It hit the spot.

They charged us $5 per bottle for corkage and the 5+ of us were well-fed for $63 (including tax and two corkages, but before tip).

Little Hong Kong
10443 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito


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