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Restaurants & Bars 14

Yank Sing continues downhill?

Windy | May 22, 200510:19 PM

I ended up at Yank Sing twice this week, once for lunch at the branch on Stevenson, a second time over the weekend entertaining out-of-town friends at Rincon Center.

I hadn't been in a while, and after recent reports, I was a little worried about prices. The bills were reasonable by Yank Sing standards ($21-25 per person), but the food on both occasions was very lackluster, no better than say Ton Kiang and not at all at the level of Hong Kong Flower Lounge or Harbor Village, or even a simpler place like Imperial Palace.

-red cabbage salad with jicama, walnuts, and lemon zest. I didn't want to order this, but it was easily the best dish of the day
-The premium tea is quite good. We tried both the oolong and the chrysanthemum, and pots were refilled often. The teapots they use are poorly designed--I spilled tea all over with the long spout.

-custard tarts, extremely buttery
-lettuce cups with chicken and pine nuts (shouldn't this be squab?)
-seaweed-wrapped tofu, fried in salt and chiles. Should have been better than it was, but points for originality.
-spinach dumplings with water chestnuts inside

-dumplings in general. We ordered one of each kind, from shrimp to chives to spinach in translucent wrappers to shu mai. Most were gluey. Some came two to an order, some three or four. No idea what they cost. Shu mai weren't terrible, but like most of the food, they had no noticeable flavor or texture.
-turnip cakes, which I ordinarily love, were soggy, with no crispness on the outside or added ingredients for texture
-Peking duck, which I ordered and then didn't bother with because the skin wasn't crisp enough looking. We passed on a plate of barbecued pork that made me long for the suckling pig at HK Flower Lounge.
-xiao long bao, although I had fun introducing them to the table
-asparagus battered in panko and deep fried (four puny spears--they should have used fatter asparagus)
-steamed bbq pork buns were huge and not exciting.

I didn't get to try several of the dumplings including the chicken basil ones or the tiny sesame balls or egg rolls. Different food started coming out as we left at noon--an appetizing looking steamed sea bass and more fried things plus a shrimp wrapped in bacon.

FWIW, everyone else enjoyed their meal immensely. At Rincon Annex, we sat out by the fountain, in increasingly bright sunlight, as the water fell from the ceiling. Bring your shades.

Service was erratic, at times overly pushy if friendly, and sometimes just incompetent. We got two steamers of xlbs and four spoons. We asked for replacements which were delivered 15 minutes later. The waiters were busy folding napkins when they should have been clearing away plates or checking in on us. I won't be rushing back.

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