After hearing on Chowhound that this restaurant has employed one of the chefs from Harbor Village, we decided to check it out. We always make a point of going to the Harbor Village stand at the International Terminal at SFO when we're at the airport.
My husband went recently to the DC Tai Wu with his work colleagues for dim sum at lunch and enjoyed it very much. We have always been big fans of Mr. Fong's in Foster City as well as Tai Wu in Foster City, though we haven't been back to either for a while. The FC Tai Wu's service started to become unbearable (several times forgetting orders and the servers running around like maniacs) so we stopped going. And we have also found other places we like just as well or better such as Hung To in South San Francisco and Joy Luck Place in San Mateo.
The Daly City branch of Tai Wu says Tai/Wu - Mr. Fong's on its sign and Hong Kong Mr. Fong on its takeout menu, but you can't miss it in the shopping center on King Drive near Callan that also has a bowling alley across from the restaurant. The place was packed last night, primarily with large Chinese groups at big tables and one very large party in a separate room with balloons and pink cake boxes visible. It's a vibrant, jumping place with crystal chandeliers and a variety of servers and bussers.
We ordered mainly from the Chef's Specials except for the Chicken with Sweet Corn soup, which was tasty and hearty. As we are not experts in Chinese food, we always make mistakes in ordering. This place has great looking set menus which several of the tables had ordered but they're all for big groups so for two people like my husband and me it will be hit or miss. A miss for us was the Hong Kong Style Spareribs, which I did not expect to be basically sweet and sour pork (not our favorite) including the requisite pineapple chunks. For all I knew this was an American concoction since it's a staple of all the regular and fast food Chinese restaurants. But I guess it's a legitimate dish. Anyway, this version was the best I've had and certainly didn't have that typical overly sweet taste. But I wouldn't order it again.
Minced Pork with String Bean and Dried Scallop in XO Sauce was quite good and a little bit spicy, but not too much. The best dish, next to the soup, was Special Chicken With Mushroom, which had succulent slices of chicken and different types of shiitake that melted in your mouth in a brown sauce. We were stuffed and had enough to take home.
We recently went to Joy Luck in San Mateo and I have to say I enjoyed that experience better than the DC Tai Wu. Food was great (sorry, I didn't take notes but we did have a wonderful crab soup); service was excellent (they double-cartoned several of the dishes for take-out so they wouldn't leak; they brought fresh plates); and the atmosphere pleasant. This is also a closer place for us to go than DC.
But the Mr. Fong/Tai Wu restaurants are very good and if you're in any of the areas you definitely should check them out. And a big group probably can't go wrong. I also get the impression that at these places that most everything that is available is also presented in English, which is not the case everywhere.
Tai Wu/Mr. Fong's
950 King Drive (at Callan Blvd)
Dim Sum Served Daily Mon - Fri 11 - 3, Sat & Sun 10 - 3
Dinner: Sun - Thu - 5 - 9:30, Fri & Sat - 5 - 10