Monday, February 15, 2010
Dim Sum in Contra Costa: The Search May Be Over
Since Tin's in Walnut Creek closed last year, I've been searching for a restaurant in Contra Costa County that serves authentic Dim Sum every day of the week. While I've checked out a few leads, none have been of the quality of Tin's.
Today, I think I've found my place! It's Imperial in Concord, right across from the Park n Shop shopping center, almost directly across from Fry's. Imperial occupies the building that previously housed a Baker's Square restaurant. I must thank another friend, Rick, for telling me about Imperial.
When my friend Ray and I arrived there at noon, the place was packed. There are two big dining rooms. The customers were mostly Chinese. We were seated in the smaller back dining room where there still were a few open tables. As we walked to our table, we took in the yummy smells from the parade of Dim Sum carts that were circling the dining room.
Just about everything that was offered to us was tempting. Before long, our small table was packed with plates of Dim Sum.
A waiter immediately came to ask what kind of tea we wanted. Jasmine was our choice, always a good accompaniment to Chinese food.
Some of the dishes we enjoyed were Steamed Bean Curd in Oyster Sauce
Pan-Fried Bell Pepper stuffed with Shrimp
Pork Dumplings with a Ginger dipping sauce (it is the Ginger sauce that makes this dish special)
Rice Balls stuffed with Shrimp and topped with a piece of Sausage
Steamed BBQ Pork Buns
Singapore Style Chow Fun
We chose so many dishes, we wound up taking leftovers home with us...and, we never got to any of the sweet dim sum, not that I wasn't tempted by the Mango Pudding, Sesame Balls, Egg Custard Tarts, and Coconut Cake that kept passing our table.
Ray and I enjoyed everything we tasted. While some dim sum, the Shrimp Rice Balls in particular, required more seasonings for our taste, this was just our preference and no reflection on the food; added a bit of sesame sauce and some soy sauce and were content. The noodles and noodle wrapping were just right for the dishes in which they were a part.
I was impressed with the excellent service and that, despite the majority of the clientele being Asian, most of the servers spoke enough English to describe the dishes to us. When we asked for specific dishes, such as the Calamari and the Ginger Pork Dumplings, they took our order and made them specially for us. All our dishes were hot and tasted fresh. We so enjoyed the entire experience that, even after we paid our bill, we lingered over tea a bit longer. Even on this busy day, the second day of Chinese New Year and President's Day, we were not rushed to vacate our table.
Most dim sum servings consist of three or four pieces. Price per serving ranges from $2.45 to $5.75, depending on how the item is categorized. A la carte dishes are also served; our Chow Fun was one such dish. And, there were specials including a Lobster dish priced today at $16.95...not that we weren't tempted...
Imperial features Cantonese & Szechuan Cuisine.
Since they do not have a web site, here is their essential information:
Imperial Chinese Restaurant
1680-G Willow Pass Rd.
Concord CA 94520
There is plenty of free parking in the large parking lot that Imperial shares with a few other businesses.