Jin Wah Seafood Restaurantgood things about Jin Wah from the Guilty Carnivore. At least three times a year, at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, I eat dim sum, and I have to admit, I was less than enchanted about my old "favorites".
I knew Fong Chong had changed hands since last winter, which might be good, but might also be bad. And I hadn't heard from anyone who had been there lately.
We had had an impressive dim sum at Wong's King, but I hated the fact that if we didn't want to wait, we'd have to be there early (and even then, we'd wait), and I hated the fact that some carts never came near us. Last easter, we had a large party, and about a third of the group showed up late, which seemed to displease our servers. So was that why we were repeatedly only offered congee? Just kidding, but there were lots of carts that never made it near us. It was good, but still.
So when GC has said that he had liked Jin Wah, I was excited. I looked at the Portland Food Archives, and on dim sum crawls, Jin Wah had also been favorably reviewed. Okay!
Which wasn't to say there wasn't resistance. They're in Beaverton, after all.
So, on Christmas day, we arrive, are promptly seated, given hot tea and water, and then the choices begin. You can order off the menu, or off the carts, or both. A cart with hot savory items was at our table immediately, with a huge variety of things: chickens feet, shu mai, beef balls, sticky rice, fried rice, shrimp noodle, and many more things that were just a blur of pork, shrimp and mushrooms.
And so we had just got there, and we already had a lazy susan full of things to nosh. Hurrah!
And that's only the beginning of the good news. Everything that we had, save the BBQ pork, was as good or better than we had had elsewhere. My partner grumbled that he didn't like the sauce on the chicken legs as well as at Wongs King, and I'll be honest, I don't remember the sauce. I just remember that I liked them there, and I liked them here.
Stealthily, the staff would refill waters, tea, pop, and empty dishes got whisked away. New carts came by with new treats: shrimp & taro, deepfried in a ball, sesame balls, strange little balls made with shrimp or pork, rolled in sweet sticky rice. Tofu stuffed or combined with pork, shrimp and/or mushrooms. Shrimp dumplings. Another dumpling with shrimp and scallops. Several types of congee, rice porridge; grilled noodles; chinese doughnuts; plates of bok choy and salt & pepper calamari; tropical fruit jello desserts with umbrellas.
There are cons, of course. It's not like eating in a diner, or a banquet hall. The surroundings are quite elegant, sophisticated. You'll have to pace yourself, because, if you want to get everything you want in 5 minutes, you can have it. You won't get the opportunity to stack the empty metal steam pots. You won't get to wait in line, or to wait for food to come. There is no ginger chicken or lobster pie... or if there is, we haven't seen it. And it's in Beaverton. On the MAX line. With parking.
So, obviously, I'm sold. It does seem like it might be a smidge more expensive, though it may be that we're just too excited to stop when we should stop. But we're not talking hugely expensive. In our small groups, we've eating like kings for $15 a head or less, plus tip. We've ended up spending less at WK or FC. Course, there was that one time at WK where we only were visited by the sesame roll cart...
I'm hugely impressed by the service. The staff is friendly, and helpful.
Posted at January 02, 2007 * add entry to del.icio.us