New KS Tian Yuen Opens in Windsor
As sumptuous as dim sum is, the delectable little bites can be a little more challenging to find in Sonoma County. But it’s KS Tian Yuen to rescue –the Asian restaurant has added a second location, now serving us in Windsor as well as at its original spot in Cloverdale.
Owners Ming Cheng Kuo and Mei Jung Shih loved the flavors of diverse Asian cuisines in their native Taiwan, so after moving to California, they decided to share those joys with us and opened their first KS Tian Yuen in Cloverdale in 2007.
The dining room looks like a living room, complete with ruffled drapes, warm lighting, high-gloss wood tables, and fresh flowers. The space is family friendly, yet elegant enough for date night.
It’s best to visit when you’re really hungry since everything is so tempting, you’ll want to devour it all. Some two dozen dim sum choices get the feast started, including my favorites of chewy-savory chicken and vegetable bao, succulent shrimp dumplings glistening with broth, golden pan-fried shui jian bao pork buns, and plump, minced pork xiao long bao soup dumplings warmed in a wicker steamer basket.
Folks who love more adventurous dim sum will be happy, too, with delicacies like steamed chicken feet, marinated pork intestines, and fun guo, which are steamed dumplings from the Chaoshan area of coastal eastern Guangdong, a province in Southern China. Keeping things easy, we order dim sum from a menu and get table service.
Next, tackle the main menu, which spans many pages and ranges from classics like nicely spicy kung pao chicken ($10.99) and pork tossed with silky eggplant ($10.99), to exotica like crunchy-shell salt and pepper shrimp served whole and head-on ($16.99). Our group dug into the very good vegetable and tofu clay pot clay pot, too ($13.99), ordering it spicy for a bit of happy burn, plus fragrant wonton soup ($8.99), and tart hot-sour soup bobbing with a dumpling ($10.99).
I’ve never had Taiwan san bei ji before – it translates to three cups chicken, in reference to its sauce recipe of a cup each of rice wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil. My server explained it originates from the Jiangxi province of southern China, and is very popular all across the country. It is indeed delicious, the dark meat full flavored, salty, and the tiniest bit sweet ($13.99).
The kitchen also puts love into vegetarian dishes, offering tofu in a myriad of presentations including the star – married with vegetables in a mouthwatering peanut sauce ($10.99).
Stop in for daily happy hour, 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Sake bombs are $6.99, beers including Chinese imports are $3.99, and bites include a spring roll for $2.99, two pot stickers for $2.99, and crab Rangoon for $2.99.
The standards are fine and satisfying - banana fritter, fried ice cream, sesame balls and coconut cake.
The spicy dishes go well with Tsing Tao or Sapporo beers, and for something a bit bolder, you can enjoy local wines and a variety of sakes.
Details: 610 McClelland Drive, Windsor, 707-892-2968. Also at 421 S. Cloverdale Blvd.,
Cloverdale, 707-894-5697, tianyuen.squarespace.com.