Dim Sum Club in Russian Hill is a Well-Executed Adventure

Dim sum is one of life’s singular pleasures. It’s the cheapest, most consistently delicious method of gorging on “small plates” and one of the best ways to challenge your palate with unfamiliar oddities. (I remember my first cold jellyfish salad like it was yesterday, as well as the “crude drugs chicken feet” I once ate at Golden Gate Dim Sum place in the Richmond.)

See Also: Xiao Long Bao Shop Arrives on Clement Dim Sum Scene

[jump] So I brought two friends to the adorably named Dim Sum Club in Russian Hill with high expectations, and they were met. It’s not one of those regal, banquet-hall places where trolleys stacked high with steaming bowls of shu mai service seven-foot round tables with lazy susans on them, but the service was conspicuously gracious. (A fresh pot of tea after you’ve already paid the bill is a nice gesture.) And of the ten dishes we ordered, only one could be categorized as mediocre, while six were very good and three nearly ethereal.

We took Tamara Palmer’s advice and got the Shanghai soup dumplings (at $5.50 for four, they’re both a bargain and the most expensive thing we got). The liquid centers nearly burst open with soup. A light, nicely textured Chinese donut, embraced by a thick noodle roll, was a flawless little study in contrast. But the stuffed eggplant with black bean sauce was one of the tastiest dim sum dishes I’ve ever eaten, cooked and seasoned with precision. Not to be overlooked was the salt-and-pepper chicken, essentially a savory lollipop slathered with garlic and green bell pepper, flavorful if a bit dry.

Three satiated men couldn’t even muster a fight over the last dumpling, and walked out having spent only $20 each. While it may not be the most baroque in San Francisco, Dim Sum Club is a well-executed adventure.

Dim Sum Club, 2550 Van Ness, 529-2615.

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