Da Vinci Villa Hotel in Russian Hill has brought in an unlikely new tenant, a restaurant called Dim Sum Club (2550 Van Ness Avenue). The focus is more on dim sum during the day, with a wide selection of noodle rolls, buns, and dumplings ($2.95-6), and skews more towards family style plates at dinner (average price $10), though a few selections are on both menus. The owners also operate Guangdong Barbecue Tea House, a roast duck and barbecue squid specialist that opened last year in the Sunset.
The first rule of Dim Sum Club is that ordering Shanghai soup dumplings (xiao long bao) is a must; they’re available at lunch and in a more deluxe order with black vinegar at dinner. There are an awful lot of chewy and un-soupy soup dumplings in San Francisco, but these burst with liquid and the wrappers are soft and supple. The pan-fried pot stickers also passed our high quality standards, with a memorable crunch and juicy minced pork filling.
The second rule of Dim Sum Club is to get one of those noodle rolls — you usually ignore them because they’re often so thick that you’re full of carbs before you get to the good stuff in the center, but these reverse the proportion and offer more of the middle protein, be it barbecue pork, fish, spare ribs, soy, or even Chinese donuts.
Chinese food may be plentiful in this neighborhood, but Dim Sum Club is an instant standout here.
Photos by Tamara Palmer