Restaurants & Bars

Revelations at Beijing on Irving..

panpan | Aug 18, 200101:40 AM     6

As I continue my quest to find genuine northern Chinese cuisine in the Bay area I am diligently following through with all the recommendations which have been made to me from generous chowhounds. I thought, given its name, that Beijing on Irving may prove promising so I headed down, with fiance in hand, this evening. As I entered I noted the absence of neighbourhood Chinese patronage (whilst San Tung across the road was full!) ...not a good sign that the place had something authentic to offer.I sat down and read a disappointing English menu which didn't suggest anything more than the usual local Chinese fare. Suspecting that a second menu existed, I engaged the waitress in Mandarin and discovered a few interesting facts about the so called Beijing on Irving. She winced when I mentioned that I was homesick for some traditional dishes and asked whether the cook could arrange a special banquet menu for me....finally admitting that no-one involved with the restaurant was actually from Beijing...nor could they make any Beijing favorites save a few which were outlined on the menu. She told me that the people in the restaurant, including herself, all came from Guan dong and had simply chosen the restaurant's name to make themselves appear distinctive.I must admit that I was irritated with this revelation but as I was already there I thought I may as well try the cuisine. I ordered bei jing shui jiao(dumplings) -they came full of cabbage and no garlic chives, then jia xiang dou fu (family fragrant tofu)- this is usually served as a combination of finely shredded pork and veggies but arrived in large cantonese style pieces, the same goes for the chao rou fen ci (bean thread noodles with shredded pork).My opinion: it was passable as cantonese food but just wasn't authentic northern Chinese...I don't have a problem with people from other places or countries rendering northern Chinese dishes as long as they do it properly.This was not the case at Beijing on Irving.

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