My favorite dish of the evening was the Pipa Tofu (a pipa is a chinese string instrument). A superior soft filling of shrimp and tofu is wrapped in a rice paper and deep fried and served with a soy/oil sauce similar to that used in steaming fish with ginger and scallions. The textural and savory sensation of this dish is amazing. A wispy crackle from the delicate rice paper, a warm fragile custardy feel from the plentiful tofu/shrimp filling and as that filing melts gently, a mild shrimpy flavor that floats on the palate. Bliss.
Also excellent are the deep fried spare ribs in an affable plummy sweet and sour sauce, the real deal saucewise.
The quail is wonderful. Dark and deep flavors, and moist throughout. A nice acidic nudge from a squeeze of lemon cuts the oily richness and brings out the flavor even more. And the frying is perfect -- one can always judge that by the quality of the last section of wing. That entire section should be completely crispy and edible, bones and all, and that's exactly what we got, a crispness from the wingtip that is as light as air.
We also liked the heartwarming westlake beef soup, where chunks of very tender beef swim with egg whites and parsley.
The jellyfish was above par. Good quality evidenced by hefty and thick strings of jellyfish. It's all in the texture.
The steamed scallops with ginger and scallions on the half shell were quite good, but slightly behind Peach Farm's version as the delicate quality of the shellfish.
Five spice cold beef shank fits the classic definitions very well. Another satisfying dish.
The sauteed pea shoots were fine, but the greeness seemed a little less vibrant....perhaps the season is slipping.....anyone knows?
On the whole, Jumbo's a really good place. Overall, I think the quality was more or less the same as Peach Farm. Many of the fried dishes were good, so that may be the kitchen's strong point. Will probably head back in the future to try their braised mushrooms and duck web, various preparations of frog, snail stir-fry, as well as more of their live seafood. Unfortunately a lot of their good stuff is on a Chinese only menu. Translators will be useful.
Cost of the above with tip was $102 ($17 per person for 6).
P.S. If you care about decor, this place (with its white table clothes and all) is definitely more elegant than most Chinatown restaurants.
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