Best Chinese Restaurant San Francisco 2002 - Koi Palace
We could tell you about simple meals we've had at Koi Palace -- exquisite dim sum, coconut-sauced beef and taro in a clay pot, egg noodles braised with lobster until they took on a richness that could make God himself drop to his knees. We could tell you about meals we'd like to have (the menu's so deep it would take 30 visits to try everything), but instead, let's recount the time we ordered the $399 banquet for 10. It started with suckling pig, the skin so crisp it shattered like spun sugar. We had luxurious, tender squab meat sautéed with black mushrooms; cool, clean-tasting drunken chicken; shark's fin soup; a steamed whole fish; and a "lo-han" vegetarian stir fry wrought with delicacies so exotic some appeared to have been grown on Mars. The crab claw blossom and fish maw with abalone didn't impress, but then came shark's fin fried rice and the two-tiered custard known as "double happiness" dessert. Of course, the scary thing about Koi Palace is that the $448, $498, $588, and $668 banquets look even better. Put simply, this grand, 450-seat temple of Hong Kong-style seafood is without peer in the Bay Area.