|Jade Cathay – Dim Sum & Chinese Seafood
( http://www.Jadecathay.com )
339 N. First Street
San Jose, CA 95112
(Very close to the entry to the San Jose airport)
Last time this wuffy was out in San Jose, the hotel wouldn't let Vargr stay past normal “checkout time” on departure day, so wuff was left looking for something to do for 90 minutes or so, before heading off to the airport. Since Vargr hadn't eaten yet, and the planes don't serve anything to speak of these days, wuffy used the time to check out nearby restaurants for a nice bite before the flight.
Vargr had seen this parking lot, just a couple blocks from the hotel. Very large, but it seemed to fill up for both lunch and supper. The lot actually serves three different places; “House of Genji”, a tepanyaki -style place that cooks the meal for you at your table, “Izakaya” a sushi bar (both served, oddly enough, from the same front door!), and the “Jade Cathay Chinese Seafood” accessed from the door closer to the parking lot.
Having already visited (and enjoyed) House of Genji, and in the mood for something other than sushi, Vargr decided to hit the Jade Cathay and see what they offered.
Turned out to be an excellent choice! Jade Cathay is a combination of Dim Sum (lunch) and Chinese Seafood (all day). Since he was there around noon-time, wuffy decided to try out the Dim Sum offerings. Had a half Peking Duck breast, several types of dumplings, and a couple dessert offerings.
All were fresh, warm, (except one of the desert puddings that was supposed to be chilled), and delicious. Unfortunately, the staff was nearly entirely Asian, and spoke little English, and wuff speaks even less Chinese, so Vargr isn't able to tell you the names of the various dishes he tried. But “point and smile” worked quite well, and even across the communications barrier, we got along splendidly!
The dumplings consisted of pork, bean paste, seafood, and beef. The duck had crispy skin with a delicious seasoning, and moist, juicy meat that wasn't too greasy. One desert was a sort of clear gel, with odd colorful objects floating inside. It was light, fruity, and delightful. The other was a custard-y pudding, rich and creamy with subtle but enticing flavors.
There were far more dim sum items than this wuff could sample in one sitting. Carts came by the table every 3-4 minutes, often more frequently. Since the place was quickly filling up with the lunch crowd, nothing stayed on the cart for any length of time, so everything was fresh and tasty.
Oh, and “fresh” is definitely the word of the day when it comes to their seafood – if you look at their website, you'll see part of the “wall of aquariums” that lines most of the side of the restaurant opposite the entry. Wuff watched large dippers descend into those, gathering up shellfish, shrimp, and others. Minutes later, another cart would emerge from the kitchens featuring the former denizens in noodles, rice, dumplings, or otherwise. A glance at their menu offerings shows how many different ways they prepare their seafood offerings – there's no shortage of variety!
Speaking of their menus, if you're after something other than the Dim Sum, you're in for quite a tough choice. Vargr enjoys being an “adventurous eater”, but there are some items on the list that even wuffy would have to work up a little courage to order. Thankfully, there are plenty of more “traditional Americanized” Chinese fare to chose from, and even some selections to satisfy the “meat and potatoes” steak, veggies, and similar tastes.
Just a quick sprinkling of items to show the huge variety, including what we might thing of as “exotic” but are simply more traditional Chinese entrees than folks often see here in the states: Pan Fried Lamb chops with Honey black pepper, Pan Fried Duck Jaws w/Maggi sauce, Honey Glazed BBQ Pork, Roasted Pork Belly Macau style, Whole Squab-roasted or soy sauce style, Boneless Steamed Chicken w/special Sha Ginger Sauce, Sliced Tenderloin Beef & Mushrooms w/ginger shallot sauce, Deep Fried Chicken Fillet w/fresh citrus sauce, Tender Pigs Neck Meat & Mushrooms w/choice of 4 sauces, Goose Intestines 3 ways, Sweet and Sour Pork, Steamed Sea Bass Fillet w/kumquat, Stir Fried Frog with Lilly Bulbs, Pan Fried Lamb Chops with Special BBQ Sauce.
There's also a huge selection of noodles and rice dishes, soups, salads, and much much more. The list above barely touches a tenth of what they offer in their “all day” menu (they also have "lunch" and "Dim Sum" menus), and doesn't include other Daily Specials or items not on the “fixed” menu.
The atmosphere is a bit of “Asian Industrial”, with more focus on providing a large number of tables and lots of good food, than setting a “fine dining” cloth napkin and table cloths ambiance. Given the way the place filled up, and the number of folks flowing through it while wuff was there, erring on the side of more seats and tables seems a wise choice.
Prices are a little higher than some “chain” Chinese places wuff has visited, but certainly not too high considering the quality of the food and the number of choices. The Duck this wuff enjoyed pre-flight probably pushed the bill a bit higher than normal, since it was one of the more expensive offerings on the carts. Total price was around $20.
Quantity of each of the Dim Sum offerings was easily enough to satisfy 2-4 folks sampling each offering (usually 4 each items per choice), but you might have to do repeats of some if you wanted to feed 3 or 4 and stick to just a couple cart items. You could also supplement your Dim Sum items with things from the lunch menu if you wished.
Vargr wishes he'd tried this establishment sooner. It's going to take years to work through the offerings on this menu and try some of the exotic and interesting items enticing this wuff's adventurous side!
Wuff certainly recommends giving this place a try, whether you be after good Dim Sum, sampling some of the more unusual “true” Chinese dishes, or just hankering for beef or seafood done fresh and tasty. It's definitely worth looking in to!
We grow not old, so long as we continue to chase our dreams.