Saturday, January 03, 2004

Lichee Garden Restaurant Review CLOSED

Certain meals you associate with certain people. Whenever I eat dim sum I think of my friend, Kristen. She and I are equally enthusiastic about eating dim sum, those little steamed and fried dumplings served with tea. Dim sum means "a little bit of heart" in Cantonese, so what better meal to associate with your best friend? We've been going together for close to 20 years now. We first went together when we were teenagers and brought our friends, then we brought our boyfriends, then our spouses and now we go with her kids. Kristen and her family have moved down to Southern California but next time she comes back up for a visit I will make a point to take her to Lichee Garden.

I'm not sure how I missed this place. It's been around for over 20 years and it's frequently given high marks by reviewers. Lichee Garden is a typical Cantonese restaurant, with a bustling dim sum service and a lunch time menu of rice plates and noodle dishes. The dim sum is what I tried and what most people were eating when I was there. But I can tell you that based on how frequently they came out of the kitchen, other dishes such as the black bean clams and Hong Kong style crispy noodles also seem to be very popular. As for the dim sum, the classic dish, siu mai was possibly the best I've ever had. Most of the other dishes were distinctive in how fresh tasting they were. The noodles were thin and light, the fillings each slightly different and delicately flavored. The majority of the dishes we had were familiar shrimp based ones but we did have some fried meat filled dumplings and a shrimp dish covered with sticky rice that I had never had before.

The only problem was that we came in around lunch time when the place was packed with families waiting for tables and some of the dishes were long gone by that time. Dim sum is a breakfast meal in Hong Kong and the earlier you go the better for the best selection. Lichee Garden is incidentally one of the prettier Chinese restaurants I've been to with lovely traditional landscape paintings and carved wooden screens that give it an expensive look, but don't be deceived, the dim sum is very inexpensive, Lee and I ate until we were stuffed and had to leave over a couple of dumplings and the bill was just $15.

Unfortunately Lichee Garden is closed for renovations

Lichee Garden
1416 Powell St
San Francisco, CA 94133
Open daily 8:00 am- 9:30 pm