Daimo



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A Caveat

2008 Update

We first heard of Daimo, an upscale Chinese restaurant, when it opened at the Pacific East Mall in El Cerrito, very close to our old apartment. It got rave reviews at the time and we liked it when we ate there. We were therefore quite happy a year or two ago when we saw that Daimo was opening a restaurant in San Leandro. While we have plenty of Chinese restaurants, Daimo is more upscale and is supposed to offer more refined cuisine. Unfortunately, in our last experience there we didn't find the latter to be the case.

We'd been to Daimo in San Leandro before, right after it opened, and had not been awed enough to go back. While the food is good, the portions are smaller than at other Chinese restaurants and the prices considerably higher (entrees start at about $10). Still last Friday night (December 2004) we wanted to eat somewhere in downtown San Leandro, so we decided to give it another chance.

We started with the deep friend wontons ($5.75). These were small pouches filled with shrimp, rather than the usual pork. As I don't like shrimp I didn't think much of them, but Mike thought they were good.

I ordered the lemon chicken ($9.75), a flattened breast of chicken coated and covered with lemon sauce. I liked that the coating was thin enough to not overwhelm the chicken (as is often the case in cheaper restaurants) and the sauce wasn't as sweet as others we've had. Still, this version wasn't that different than the one served for a few dollars less at Oriental Tea House.

Mike's entree, Shredded pork & Chinese over pan friend noodle ($7.75) was a big disappointment. The dish was close to tasteless, and while a little soy sauce helped, it wasn't enough to make it satisfying.

That said, Daimo's menu is intriguing enough that I would like to go back and try other dishes (like the stir fried frog legs in a white wine sauce). The restaurant is popular, even with Chinese diners, so it must be doing something right.

One thing they do right is service. Our waiter was attentive and efficient, and even managed to make our daughter smile. The restaurant itself is nice looking, with slightly upscale/hip furnishings. It's very much of a family restaurant and there are usually other people with children eating there, both high chairs and booster seats are available but there is no changing table in the bathroom. On the night we visited, they also didn't have any of the fruit drinks or the soy milk listed on the menu (they don't serve regular milk), which wasn't too much of a problem as Mika is happy drinking water but might be bothersome for others.

Daimo
1456 E. 14th Ave
San Leandro, Ca
510-351-8131
Open daily 11 am 12 am