Tai Pan Price, Chop Suey Quality – Tai Pan Restaurant 聚寶樓(巴洛奧圖)

Tai Pan Restaurant 聚寶樓 in downtown Palo Alto used to serve decent set lunches so we went over for a quick bite today. We were expecting to pay a little more for the better environment in this upscale Chinese restaurant but were surprised by the prices on the menu. Instead of reasonably priced business set lunches, they were serving dim sum at twice the price found in other restaurants in this area.

Without asking what kind of tea we wanted, the waiter brought us chrysanthemum-puer (菊普) in a fancy acrylic teapot. I looked around and saw people at the other three occupied tables were also drinking the same tea and figured that that was the only kind of tea they would provide. I am an easy-going guy who can drink any kind of tea even though I am a true believer that flowers and tea don’t belong to the same pot. Fortunately, I couldn’t detect any flavor of  flower in the tasteless liquid coming out of this pot.

To give them credit, all the dim sum were hot when served – they were made to order. With so few customers, they could not afford to pre-cook too much food. There were more BBQ pork in the rice noodle roll than I had ever since before. Unfortunately, the BBQ pork was very tough to chew. The rice noodle roll was soft – too soft to hold the BBQ pork inside – and sticky and was not 爽 at all. We tried but could not finish this dish.

The “skin” of Shrimp Dumpling was again very soft and sticky. There were two pieces of frozen shrimp in each dumpling; the chef obviously did not know that shrimp dumplings would taste better with a little bit of “fat pork” and bamboo shoot to complement the shrimp.

Like the Shrimp Dumplings, the skin of the Pork and Dried Shrimp Dumpling was also very soft and sticky. The ingredients inside were bland, hard and chewy. The beef balls did not taste any better but at least I could tell that they were made of real beef.

The sticky rice in the Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf was actually not too bad but there was not much else.

In the past twenty years, we have seen this restaurant changing hands, and name, several times. Probably will not come back again until there is a new name on the door.

Tai Pan Restaurant 聚寶樓
560 Waverley Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301
Tel: +1-650-329-9168

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