Sherman's Food Adventures: BK's Bistro

BK's Bistro

To be honest, I really didn't have a whole lot planned in terms of food for my 2 days in Fremont.  It was mainly just to visit with relatives and hang out.  But I did have one request - to have Dim Sum at BK's Bistro.  Why?  Well, first of all, I didn't want to go to Mayflower for the 10th time and second, I needed to load up on Chinese food before the next part of the road trip.  However, I did have some lined up for LA...  Whatever the case, I wanted Chinese comfort food before all of the roadside diners I would encounter later.

We couldn't get anymore comforting than some congee, so we started with the Sliced Chicken Congee.  Now as you can see, congee isn't the sexiest thing to take pictures of.  If you put white-on-white, it just looks washed out.  Pictures aside, the congee was solid though albeit not as thick as I would've liked.  Despite this, there was still good viscosity and proper seasoning.  The chicken plentiful and tender.  A solid start to the meal.  Next, the Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll was pretty good as well.  Sporting a medium-thick rice noodle, the roll didn't eat as dense as it appeared.  The noodle was soft with some elasticity.  Inside, the large whole shrimp were meaty with a sweet snap.  There was plenty of sesame oil in the marinade for the shrimp.

The same thing could be said about the Ha Gau (Shrimp Dumplings) as the filling consisted of whole shrimp.  I had 2 of them and neither had smaller chunks of shrimp, they were all whole.  In fact, there was very little shrimp mousse binding the filling together (which made it rather loose).  Again, the sesame oil really came through.  It could be a bit strong for some people, but I enjoyed it.  One thing that could've been better was the dumpling wrapper as most of them were ripped.  That was due to the fact they were soft and too wet.  As for the Siu Mai (Shrimp & Pork Dumplings), they were well-executed.  Also a bit loose, the filling consisted of bouncy chunks of pork and whole shrimp.  There was a minor porkiness to it combined with the sweetness of the marinade.

Normally, I go on and on about Xiao Long Bao not being very good at Cantonese restaurants.  That is usually true because they do not specialize in this dish, but the ones here were decent.  Although the dumpling skin was on the thicker side, it was still delicate enough to not be overly doughy.  Inside, there was actually a good amount of soup, albeit too sweet and one note.  The pork filling was crumbly and loose, but tender.  Either it is a Bay Area thing or they do it differently at BK's, the XO Daikon Cake was a greasy mess.  Normally, I find the daikon cake cubed and deep fried, then tossed in XO sauce.  Here, it was panfried haphazardly and then doused with XO sauce (too much of the oil).  This was tasty with tender daikon cake and briny XO, but far too oily.

One of the stranger dishes was the Mango Shrimp Spring Roll.  Not only was there mango in the roll itself, the wrapper was much thinner and not as crispy as the typical spring roll wrapper.  Texturally, that wasn't all that appealing.  Inside, the theme of whole shrimp continued with an excellent filling.  It had much less sesame oil, which was a good thing (due to the addition of mango), yet at the same time had a bouncy texture.  We thought the mango was too sweet and totally dominated the flavour profile.  For the kiddies, they wanted the Steamed Spareribs with Rice Noodle.  Good choice as the spareribs were tender and well-seasoned.  They retained a meatiness and there was plenty of garlic.  However, it looked like they merely plopped on top an order of spareribs (in the shape of the original plate).

The kids also wanted the Lo Mei Gai (Sticky Rice wrapped in lotus leaves) and of course we ordered it.  It came as 2 medium-sized portions cut in half by scissors.  Inside, the sticky rice was a little on the drier side, but that didn't make or break the dish.  In fact, the equal amount of ground pork filling helped add the necessary moisture and flavoring for the dish.  To get some veggies into our diets, we ordered the Stir-Fried Water Spinach with fermented tofu.  This was expertly prepared where the wok hei was strong enough to cook the vegetable through without softening up the hollow stalks.  This also helped produce aroma from the fermented tofu, garlic and peppers.  The result was a texturally pleasing dish with the right amount of seasoning.

Onto 2 similarly shaped items, we were served the Wu Gock (Deep Fried Taro Dumplings) and Ham Siu Gock (Deep Fried Glutinous Rice Dumplings).   Sporting a relatively thin layer of mashed taro, the wu gock were not oily and plenty crispy.  Inside, the filling consisted of ground pork, shiitake and cilantro.  I thought it was probably a bit too saucy as it was spilling out.  The pork was tender and not overly fatty, but I wasn't sure cilantro was needed here as it was overwhelming.  The same filling was found in the ham siu gock and yes the same issues existed.  I did like the glutinous rice flour shell as it was semi-thick and sticky with a crunchy exterior.  It also wasn't too greasy.

Two more solid dishes arrived next in the Phoenix Talons (Steamed Chicken Feet) and Bean Curd Skin Rolls.  Cut lengthwise, the chicken feet were done just right.  I found that the deep fry was aggressive enough to create a certain chewiness on the exterior that gave way to tender skin and cartilage underneath.  There was more than enough seasoning to create an impact being sweet and garlicky.  I also thought the deep fry on the bean curd skin to be perfect as the colour and texture were on point.  The chewiness of the skin was a nice balance to the tender and bouncy pieces of pork.  Unlike some versions, there was just enough starch-thickened watered-down oyster sauce.

Ending things off, we had the BBQ Pork Buns and some more Baked BBQ Pork Buns to go.  Soft and fluffy with just the slightest chewiness on the exterior, the BBQ pork buns sported plenty of filling.  The sliced BBQ pork was mostly lean while sauced in a sweet and sticky glaze.  As for the baked buns, it sported a sweet sugary topping that was delicately crispy.  The bun itself could've been lighter and airy though.  Inside, the filling was the same as the steamed buns.  Overall, the dim sum at BK's Bistro was solid and in my opinion, better than the Mayflower.  Of course this is subjective, but at the very least, it was a good injection of Cantonese comfort food before all of the burgers and sandwiches we were to consume in the next 2 weeks.

The Good:
- Solid dim sum
- Okay service
- Good selection

The Bad:
- Limited seating, busy during peak times
- Some items were definitely better than others

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