On weekdays when my dad's in town, my wife and I would often meet him at Cafe Yu Long, which was reliable for great dumplings. Today at lunch, however, they fell short. We ordered a plate of pork dumplings and a plate of shrimp dumplings. Both sets had skins that were riddled with holes. This is a hallmark of dumplings that aren't made fresh, but instead boiled, stored for a while then microwaved. Moreover, the dumplings were bland--almost tasteless. I could have added seasoning, but one shouldn't have to for properly prepared Chinese food. Capping the travesty was a hair found on the plate of the pork dumplings.
Another disaster (I do have positive comments in this review later on) was the xiao lung bao. When prepared correctly, one should see 24 folds at the top of the dumpling. Today, though, there were certainly fewer than half that and the folds themselves weren't distinctive. Rather, they were gooey and blended--another sign of dumplings not freshly made.
The high point for me was the smoked duck. It had a strong, smokey flavor and the meat was tender (though my wife thought it dry). However, I noticed most of the two legs were missing. Chinese restaurants will sometimes try to pull a fast one on you with the chopped duck by thinking you won't miss the legs. I find it disrespectful.
They prepared the shredded pork noodle soup correctly. It was hot, the noodles were the right texture, the broth was flavorful and they didn't skimp on the pork. It was my wife's favorite of the meal and I enjoyed it as well.
We'll go back for old times' sake, but if they serve another meal like this one they will have seen the last of me.
Cafe Yu Long
743 W Dana St.
Mountain View, CA 94041