Best Dim Sum San Francisco 2001 - Oriental Pearl
Part of the fun of the dim sum experience is pointing out what you want from a passing trolley and getting it instantly -- the essence of immediate gratification -- but all too often the snack in question has been sitting around in a steam table, getting tired and listless. Not an issue at Oriental Pearl, where all of the dim sum is freshly cooked to order. The difference is immediately obvious: Oriental Pearl's dumplings, cakes, and pot stickers are light, lovely, and imaginative. Lotus leaves enclose packages of moist, steamy rice and pungent sausage; taro, shrimp, and Chinese bacon are puréed into a jazzy frittata; sweet, plump prawns are wrapped in a delicate casing with snippets of fresh chive; a light and lovely flan is showcased in a delicate, buttery crust. The surroundings match the refinement of the cooking and are among the most elegant in Chinatown, with burnished gold accents, delicate china, and intricate wicker prevailing.