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Restaurants & Bars 17

Shan Dong (Oakland) Report

oakjoan | Mar 3, 2008 06:12 PM

We went with friends to Shan Dong on Friday night. It was my first time.

I was very happy with some dishes and not that thrilled with a couple and didn't like one at all.

First, we all loved the place itself. It was cheery and packed with people. The mirrors across the back wall make it look like a gigantic place. Reminded me of several restaurants in Paris in the early 60's, particularly on the Champs Elysee. When one entered, one found oneself in a vast hall, with hundreds of people having lunch. Then one adjusted one's eyes and realized that the place was just a medium sized restaurant with mirrored walls. It seemed to be fad of some kind.

But I digress....

We were 1 vegetarian and 3 omnivores. We had no idea what to order except for the dumplings.

Mr. Veg. ordered mu shu veg, an eggplant dish, and veg dumplings. The eggplant dish was the star of the evening. I don't think there was a bit of eggplant or sauce on the platter after we finished wolfing.

My husband ordered a chicken dish (Shan Dong Chicken?). It was one of those crispy-deep-friend nuggets things with a very sweetly tangy sauce. It was delicious, but nothing world-shaking.

We also ordered pork and chive dumplings. This was the second time I'd had them (take out a few months ago) and I had the same opinion. I don't know what the shouting is about. My sister loves them (She's been there several times with large parties) and I've read raves here, I think. They have some kind of flavoring I don't like that much.

I also ordered an onion pancake which was a big disappointment. It was doughy, very tough, and pretty greasy. It seemed as if it'd been waiting around for some time. We left half of it. Usually the vinegary/sesame oily sauce makes up for what lacks in dishes...not this time.

But my favorite dish was an absolutely perfect and simple soup I ordered for myself. It was tofu and spinach in a broth. I added a dollop of chili oil. I had to wait for some time until the soup cooled down to eat it without burning my toungue. The broth was rich and tasty.

Although there were some duds, all in all we loved the place. The service was friendly and efficient and the bustle made it cozy. We'll go back.

Next time I'll look for suggestions from the earlier posts to this Board and call my sister. Dumb of me not to last Friday.

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