Thursday, May 05, 2011

Gold Mountain-664 Broadway, between Grant and Stockton

Note: The title of this post is completely, entirely, 100%  so I can have a record of the restaurant for the next time I'm planning a trip to glorious San Francisco.  

Also, how ironic is it that I'm posting about Chinese food on Cinco de Mayo?  

Admittedly, not my best shot.  Don't you just love those awkward mid-bite photos?

You know that part in Sleepless in Seattle, where Meg Ryan is dancing with her fiance (who is a total nerd in this show but ends up being Sandra Bullock's rugged dreamboat in While You Were Sleeping) on New Years Eve about meeting up in New York City for Valentines, and the fiance (Walter?  Is that his name?) is all excited about the two of them doing Dim Sum, and starts singing (to the tune of "Jeepers creepers, where'd you get those peepers" which is what the band is playing at the time) "Dim Sum, Dim Sum, blah blah blah whatever"?

Remember that part?


I can't believe it. 

Well, anyway, ever since I first saw that movie (while lying on the floor in Sarah Adams' living room), I've wanted to "do Dim Sum".

And now, I finally have.  

My trusty Frommers Guide recommended Gold Mountain as the place to go for Dim Sum, touting it as "a must-visit for anyone who's never experienced what it's like to dine with hundreds of Chinese speaking patrons conversing loudly at enormous round tables among glittering chandeliers and gilded dragons while dozens of white-shirted waitstaff push around stainless steel carts filled with small plates of exotic-looking edible adventures." As Eric and I were among those who had never experienced this, it was obviously something we absolutely had to do, and Gold Mountain was the place where we had to do it. 

So, we did.  

If you don't know what Dim Sum is, you're not alone.  Neither did I.  It's a little hard to explain, but it's essentially like a Brazilian Barbeque (a la Rodizio Grill), but instead of guys walking around with meat skewers, you have men and women pushing around carts of Chinese appetizers.  

If you want a more detailed explanation, imagine this:  You enter a restaurant and a man who speaks very little English immediately sits you down and gives you plates, silverware, a pot of tea, and a ticket.  You're thirsty (having just walked up and down several of San Francisco's famed hills), but tea isn't your thing, so you want to ask for water.  Sadly, the man is gone and you won't see him again for at least 15 minutes.  

Your husband leaves to visit the facilities, and within seconds of his leaving, an Asian woman wheels a cart to your table.  She says something you can't understand, and you ask her to repeat it.  She again says something you can't understand, and motions to a small plate of what you think are some kind of dumpling.  You say "yes."  She puts the plate on your table, pulls out a stamp which she uses to stamp your ticket, and goes on her way.  You take a bite of the dumpling.  It's deep-fried, and delicious, with some kind of savory filling inside. You don't know what's inside, but you don't really care.  Everyone else is eating it, right?  It must be perfectly safe.  

Your husband returns, and the two of you sample several other plates from the cart pushing waitstaff, some of it absolutely heavenly (deep fried shrimp, steamed pork buns anyone?) and some of it pretty marginal ("beef balls"--round balls of gelatinous beef that Eric enjoyed (for the flavor) and I did not.)  You ask the cart pushers for water, but once they understand what you're asking, they motion you to talk to the original waiter, the one who gave you the tea.  (You do eventually find him, and he gives you water.)

After tasting five or six plates, you find that you're full--nearly past the point of comfort, so you take the check up to the front to find that the total bill for both of you is around $25, including the tip.  



You're extremely pleased with the whole experience, and vow that you'll be back.  

(You also put "Sleepless in Seattle" on your Netflix queue, just so you can watch that scene again, knowing that you in fact, have now "done Dim Sum.")

(Yes.  You really did.)

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