I live in the neighborhood and used to love David's Kitchen as our go-to place for take-out (or delivery by the young server on a moped), or to eat in, for nights when we were too busy to cook. David was friendly and his food felt fresh and relatively healthy, perfectly cooked crisp vegetables, complex sauces, etc.
So I was shocked and sad when I saw the new sign up for Kingdom of Dumpling,especially since it was not long after the SF Guardian ran a good review of David's Kitchen. Saw that they had the old menu still up in the window, so we decided to give it a try.
Must say I was sorely disappointed, on several levels. First off, we asked about David, and the middle-aged guy who appeared to be 'in charge' told us some story about how he's David's brother and David is traveling for two months in Asia and he (the brother) is running the place in his absence. Believed him initially but then the story just started to feel fishy--why would they go to the trouble of changing the name on the sign outside? And the new menu? In the end, I do not think I believe the story, and I didn't like feeling like I was being lied to for no good reason (other than not to lose customers). Makes me not trust the guy, or the place.
We ordered a mix of dishes from the old menu (to see if it was still the 'same') and some dumplings, though since it was a month ago I might be foggy on the details. From the old menu, we had the vegetarian green curry, which used to be a symphony of smooth, perfectly spiced Thai green curry base and tasty pea pods, zuchinni, eggplant, tofue -- in its new incarnation, this dish was the closest to the original. The taro veggie pancake was MUCH greasier in the new version than it used to be, and seemed to be simply chopped/mushed taro rather than the more varied mix of veggies it used to be.
The dumplings were so so-- we had the 'soup' dumplings and some vegetarian potstickers and they were a bit dry (the latter) and not as flavorful as the place in Millbrae where I usually love the similar soup dumplings.
The other thing that didn't sit well with me was the super obsequious, yet in-our-face proprietor. He came to our table after EVERY dish was brought out to inquire if we liked and it how it compared to the previous version. It was an intimidating kind of questioning, in my opinion, and I did not like it. I felt like I could only nod 'yes, it's fine' to get him to go away and leave us alone.
All in all, the experience left a bad taste in my mouth and I won't be going back. I really wonder what happened to sweet, talented chef David--at one point during the meal I said to my friend 'what did they DO with him? did they stick him in the fridge back there?' Am curious if anyone has a better sense of what exactly happened.
I know I'm probably biased because I did not want the place to change, but I'm sorry to lose a comfortable little restaurant with tasty food.
thanks. will check out MOM and will make sure to look at the ingredients list as per hankstramm's advice
I was in a Vietnamese supermarket in Orange County the other day and they had a freezer case full of fake meats of all sorts. The kind used in Asian restaurants that serve fake meat dishes. I think it's wheat-gluten based? but may be soy based, I don't know. There were big logs of bologna-looking stuff, as well as shaped and seasoned packages of 'chicken,' 'pork,' 'shrimp,' 'fish balls,' etc. A wide selection.
I want to experiment making my own dishes with this stuff. Does anyone know where I can find a similar selection in San Francisco supermarkets, or the Peninsula (I live in SF, was only visiting the OC) ? Would I have a better chance at Chinese markets or other Asian (Vietnamese, et al.)?
Does anyone know what I'm talking about?
thanks in advance.
I'm putting together a casual but varied menu for a party for 40 in SF. We want to give a taste of good SF eats to out-of-towners (and out-of-country-ers), with food that's fairly easy to eat standing up.