Situated in a nice prominent spot on Santana Row with close parking, the only thing better than it’s placement, is the wonderful décor. The food is what you would expect from a mid-priced restaurant, and while the menu isn’t very exciting there is a relatively wide choice of foods to choose from. It’s crying shame that with the expense taken to situate, decorate and prepare food that it’s represented by slow, mistake prone wait staff. Of the nine dishes ordered, only 6 made it to the table. The rest only appeared after we pointed out that 2+ meals were missing. Also, a Tuesday lunch shouldn’t take 2 hours to serve.
I doubt I’ll return to Sino, and I’ll be sure to let people know what I encountered should they ask me.
Well, first of all, the only reason this place is getting 4 stars is because I've been to a 5 star restaurant and it's impossible to equivocate Sino's with that. The decor is very modern asian fusion sort of bar/lounge/restaurant. Very interesting design, though, I did think it weird that the tables are intentionally a bit sticky. Anyway.
I went there for dim sum around 2pm(and their dim sum hours are 11am-4pm btw). There're no carts. Everything is made-to-order dim sum. They've got a decent selection, but certainly not as great as Koi Palace, Joy Luck Place, Flower Lounge or other places. Probably 25 items total.
There were a lot of white people, too. Serving staff is comprised of pretty white girls, no Chinese people that I saw. And as someone who has been to Ming's of Palo Alto, I can assure you, I was scared that this dim sum was going to be terrible. I was completely surprised.
The siu mai was good, but nothing you haven't had anywhere else. The har gaw was exactly as it is prepared at Koi Palace. The skin was cooked to perfection and so soft that the shrimp can pop right out if you're not careful. Shanghai dumplings were nearly perfect except that they stuck to the bottom of the steaming basket and tore when you would pull them out, so what little soup they contained would run out. Had some pork potstickers that were amazing. Completely stuffed full. But I have to say, the most surprising was the cha siu bao. Never before have I had such big pork buns. And they were perfect! Perfect soft texture. And they were literally bursting from being filled with BBQ pork. They were absolutely delicious.
Unfortunately, I didn't try anything more risky like the chicken feet because I was taking my friend who had never been to dim sum before. So I played it safe with the safe dishes. But I am definitely going to return with my asian friends to test out some of the others. One last thing to comment on is the price. It's a little pricier than most places(even Koi Palace), so it's definitely not your everyday dim sum. Still, it's definitely a place you should go at least once.
Would've given them a 5 star rating, but we waited roughly 10 minutes for our server/waiter to finally come by and introduce herself. But, she was very apologetic, and more than made up for it with excellent and attentive service the rest of the evening. We were seated behind this partition that was separated from her main area of responsibility, so she did not have direct view of our table. I'd fault the setup, instead of the waiter. We had the Lollipop Chicken as an appetizer, sea bass, tangerine beef, and string beans as our main course, along with an order of brown rice. Everything was very very GOOD, and serving size was pretty adequate for an upscale restaurant. We definitely took food home. Will definitely come back for these same entrees and to try the others.
I have been to Sino for dim sum lunch several times and to dinner once. The food is really great. It is Chinese food with California sensibilities of high quality ingredients, slightly fusion, and less greasy than other Chinese food. The green dragon (green tea!) martini was the best mixed drink I have ever had. But the service is really lacking. Really lacking at lunch but even worse at dinner. The setting is that wonderful California cool/Asian chic interior and the food is the best Chinese/Asian that we have ever had.
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