Thursday, February 11, 2010

PPQ Dungeness Island Vietnamese Cuisine

2332 Clement St, San Francisco, CA

So couple days ago, my boss told me about my work rating and bonus for 2010, and I was super thankful and happy. I went home, told my mom and decided that the first thing I wanted to do with the money is to treat my family to dinner since they always have to deal with my cranky self after work. I asked my parents where they want to go, and told them about Vietnamese style crab restaurants, dumpling restaurants, and bunch of restaurants in our home areas. Ten minutes after my dad got home, we decided to go PPQ Dungness Island.

Parking was super hard around that area, even on a Wednesday night around 8pm. We were seated immediately since the restaurant was half empty that night. But I can see the restaurant would be very spacious even when it's packed. The service wasn't too great in the beginning because they lacked staffs. Awhile later though, more staffs came out to help, and then the service was pretty good.

My family and I decided to order the "Dinner for 4" and an Imperial Roll because my little brother loves that.
Oh yes, I heard their Roasted Crab and Peppercorn Crab are their most popular dishes.

The "Dinner for 4" includes:

Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab

The Soft Shell Crab was sprinkled with salt and pepper. It was very crispy but too oily for my taste.

Cabbage Salad with Chicken - Shredded green and purple cabbage, chicken meat, cucumbers, mints, and basil topped with fried garlic slices

The salad was sweet and tangy, quite refreshing! There were right amount of mints and basils, and fried garlic, so they didn't overpower the cabbage taste. The chicken meat reminds me of the one that you can get out of the can though.

Roasted Crab - Dungeness crab roasted with garlic butter

Wow! This is good! The meat inside were infused with garlic flavor also. The crab was fresh and very, very juicy. The dish was also very aromatic.

Steamed Shiitake Sea Bass - Sea bass steamed with garlic and shiitake in soy sauce, topped with green onions

I never knew sea bass could be cooked this way! This was my favorite dish of the night. The natural buttery flavor and texture of the sea bass paired super well with the garlic. The meat was so soft and rich. The shiitake taste was pretty strong and apparent too. I think my mom and I are going to try to remake this dish some times soon.

Smokey Pork - Marinated grilled sliced pork placed on top of a sizzling platter

My little brother loves ordering this whenever we go to a Vietnamese restaurant, especially at PPQ Noodle House, which was a brother restaurant of PPQ Dungeness Island. But to our disappointment, this one at PPQ Dungeness Island was super salty! The meat was also rough. I didn't eat much of this even though it has a nice smokey flavor.

Braised String Beans - Deep fried string beans braised with minced beef, garlic and onions

This was very tasty, but wasn't as good as the ones my mom made! Anyhow, the beans were quickly fried to weaken the hard skin of the bean. Since it was fried, it tasted oily also. I think what this dish needs is some white pepper.

Garlic Noodle - Noodle cooked with garlic and butter

Hmm Hmm Hmm! Garlic and butter tastes good with everything! By the time all the dish came out, I realized they all have one thing in common (exclude the Smokey Pork)...they all have garlic in them! I was overwhelmed and my breath was very stinky already, But I could not stop myself from eating this. The last time I had garlic noodle was at Crustacean, which I recalled the noodle to be very oily. This wasn't the case at PPQ. It was garlicky and buttery but not oily. I think they also added some cilatro in this, but it did not overpower the dish.

Deep Fried Banana with Ice Cream - Banana fried with batter and drizzled with maple syrup. Plated with mango and coconut ice cream

Deep fried banana can never go wrong. The banana was perfect, it was not raw or overly ripe, so the texture was perfect underneath the crunchy exterior. The ice cream texture was super hard, not airy at all. The mango didn't taste like mango. The coconut was okay.  I told my mom what I just said, and she was like "this is not an ice cream shop". I know, I'm picky.

The food was good overall. The portions are huge, so order "Dinner for 4" for 5 people and order "Dinner for 2" for 3 and so on. I also think that the type of food they serve are very heavy when eaten together. The fried dishes, the garlic dishes and buttery dishes all together just made me feel very bloated. I notice many tables just order crabs, garlic noodle and sip on wine and beef with that. I think that is just perfect!


  1. would you recommend a friend there? how does it compare to other restaurants of the same type on a scale of 1-10?

  2. Hi Ramona! I would definitely recommend it. I think for the crabs they serve, it's pretty cheap and worth it. I would give PPQ a 8. The crab is really good, but other overall, most dishes just seem to lack variety in flavor...lots of garlic and kind of salty. The service is good and the restaurant is pretty clean and spacious overall. It is a bit noisy though.