We were nine strong including a couple of MSG150 noobs as we set out for the Four Seas Restaurant and the legendary Dynasty Room. The Four Seas is in the heart of the ID's Dim Sum zone and is flanked by House of Hong to the north and Jade Garden to the west. This was a new spot for all of us and we were all excited, especially by the promise of the Dynasty Room. However, our Dynasty Room dreams were soon dashed when we discovered that there is no Dim Sum in the Dynasty room. No worries though, there was lots of room in the main dining room.
Family Style Dishes
- Fried Rice
- Chinese Broccoli
- Long Green Beans
- 9 piece Taro Cake
- 2 x Siu Mai
- 2 x Hum Bow
- 2 x Sesame Pork & Shrimp Bun
- 9 piece Pot Stickers
- 2 x Sticky Rice
- 9 piece Shrimp with Eggplant
- 9 piece Shrimp with Green Peppers
- 2 x Egg Rolls
- Sesame Ball
- Steamed Shrimp Ball
Luncher: GearyLunch: Family style - $12.00
Fortune: Your financial situation will soon improve.
The Four Seas reminds me of a place my grandparents might have taken me in the seventies (yeah, I'm that old). The sign, the building, the dark Dynasty Room all seem a handful of decades out of date. Two of the primary dim sum quality indicators where not in our favor: (1) the place was less than half full and (2) most of the patrons were neither local business folks nor of Chinese origin.
It wasn't obvious at first that there were any dim sum carts. So, at the waiters suggestion, we ordered some fried rice, Chinese broccoli, and long beans to kick things off. Soon enough, however, a woman showed up with a wok and uncooked dim sum dishes. We asked for one of each of the five items she was making. As she started cooking, the first cart arrived. All of the baked buns and the egg rolls were cold and tasted like they were left over from last week. The egg rolls were exceedingly greasy. I usually shy away from the egg rolls, but at this point in the meal the options were slim. The steamed items showed up soon after and and the quality took a step in the right direction. The sticky rice in lotus leaf was good, although the round sausage bits seemed oddly out of place. The broccoli was very flavorful but a bit over cooked. The long beans were also good but a bit on the salty side.
Somewhere in the middle of all of this, the wok lady delivered the first platter of food. No one really caught on at this point, but instead of a single dim sum serving of two or three there were nine taro cakes, one for each of us, on the platter. When the huge platters of pot-stickers and green pepper shrimp arrived we clued in and had her stop with the eggplant. The pot stickers get the gold star for the day. They were large and plump with lots of ginger. They were pretty greasy though, and nothing compared to the Sezchuan Noodle Bowl just across the street. The other wok'ed items were fine, but nothing really outstanding.
Pros: The wok lady was a nice touch. It was nice to see vegetable options other than just Chinese broccoli. We ate in the presence of the Dynasty Room.
Cons: The selection was poor and the quality was hit and miss. The lazy susan was a piece of crap and kept drifting off center into my plate. No dim sum in the Dynasty Room!
Luncher: AdamLunch: Family style - $12.00
Fortune: You are surrounded by true friends.
Finally, we've made it... We'll be getting Dim Sum in the Dynasty Room! (their half-working neon sign out front really sells the Dynasty Room). The first thing I noticed when I walked was in a kind of "wet" smell. Not mold or mildew-y... just wet. The next thing was that this place wasn't just void of people, it was void of tables. The large room in the middle has only about half full of tables, the rest was just open floor. Maybe there were planning on planning on out-doing the CPDRC's rendition of Thriller.
We sit down at our table, set for eight... there are nine of us. Where the hell are the dim sum carts? The server comes as asks us if we want plain-ol' fried rice and some vegatables. Not seeing any other options, we decide get some fried rice, chinese broccoli, and long beans. The long beans were too salty, but a nice new addition to dim sum. The broccoli... ok. The fried rice actually had a really nice smokey flavor to it... but other than that, it was pretty standard.
Then, some carts started making it around. There was a cart with a wok on it, and plates of uncooked food. We ordered a few things off of her cart... but it was going to take a while to get everything cooked up. The steam cart made it around... and they offloaded a few of the standard dim sum plates onto our table. All of it was decent, but nothing outstanding. All of it was so "meh"... that even a day later, I'm not exactly sure what we got off that cart.
Then the food from the wok-ed up cart start showing up. It became clear that we had ordered too much off of the wok cart. We got 9 good-sized taro cakes, so Geary busted-a-move to get the wok lady to reduce our order. We also got Pepper Shrimp (a shrimp on a piece of bell pepper), and shrimp-stuffed eggplant. Both were OK. I wouldn't bother ordering either again. The only really good thing about the wok lady's food were the dumplings (a.k.a. Potstickers): they were greasy as possible, but still totally delicious.
Nice selection of food. Poor execution on taste. A little pricey for lunch.
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Family style - $12.00
Fortune: You need not worry about the future.
This place actually has a parking lot, which makes me think of it as a destination. I arrived giddy. What was this "Dynasty Room" I've long seen advertised? Dim sum daily! How could this possibly be bad.
The room itself was well lit, but very plain. The lazy susan slid all over the table. The Hum Bow and egg rolls we were promptly served were cold, and the egg rolls themselves were super greasy. The hot food on the other hand was piping hot and cooked on the cart itself! Other than this gimmick, the dim sum itself was average, and the veggies were super salty.
I'm teetering on giving this place 2 chopsticks, but I'll give it 3. My rating methodology has been simple: Four chopsticks means I love it and would make it a destination. Three chopsticks - average, and I'll go if other people are going. Two means I would probably not go again. Since I can see myself tagging along with others on a trip to the Four Seas, I'll give it 3.
Though I'll definitely be back to check out the Dynasty Room.
Luncher: ErinLunch: Family style - $12.00
Fortune: You will receive a compliment from a stranger.
The dim sum was good and standard. I did like the touch of some items like the pot stickers, stuffed bell peppers being cooked to order on the hot plate. This made the fresh cooked items slightly above standard in terms of freshness. I thought the pot stickers were ok, but the won ton wrappers were too thick. The long bean garlic sauce was very salty. The shu mai and shrimp dumplings were good, but seemed as if they came from a premade package. The Chinese broccoli was cooked nicely. Service was pleasant, friendly and prompt. The décor left a bit to be desired – it looked as if they had just scraped all of the cigarette tar off of the walls in an attempt to clean up, and nothing else had changed since the 70’s. The bar was dark and very American Chinese restaurant cliché.
Luncher: FrankLunch: Family style - $12.00
Luncher: JaredLunch: Family style - $12.00
Fortune: Your efforts will be favorably acknowledged.
Luncher: KenLunch: Family style - $12.00
Fortune: Your plans will go well tomorrow
Luncher: EricaLunch: Family style - $12.00
Fortune: You need not worry about the future.
Luncher: MichaelLunch: Family style - $12.00
Fortune: You will be fortunate in the opportunities presented to you.
Four Seas Restaurant PhotosFour Seas Restaurant
Four Seas Sign
Hum Bow Remains
Pork & Shrimp Ball
Sticky Rice & Taro Cake