101 Spear St
San Francisco, CA 94105
Dining date: 11/26/11
Somewhat surprisingly, I didn’t eat a whole lot of dim sum growing up (it’s a pretty regular occurrence nowadays). I’ve tried a limited number of dim sum spots in the city and unfortunately I can’t say I’ve found one I’ve really liked (Koi Palace is not in the city). However, I’ve heard from a number of people that the best is at Yank Sing, perhaps the most expensive dim sum restaurant I’ve been to. I’m talking $1.50 per shrimp dumpling (ha gow), $2 per Shanghai juicy dumpling (xiao long bao), and $5.40 for one slice of Peking duck. Goodness. I’ll admit I was in sticker shock.
Located in the Rincon Center, this location of Yank Sing is actually the second one. The restaurant itself is decent in size, but it’s huge when considering it spills out into the atrium of the building. Must fit hundreds. And it was packed (always a good sign!). Given the prices and sheer mass of people, this place must be making a killing.
The service is cart-based, but ask for any menu item and someone will bring it out to you ASAP. And the servers are conversational in English. Probably the easiest, best service I’ve had in a dim sum place.
Shanghai Kurobuta Pork Dumpling
Pretty good actually. Nice skin and juicy on the inside, these were quite tasty. Given the price, I’m glad it was kurobuta pork but honestly I didn’t notice a difference.
Pork Siu Mai
Both were not bad. Nothing special but decent variations.
I thought the duck was quite tasty and the skin was crispy too. I liked that the bun was fluffy and warm. Worth $5.40? Not so sure about that.
A rather typical variation. The pork was pretty tender and the black bean sauce was a classic, yet tasty accompaniment.
Half of our party were vegetarians, so we got a selection of veggie dumplings too.
Mushroom Rice Noodle
I tried the mushroom rice noodle. The noodle was pretty well done, translucent and sticky. The mushrooms added their characteristic earthiness, but I thought it needed some soy poured over.
Honey Baked Seabass
The fish was dense and flaky but just a little bit overcooked. The sweet, gingery sauce was a good combination, but not worth $18.
Typical dessert-ish items came around on a cart and we opted for a few.
Egg Custard Tart
These were all pretty good. The tofu was light, silky and sitting in a warm gingery soup. Both the egg custard tart and sesame balls were served pretty hot and were good variations.
Compared to what I’ve become accustomed to in Los Angeles, Yank Sing was good (not great) but rather egregiously priced. Hell, I might as well have dim sum at WP24 for those prices. Still, I’d have to say this may have been the best I’ve tried in San Francisco Nothing was bad, and a number of items were quite good. Plus, it’s one of the cleaner dim sum places I’ve been to and the service was excellent. I could see this being a very viable option for a special occasion or for a large party (they take reservations) that was too lazy to make the trip to Koi Palace. Just don’t park in the underground lot; the Rincon Center garage is the most difficult parking lot I have ever seen. The spaces are incredibly small and it’s difficult to even navigate without hitting anything. The irony still amuses me.