Asian Pearl Peninsula

I keep driving by Asian Pearl Peninsula on El Camino Real in Millbrae, CA and this place is like always packed. Packed with Asian people, so for a Chinese restaurant, that has got to be a real good sign. There have been occasions where there have been lines out the door.So I made reservations for Andrea and I to try it out; figured what the hell. I had made reservations for Friday at 7PM, but we were about 25 minutes late. First, parking is practically non-existent there. They have a free public parking lot behind the restaurant, but it was full, curb side street parking was also full. We got lucky and found a spot near Capuchino High School. When we got inside, the place was absolutely packed. I went to the maĆ®tre d’ and told her of our reservations and fortunately there was a table available for two near the window, so they sat us immediately. I was afraid we were going to have to wait cause according to Yelp reviews, this place has a habit of seating their “VIP guest” before other people.
asian-pearl-seafood-claypotBut instead we were seated within 5 minutes of arriving. The service was almost good. On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being excellent, the service was a 3.8 and would have been a 4 if they had been better about refilling the water and bringing out more Asian chili sauce refills. Tea refills were good, you just leave the cap open and a waiter or waitress comes by and exchanges it for a filled one. The hot tea was on one of the best we’ve had in a long time using actual tea leaves. We’ve been noticing that more and more Asian restaurants have been switching to tea bags, but Asian Pearl Peninsula seems to be keeping it traditionally. They’re not stingy with the tea leaves either. We’ve been to other Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants where the tea has been so light it was like sipping hot water.

The menu selection is impressive and the picture samples of various dishes is a great addition so we can see what to expect. They have quite a selection of abalone: Australian or Mexican; cooked in various ways: soup or braised. There soups seem very delicious: Abalone and crab in a pumpkin sauce soup…mmmmm. They also have various shark fin soups.The next time we go here, I think we’re going to bite the bullet and ores the dinner date. For $38 a person you get to sample the abalone and crab in pumpkin sauce soup, lobster, rice, dessert…it seems to be a very popular option. Many tables were ordering it.The soup is served in a deep plate on a stand with a burner on bottom to keep the soup warm.asian-pearl-spicy-beef

We ordered the Jellyfish and Beef Shank and the cucumber salad, both of which were quite plentiful for two people. Andrea ordered the seafood clay pot, which was quite good. We especially loved the fried tofu. They got it where the outside is nice and brown, but just the right creamy inside. I order the beef and vegetable in spicy sauce. This dish was OK. The spicy sauce tasted like nothing and was not spicy. It did have good size chunks of vegetables and the beef was moist. The big surprise was how big the dishes were! We couldn’t finish everything. They definitely give plentiful servings. Total bill for this meal? $40.92. Not bad for dinner and being stuffed afterward.

We highly recommend this place if your in Millbrae looking for some good authentic Chinese food. It is also worth noting that the tables are adequately spaced apart so you don’t feel as you are elbowing your neighbors. The restaurant is VERY noisy when packed. Andrea and I found it extremely difficult to have a normal volume conversation. This place would be great to bring a group of friends, but not a dinner date because of the noise. Also this place is owned by The Kitchen which is less than a mile away. People on Yelp said the Asian Pearl Peninsula does not seem as stuck-up as The Kitchen.

Our rating: four out of five stars.

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