Ulferts Center, 4288 Dublin Blvd Ste 213, Dublin, CA 94568 | 925.833.9090 | webpage
Mr. K and I drove to this outpost of the celebrated Koi Palace in Daly City (read about that wondrous visit here), which is located in the Ulferts Center in Dublin. The somewhat obscure location is quite a dining destination in the Tri Valley area, a strip mall with a delightful selection of Asian cuisine including the Singapore Old Time Cafe that I posted about here, as well as a Ramen-ya, Keewah Chinese Bakery, Pamir Afghan halal cuisine, all-you-can-eat Shabu Shabu Restaurant among others. We joined a small group from the Bay Area Noodle Whores who were seated in a separate back dining room that was accessible from a separate entrance behind the main restaurant.
The dining room is spacious but not roomy enough for the ubiquitous steamer carts to navigate very well, so this dim sum experience is a hodge podge where you order things off the menu, infrequent carts come around to the table, and there are servers also walking around with trays of treats to tempt you with. While I do like the spontaneity of selecting things from the steamer carts, the made to order dishes always taste better to me… This was an unusual and interesting dish we began with, a dainty claypot filled with velvety poached chicken served with a vibrant ginger scallion sauce.
The Marinated Seaweed Salad and Baby Octopus $5.50 was an adorable presentation full of bouncy textures and the flavor of sesame oil and rice vinegar.
Someone ordered Steamed Shanghai Dumplings (4) $4.50, but there weren’t enough to go around. I should have ordered another round! Mr. K had one and said it was very good drizzled with the accompanying condiment of ginger infused vinegar and a good dose of chili sauce.
Yes, chili sauce on shanghai dumplings is sacrilegious to some, but he was seriously in sauce heaven. They brought him chinese hot mustard, spicy infused chili oil and chili garlic sauce and then there was that ginger scallion sauce from above…
We fell upon the platter of Potstickers (10/$8.80), which had crisply griddled bottoms and soft tender wraps, stuffed full of pork. These were gigantic, but very good.
The spinach and shrimp dumplings $3.60 cut in half so that we could sample more smaller pieces. The thin wrappers had been griddled to a crisp on the top, a very nice touch.
David was up for adventurous so we ordered the savory Chicken Claw in Black Bean Sauce $2.80. The size of the feet were daunting, but they were slow cooked until succulent and tender and infused with the delicious flavors of the sauce. The texture of the flesh was so rich and luscious that I sucked the bones clean!
The veggie bean curd rolls ($2.80) were stuffed with crunchy wood ears, mushroom and carrot bits and simmered in a delicious broth. The bean curd wrap has a dense chewy texture and the overall effect is very satisfying.
Crispy glutinous puff $2.80 are always a surprise. The shell is made from sticky rice flour that develops an excellent crispy blistered crust, inside is filled with sweet and savory pork.
Rice Noodle Rolls stuffed with Shrimp ($4.50) drizzled with a light sweetened soy based sauce. The lovely noodles are translucently tender draped over the sweet fresh shrimp. This is serious comfort food.
I loved the sticky rice in lotus leaf ($4.50). The rice was infused with savory flavors from bits of chicken and chinese sausage and the fragrant lotus leaf that is wrapped around it.
We always try to order a plate of crunchy Gai Lan or Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce, a welcome departure from the dumplings, noodles and fried things.
I couldn’t resist the baked scallops with sea urchin sauce over fried rice ($18) when I saw it on the menu. When it arrived, one of the girls from Minnesota exclaimed that it looked just like a casserole, which we could not dispute. However, this is no regular casserole. It is a delightful combination of juicy scallops bathed in a thick creamy sea urchin sauce served over fried rice! The flavors are bright and the soothing textures make me wish I could make this fantastic hot dish at home…
We enjoyed the panfried pumpkin cakes ($3.60) which were filled with sweet bean paste and had a nicely crisped surface. The pumpkin, we figured, was coloring the wrapper that is made from sticky rice flour. It didn’t really taste very pumpkiny.
The red bean crepe $4.50 was very similar, the sweet red bean paste was wrapped in a thin blanket of crisp-fried crepes. I had a western craving for ice cream served on top of this….
For the past year, I have mostly been getting my dimsum fix at 99 Ranch market, so I thought the dim sum was sublime. We felt well attended throughout our meal and felt that $20 per person was very reasonable. And while there are crowds, they are nothing like the lines at their sister restaurant Koi Palace in Daly City.