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Restaurants & Bars 3

Mayflower Chinese Seafood in SF

Fine | Feb 2, 200308:53 PM

We took a friend unfamiliar with this style of restaurant to dinner here about 10 days ago and for the first time in memory got the full "White Devil" treatment.

H-K seafood houses are far and away our favorite style of restaurant and the type we frequent most often. I can't recall the last time our enthusiasm for "real" Chinese food was not met with an equally enthusiastic response.

The reception was very friendly, but the service bordered on unforgivable: Between our boiled live prawns and the next dish, there was an unexplained wait of about 15 minutes. No apologies either when the dishes finally arrived.

We had to wave our hands a while to get our shell-covered plates replaced after eating our Hunan Crab--delicious, if perhaps a bit smaller than it should have been for the $25 we were charged for the $10/lb critter. The lapse re replacing plates got the only apology of the evening from the woman serving us.

Our squab breast with fungus was marred by chewy, unpleasant skin attached to the meat. Perhaps an ethnic variation I've not previously encountered but won't choose again. We all did love the generous quantity of snap peas in the dish; they maintain their cruchiness far longer than the more common snowpea. Some of the funghi were delicious to our Occidental tastebuds, some seemed canned, and some were just plain weird-tasting.

The Chinese broccoli had a tender texture but no flavor. Since this is my favorite vegetable, I order it often and occasionally find it way too underdone, but flavorless is a new one for me. I suspect it was left sitting in water after partial cooking. The oyster sauce was served separately, which struck me as a good idea.

Tofu with salted fish and ground pork (is that the stinky tofu often discussed here?) was indeed a bit strong but had a wonderful, silky texture and was satisfying on top of rice (though, truth be told, I snuck a little hot sauce onto it).

When our server asked if we wanted dessert, I had to force out of her that the red bean soup was included, the mango pudding extra. We thoroughly enjoyed the former.

we were not charged corkage. Whether this is house policy or was a tacit admission of bad service I cannot say.The bill was in the mid-80s before tip.

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