had originally thought about going to china village last night, but with a pregnant diner, extremely spicy food didn't seem appropriate. and it was hard to pass up the weekday specials at legendary palace. one of the signature preparations that's unique to legendary palace is that they include deep fried chopped garlic with many of their dishes. not chopped and stir fried that many places do, the garlic is seasoned and deep fried until golden brown and crunchy. my grandmother made the best version of this with both seasoned shallots and garlic deep fried in pork belly fat. deep fried shallots and garlic are used so much in authentic chinese cooking in everything from dumplings to soups and stir frys, yet there aren't many places in the bay area that use it enough.
geoduck two ways. poached and deep fried salt and pepper. never had bad geoduck, especially when it's $9.99/lb. poached on a bed of bean sprouts with soy/chili/scallion dipping sauce. usual fare if you've had it, sweet clamy crunch, a must try anywhere if you haven't. would have preferred the sashimi treatment, but not possible when someone's with child.
second way with the innards deep fried and salt and peppered covered in deep fried garlic and jalepenos was very popular. a treat for those that enjoy salt and pepper but with a twist.
peking duck was rather typical although the skin was exceptionally thin and crispy. not the best i've had but still very good and definitely worth the $9.99 for a whole duck. the buns were fresh, fluffy and plentiful. jalepeno slices for the sandwich making part was a nice touch.
bamboo pith seafood soup. standard thickened chicken stock egg drop soup with bits of shrimp, squid and scallops. the minced squid added a nice chewy texture, but the standout was the bamboo pith part. if you've never had it, it's a spongey webby part of the bamboo that's looks kinda like bible tripe but has a fungi texture. definitely a dish everyone would order again.
fried chicken with garlic. legendary palace does in my opinion the best chinese fried chicken. not only is the chicken extremely flavorful and moist, but the skin is crispy and when smothered with the fried garlic it's over the top. a must have since i haven't seen any place that does this.
steamed red cod with scallions. your usual steamed live fish with a soy base. goes very well with fried rice and a must at any chinese dinner.
crab sampan style. this is my favor crab preparation as an alternative to the typical ginger and scallion method. deep fried and then dry stir fried with fried garlic and red chili peppers. definitely a step above salt and pepper and only prepared in the higher end hong kong style restaurants. the legendary palace version had a twist by including deep fried black beans in the mix. but it's the chili and garlic scooped onto the meat once cracked opened that makes this dish. koi palace is the only place that probably does a better version of this dish.
yellow chive and sprouts x.o. beef dry chow fun. if you've never had chow fun at a higher end chinese restaurant, it's a must. they use very fresh fun instead of day old fun so it's closer to what you would typically get at dimsum with the shrimp rice roll. really fresh fun is light, fluffy and chewy and this was a very good version. (on a separate menu)
oyster/pork/tofu/mushroom claypot in garlic sauce. this was an excellent version because of a couple of extra touches. the oyster was first deep fried in a very light batter and the pork was bbq pork bellies which added an extra dimension and not as sweet as using the usual bbq pork. the whole shitakes were good too. the sauce was just right and went well with the fried rice.
fook kin fried rice. stir fried rice topped with a gravy full of minced shrimps, scallops, duck, mushrooms and asparagus. one of the best versions of this dish i've had. (on a separate menu)
best comment of the night, "i can't believe we ate all that and you guys are still going!" said by the pregnant diner as there were only six of us and no leftovers. overall, good service even though our waiter was very young and was definitely new. they pre plated a few of the dishes, filleted the fish at the table and changed plates accordingly. about as much as i expect from a chinese restaurant other than assembling the peking duck sandwiches for us. total bill was $160 including tax and tip.
i know there are some chowhounders who wouldn't include legendary palace at the top of their list but i think it's definitely worth another try and at least worthy of a chowhound outing. they've also got a chinese only menu that looked interesting.