It had been several years since we'd been to this standalone restaurant near the Sunnyvale-Cupertino border, so curiosity drove us to come back. Two key dim sum staples, shuimai and ha gao, were both served hot and fresh. Others, including the cha shao bao (sweet pork bun) and tsong tse (lotus wrapped rice) were also good. Not as acceptable was the coconut jello, which came with canned fruit, providing an overwhelming syrup. Today's atrocity, however, was the shao lung bao, which had no soup inside, a skin that easily fell apart and a filling far too large. By now, I should know to never order this Shanghainese delicacy at a dim sum restaurant, but my weakness for this dumpling makes me think with my appetite and not my head. Unfortunately, when I think of today's lunch I think of the horrible shao lung bao and the fact that we had to wait more than half an hour for the first ha gao to arrive. In those first thirty minutes, the same dishes passed by over and over again.
From the looks and sounds of Pan Tao's clientele, this is a restaurant where the locals eat. And, getting to Pan Tao after noon would almost certainly mean waiting for a table and no available parking in the restaurant's lot. However, this crowd would surely find more variety and better quality dim sum down the street at Dynasty. And, they certainly wouldn't do worse by wading through the options in the Cupertino Mall just a block away.