Best Chinese (Shanghainese) San Francisco 2004 - Fountain Court - CLOSED
This corner restaurant, a long, narrow room with pleasant but unprepossessing d?cor, offers the exciting cooking of Shanghai, mostly long-cooked braises and stews rather than quick stir-fries. Start with the characteristic cold appetizer platters, including wine chicken (delicate poached chicken marinated in Shaoxing wine sauce), smoked fish (slices glazed with sweet ginger sauce), five-spice beef, and poached chilled duck with peppercorns. Continue with clay pot dishes such as the Shanghai pot-au-feu (pork ribs, ham, tofu-skin knots, and bamboo shoots, simmered in broth and served in soup bowls) and specialties including aromatic chicken poached in five-spice broth and lightly fried; Shanghai pepper duck steamed with ginger and scallions, fried, and served with sesame bread and plum sauce; and steamed pork belly with preserved greens (check the specials board for seasonal delicacies). The place is justly famed for its Shanghai bean sauce, delicious on fresh crab or lobster. Desserts include sweet dates with mashed taro root, freshly made dumplings filled with sesame paste and dusted with chopped peanuts, and the most fragile perfumed almond custard imaginable.