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Sonoma County Gazette
A delicious potsticker
A delicious potsticker ready to eat

We RATE Pot Stickers of 46 Chinese Restaurants in Sonoma County

Sep 2, 2018


By Peter Posert

The aroma will make you salivate. The smell is a little acrid, salty, and somehow all mouthwatering umami; it’s cooked soy sauce. The table is worn formica, mostly clean from being wiped1000 times, but it is not totally clean, either.  Red placemats with the Chinese zodiac lay in front of everyone: “Who should rats like?” “I don’t like horses?” We wait. We laugh a bit. We tell stories. Mostly though, we wait…

Finally, the waitress appears with a large plate of golden steaming deliciousness, our mission for the moment is nearing completion. “Ohhs” and “Ahhs,” are uttered and then we discuss the plating. We’ve all done this many times before.
This day, my friends and I are trying to find the best pot sticker in Sonoma County, again. It is “important business,” we think. We are all goofy laughs first thing in the morning but when the pot stickers arrive at the table, it is serious and we are ready to eat. There are 46 independent Chinese restaurants in Sonoma County. We’ve been to all of them. Sometimes, instead of wine tasting or beer tours or cheese adventures or ice cream taste-offs, for fun, we go Pot Sticker tasting!

While we dish out the pot stickers, we pass around the little metal compartment that holds the vinegar and hot chili-sesame oil. Soy sauce is passed around. We each have our own little private mixture. I like about 2/3rds vinegar to 1/3 soy and just a few drops of hot oil. “Why doesn’t everyone just like it the way I like it?” I think to myself as the red oil drops fall off the spoon and I replace it back it the sticky jar. In most places, the sauce comes pre-mixed from the kitchen and often it isn’t the way I want it. 
We are connected by a strange affinity; a love of food, adventure, fun and good times. The 4 of us are on a culinary mission and we can’t wait to plunge our forks into the dumplings now in front of us. Once the hot liquid runs out it will mix with our dipping sauce to complete the base flavor and then finally, we will bring them up for a taste…

We are at China Chef in Cotati, one of the most iconic Chinese restaurants in Sonoma County:The lights haven’t been turned on in the daytime in decades, the wall practically ooze an amalgam of steam, dried soy and dust, the staff is very friendly, the aroma is typical, and the pot stickers at China Chef are very very good. China Chef’s pot stickers score 8.33 out of 10! We score all the restaurants’ pot stickers (see web below)

Funny little places, our Sonoma County Chinese restaurants. Each one is so very different. These businesses sit out in the strip malls by the nail salons or karate studios or massage parlors and pharmacies at the edges of our towns and cuisine consciousness. They support a family or two, maybe more, and we just take them for granted. But come lunchtime when you forgot your sandwich or Friday night when you just don’t want to cook and they shine, fulfilling a little culinary niche with personal flair and quiet dedication to our community. For us, pot stickers are the defining menu item for quality…

Potstickers can be made in typically two ways, with our without much cabbage. There are five things that are incontrovertible to us as ingredients though, to make a truly sublime experience: 
1. Pork  
2. Cabbage  
3. Ginger 
4. Crispy bottom shell  
5. Some other stuff that probably includes garlic, onion, and a little pepper. 

The first three have to be in perfect balance to create a great pot sticker. Sadly, most are not in balance. The Shell? It just has to be right, crispy on the bottom and fully cooked and soft on top. It’s the other stuff that makes pot stickers fun. Maybe this one has wood ears? Could this be a hunk of water chestnut? That’s a lot of garlic in here. 

Usually, there is just way too much pork in our local restaurant’s pot stickers. When they are heavy on the pork, they are also heavy on the palate (and the tummy) and uninteresting. Often, there isn’t enough cabbage, and even when that is correct, if Chef overcooks the dish, then the pungent over-cooked cabbage ruins the whole thing. Underutilization of ginger is acutely the most common crisis. Without it, one gets the weight from the meat and cabbage, but there isn’t any lightness, any air. Ginger elevates pot stickers - you almost can’t have too much.

Go to your local Chinese restaurant and support them! 

Let them thrive. When a community loses its local independent Chinese restaurant, it’s like losing your local wine shop or butcher or cheesemonger or hobby store. The neighborhood is diminished. With so many new choices for our entertainment and cuisine dollars, it can be easy to forget about the local, cheap, greasy spoon Chinese place out in the strip mall by the chain pharmacy. Don’t lose any more of them. There are only 46 left.

Pot Sticker tasting. Give it a try sometime, just for kicks.

The Scores

9.90 China Bowl Bistro 

BEST Pot Sticker In Sonoma County
1940 Piner Rd, Santa Rosa
(707) 570-0688
China Bowl Bistro“China Bowl Bistro” is one of the most unassuming fine dining restaurant names I’ve ever heard in my life, in one of the most unassuming places in a quiet, totally out of the way little strip on Piner in Northwest Santa Rosa. One would think it’s just rice bowls with some food on top, but oh no no no, don’t let the name fool you, this is the premier destination for outstanding, fresh, beautifully cooked pot stickers in Sonoma County. The decor is pretty, with little Asian umbrellas on the ceiling that must only be there to hold down your elated spirits from the great food, or maybe it is like the head covering in orthodox societies that hold that covering on top is an offering to god. Whatever the umbrellas’ purpose, it works at China Bowl Bistro. The Pot Stickers arrive in due time, perfectly crispy on the bottom and floating on a bed of cabbage. The pot stickers are fabulously moist and juicy (how? I don’t know) featuring rich pork, mild cabbage and ebullient ginger that are in perfect balance with just a hint of white pepper lingering on the finish. The effect is sublime, leaving you fulfilled yet wanting, in the immortal words of Billy Idol, “…More, More, More.” China Bowl Bistro. Check it out.

9.85 8 Dragons

1047 Vine St, Healdsburg
(707) 395-0023
8 Dragons potstickersSublime in every possible way 
When a musical chord is in balance, the sound is harmonious. When nibbling into the first bite of a pot sticker at 8 Dragons, you know you’ve found something best described as “just lovely.” The filling is homemade and they clearly take pride in the correct mixture of pork, cabbage and ginger. The shell is light and crisply pan fried. The owner made the recipe with the chef and they worked it out just the way they wanted it to be, and that is just the way anyone and everyone else would want it to be, too. Worth the drive. Worth the wait. Go now.

9.66 Hunan Village

2306 295 N McDowell Blvd, Petaluma
(707) 763-7156
Hunan Village potstickers Why would one place, that looks like 100 other places, stand out? What makes a spectacular spot spectacular when everyone else is average? In the case of Hunan Village in a lost corner in Petaluma’s east side mega-strip mall, it is this; bold and decisive flavors that are correct and in balance, like they actually thought about what they were serving and how to make it outstanding. Visually, the bottom of the shells look more fried than pan seared, that turns out to be a really good idea as the shell bottom was perfectly crunchy. The flavors are dominated by garlic and ginger which is a really good idea too (not just meat), with a modest hint of cabbage, if any. Overall, this is a spectacular pot sticker, the bright flavors are balanced and the crust rises above everyone else’s, easily the Uber Alles of pot sticker shells in Sonoma County served correctly with oil, vinegar and soy sauce. Well done Hunan Village!

9.55 ~ Silver Moon

1880 Mendocino Ave C, Santa Rosa
(707) 576-7878
Potstickers from Silver MoonSitting at the little table at Silver Moon, I was reminded of the movie, Ratatouille, when they say, over and over again, “anyone can cook.” That is what you’ll remind yourself as you suffer through the long 15 minutes wait at Silver Moon for your pot stickers. Somehow this little, funky, steam-table place, designed for a quick, on-the-go lunch, a place that has no plates, just styrofoam and the better square take-out boxes, has it figured it out. You gotta order the pot stickers cooked fresh and that is a time commitment because they cook ‘em slow here.  It's not just that the crust is perfect or the meat is good with a little garlic. The most important part, the part that almost nobody else in Sonoma County seems to be able to figure out but they have at Silver Moon, is this: The ginger wafts across on the palette like the vermouth wafts across the glass on a perfect martini. Few Chinese restaurants around here achieve this kind of culinary subtlety. Even the to-go sauce packet is correct with chili oil and a vinegar/soy mix. WELL DONE Silver Moon.

9.33 ~ Lily Kai

3100 Lakeville Hwy H, Petaluma
(707) 782-1132
Lily Kai potstickersStunning great restaurant. Ordered (guess what) and they brought me a sweet and sour soup gratis! Now that’s service. The pot stickers arrived in a vision of sublime exquisiteness. Could there be a more beautiful piece of food than the golden crusts and pale white dough of a perfectly cooked potsticker? Easily, hands-down, no-holds-barred, the most gingery, most flavorful and best-cooked pot sticker this side of Clement Street. Bravo! Only issue, perhaps just a bit more cabbage or it’d be a 10. 

9.30 ~ Amy’s Chinese Kitchen

577 Gravenstein Hwy, Cotati
(707) 794-9828
Amy's Chinese Kitchen potstickersAmy’s Chinese Kitchen in Cotati is a place has it all, the location between the donuts shop and the “day spa” in the strip mall by the freeway. You don’t see it much anymore, but they list Egg Foo Young on the paper take out menus. All of the tables on one side of the wall have power plugs for computers and phones to get charged. It has the astrology placemats and …homemade pot stickers! They are rightfully proud of them, anyone would be when they produce such juicy and excellent pot stickers. It’s real and fresh ground pork with cabbage and a little ginger. The shell is of the thicker variety which so often are underdone, but these are fine and crisp on the bottom and soft throughout the top. These are served with huge jars of oil and vinegar, thank goodness! All in all, this is a gem of a place. Well done Amy’s Chinese Kitchen - Cotati.

9.25 ~ China Star

2101 W College Ave, Santa Rosa
(707) 526-0888
Potstickers from China Star If one could use just one word, to describe a restaurant, in China Star’s case, it’d be “Fantastic!” Bright, sunny looking, with the good thin skin cooked well (but not great) and light pork with cabbage. Possible a bit more ginger would be better, but definitely on the path towards a better balance of meat and filling. Really well done. Very little heat in prepared sauce, but still sweetly flavorful. China Star should be on any pot sticker connoisseur’s list. Iconically tucked into a dark corner off of College in western Santa Rosa, it’s a quintessential pot sticker destination.

9.25 ~ Hang Ah Dim Sum

(group score 8.66)
130 Armory Dr, Santa Rosa
(707) 576-7873
Hang Ah PotstickersFabulous mix of cabbage, ginger and meat. What stands out is this: How precisely the chef must watch the pan for an absolutely perfectly cooked cabbage based pot sticker. Easily, Hang Ah has the most chopped vegetable in their pot sticker in the county. This makes for a very challenging spot for the chef, for if they are overcooked, the burnt cabbage wrecks the whole dish. But Hang Ah, off of Steele Lane, smashes home a perfectly made vegetable based pot sticker. This is a standout dumpling and worth a special trip. If you ask for the vinegar they bring it right away so you can make your own sauce. Simply fabulous.

9.15 ~ Sky Dragon

2770 Stony Point Rd A, Santa Rosa
(707) 545-3787
Sky Dragon's potstickersSky Dragon owns the South West side. They own it. In fact, if I lived anywhere near here, they’d own me too. Not only are these the largest pot stickers in the county, if you are looking for sheer quantity, these homemade morsels will more than please all palates … like mine! The shell is of the thicker variety, but clearly cooked through - and so many fail at that alone! The filling is dominated by hand ground high-quality pork - its good meat here folks (!), moderate spice and a nice touch of ginger and onion, but I’d like more cabbage and vegetables. The sauce is mostly soy with perhaps a little vinegar and sherry - not too interesting. Still, this is a superior pot sticker that will please everyone. The whole effect is great, but kind of heavy - maybe it’s the big thick shells or the amount of meat to the vegetable ratio that is just a tiny bit off that keeps it from a top score. Still, very well done Sky Dragon!

9.15 ~ Canton Restaurant

951 Lakeville, Petaluma
(707) 778-8000
Canton's potstickersDoes location matter to you when it comes to your favorite Chinese restaurant? If anything, this exercise has shown us that the answer for us is decided “NO.” But in the case of Canton Chinese in Petaluma, an exception could be made for this spot is premiere; its the last gasp for a quick repast of pot stickers before the dreaded narrows and parts South and unknown. Right off the freeway in the Lakeville/Lucky shopping center, it is a rare end-cap Chinese restaurant. There is a nice view of the parking lot and the grocery. The pot stickers are very good, with a significantly crunchy bottom shell and fully cooked top shell. Hooray! There is plenty of ginger! Hooray, there is some cabbage-though I’d like a spec more. Hooray - these are really good. A little more cabbage and they’d hit the “Outstanding” category. A very solid effort at Canton.

9.10 ~ Spring Lake

4219 Montgomery Dr, Santa Rosa
(707) 539-1462
Spring Lake's potstickersIn the little strip mall by the Ace Hardware, Lepe’s and Calibri Grill is a small little Chinese restaurant, the east side’s best-kept secret, Spring Lake. They clearly have the right look; no lights on, quiet, plain decor - you just know it's gonna be good and the pot sticker’s don’t disappoint. The shell is crisp and light and fantastic - you can smell the crispiness, the oil and the fried dough of the shell - it’s just great. The filling is almost great, near perfect, with plenty of cabbage and just the right amount of meat, but sadly no ginger. Too bad. Spring Lake brushes with greatness but falls just short.

8.95 ~ China Village

8501 Gravenstein Hwy, Cotati
(707) 795-8810
China Village's potstickersTake a leap! Why not? It’s just fun times with pot stickers at China Village. Here’s the scoop… it’s got ONION! Green Onion I think, in just the right amount, cooked really well. Good garlic too. Sauce was beautifully balanced with chili oil and vinegar in great balance. This is a superior pot sticker. Everyone was happy here, and you will be too. 

8.90 ~ Tian Yuen

421 S Cloverdale Blvd, Cloverdale
(707) 894-5697
Potstickers from Tian YuenVery mild rich full-bodied flavor but ya gotta try it with the dipping sauce or the flavors fall flat. Thick but fully cooked shell with a crispy bottom. It’s a very good run at the classic dish. Owners Ming Cheng Kuo and Mei Jung Shih aere xperts in creating the foods of Taiwan, Thailand, China, Japan, and Vietnam. Mei has brought the peace and stillness of Cloverdale’s natural world into Tian Yuen, along with the Asian ambiance. She is happy, she says, offering her customers a diverse menu of fresh, healthy food.

8.90 ~ Golden Spring Mandarin

8991 Sonoma Hwy, Sonoma
(707) 938-1275
Potstickers from Golden Spring MandarinThis place is a classic! Old paneling, very dark, never very crowded, but oh my, can they dish it out pot stickers. They feature a perfectly cooked shell, and a medium-sized pocket of wonder. It’s a light potsticker filling, with moderate green that I think is a lot of onion and garlic and a pleasing little spice to the meat Not a whole lot of ginger. Very moist. Still, with whatever the veg is, it’s satisfying and not too filling. Served with vinegar and oil correctly. I’m highly touting Golden Springs in Sonoma. Very Good!

8.90 ~ Dynasty

6555 Hunter Dr, Rohnert Park
(707) 584-0106
Potstickers from DynastySomewhat of an upscale place, not in a strip mall, with bright lights and lots of booths. The pot stickers here are absolutely satisfying. They are meat based with a very nice, dense and lovely spiced quality like 5 spice. A light addition of cabbage and no ginger. The shell is, simply put, perfectly crisply fried on the bottom, soft and completely cooked on the top. The sauce is spicy and dry. This is a very good, albeit imballanced pot sticker, that would satisfy anyone but the pickiest ginger snob — oh that’s me!

8.66 ~ ABC Chinese

3585 Industrial Dr, Santa Rosa
(707) 566-8722
ABC Chinese PotstickersClean and bright restaurant with a cheery staff. Asked if I wanted chili oil, which was kind and brought vinegar with it. Very very good pot sticker! The dough was average. Almost a 5 spice quality, although it’s mostly meat. Napa and green cabbage in the blend makes for a lot of complexity. Still, I like it very much. 4 on a serving for $4.00, too - a complete bargain.

8.66 ~ Happy Garden

201 W Napa St #26, Sonoma
(707) 996-6037
Happy Garden PotstickersWhen something gets close to “right” but not quite, it’s tough, kind of like the thick skins of the pot stickers at Happy Garden in Sonoma. I visited the place many times years ago, and I must say it is remarkably improved and definitely on the up-tick. Unfortunately, the shells were undercooked and a little tough. The flavors were strong though, and there was plenty of cabbage and good meat, but overall it was lacking in ginger. It was in the sauce service that Happy Garden shined, showing up with an almost fresh and slightly thick and fantastic version of chili oil that is the best in Sonoma County, by a mile, partnered with regular vinegar and soy. If this were just about chili oil, Happy Garden would be the best restaurant in Sonoma County. Just cook those thick shells to crisp, or better yet get a thinner shell, and add a bit of ginger and they’d be in the awesome category. Still, a nice improvement and I’m looking for more from Happy Garden.

8.50 ~ Tahoe Chinese

6484 Mirabel Rd, Forestville
(707) 887-9772
Tahoe Chinese’s pot stickersI want to love Tahoe Chinese’s pot stickers, but sadly, they were slightly undercooked - the meat and filling was fully cooked, but the shell wasn’t crisp. There was plenty of vegetables and slight ginger, all was good, just a little longer in the pan my friend and we’ll be home free with a superior pot sticker!

8.50 ~ Go Go Wok

1791 Marlow Rd, Santa Rosa
(707) 575-8868
4 for $4.75 a bargain! Got the to-go box. Shell was slightly undercooked and chewy, which was too bad because the stuffing was fabulous, with plenty of garlic and almost enough cabbage but still, no ginger taste. Then I hit the sauce and the ginger bounced to one of the best pot stickers in Sonoma County. If only it had been cooked (less chewy) and the ginger on the inside. Still, very gosh darn good.

8.47 ~ Mei-Don

6576 Oakmont Dr, Santa Rosa
(707) 575-8868
Don’t be put off by its location nor do you have to dine during senior early bird times. The decor is nice and the patio is untouched beautiful, this is a nice, elegant, fine restaurant serving interesting and fine food. The pot stickers are chicken with plenty of vegetables and, get this —- carrots and celery! What a welcome joy and relief from the drudgery of full meat fillings. No ginger, again, but a very satisfying and juicy pot sticker. Not worth the trip, but if you’re hungry and heading down 12, don’t think you have to wait for Kenwood to get a very good meal.

8.33 ~ China Chef

(group score 8.0)
991 Old Redwood Hwy, Cotati
(707) 664-1004
Dingy place with the Chinese horoscope placemats and no lights on. Classic look and feel, crispy bottom and soft dough. Sweet, with more ginger and less cabbage. Group liked it. Solid, well done and fabulous - if you’re looking for potstickers, this is quite solidly good with no surprises.

8.25 ~ China Delight

941 Golf Course Dr, Rohnert Park
(707) 584-3838
Potstickers from China Delight in Rohnert ParkHuh, never seen an order of 5 before, usually, it’s 6. Still, these are cool little pot stickers at China Delight. I like ‘em. The shell was solidly crispy and cooked perfectly. They are clearly homemade, featuring plenty of ginger and I think a touch of garlic, but sadly, no cabbage that I could discern. Yet, I think I like them anyhow. A solid effort from China Delight.

8.15 ~ Fantasy

1520 E Washington St, Petaluma
(707) 658-1866
Potstickers from FantasyNice little unusual place tucked in behind the chevron on the East Side. Clean and newer with white linen tablecloths, they specialize in boxed lunches and … who knows what, but there it is. Fried pot stickers, very very mild with plenty of cabbage makes these stand out, but, where’s the ginger?! The sauce appears to be a homemade sweet and hot sauce like a milder mae ploy. Not a lot going on, but not a hunk of heavy pork either, so it’s ok. Better than average.

7.95 ~ Lee’s Noodle House

1010 Hopper Ave, Santa Rosa
(707) 523-2358
The first restaurant in our journey, we all think fondly of Lee’s - it’s open at 10:00 AM on Sunday! That enough has me recommending the place. Lee’s Noodle House has it’s own take on cooking them - the pot stickers are fried through and very crunchy. There is enough vegetable in the meat for balance. The chili oil was smokey and different, which added complexity. This was actually a pretty cool pot sticker - with the smoked chili and frying it. Maybe it’s more Vietnamese that way, I don’t know, but it was cool.

7.75 ~ Royal China

3080 Marlow Rd #4, Santa Rosa
(707) 545-2911
Easily the best looking, most modern, hippest Chinese restaurant for 30 miles any direction. I’d like to sit at the bar on Friday night and just hang out - that kind of place. Pot stickers arrived light colored - I was worried they weren’t cooked, but the crusty bottom was great and they were fine. The filling is meaty, with just a light touch of cabbage and no ginger, kind of an average one at best. The sauce was smokey and solid, not sweet. The overall effect was about average - but a great crust. Probably a fantastic restaurant, but just average pot stickers. 

7.75 ~ Ting Hau

717 4th St, Santa Rosa
(707) 545-5204
Had high hopes, the aroma was perfect, cooked soy and spice filled the air. The service was kind and funny and we played a little bit. The pot stickers arrived in due time, looking sublime, with the steamed upper perfect and the bottom gloriously golden, but only with their own dipping sauce. There was a nice squirt of juice and opening them up found a fair amount of cabbage. But the taste dropped off, sadly. Like in Sonoma, there was simply no ginger! So overall, it’s a good simple light juicy pot sticker, but nowhere near great.

7.75 ~ China Garden

429 Stony Point Rd, Santa Rosa
(707) 526-9799
Moderate restaurant. Clean, not grungy, not much decor. Service was SOLID - they took care of me. The pot stickers were solid too. A thick dough that wasn’t quiet crisp was a little disappointing. There is decent meat and decent juiciness and very good lightness to the meat - very good. This place is just across the board above average. Average cabbage. Almost no ginger. Still, the sauce was fantastic, a touch of sweetness and balanced onion. That elevates the whole experience.

7.75 ~ Flowering Tea House

1367 N McDowell Blvd #110, Petaluma
(707) 775-3088
Really pretty restaurant that tries hard to make the place feel natural, which is nice. Japanese (Gyoza) style pot stickers with a lovely thin shell that was well cooked without seeming to be overly fried. the filling had plenty of cabbage and was light on the palate, but it just appeared that there was no garlic or depth to the flavor. The filling was missing an ingredient that just leaves one wanting something else, something more. Now maybe an appetizer is supposed to do that? Maybe the pot sticker’s role is to whet the appetite for the main course. Maybe? But I think not. Full, rounded complex flavors can be put together, and these folks got close, but fell just a bit short.

7.66 ~ Chinatown Restaurant

157 Kentucky St, Petaluma
(707) 763-7057
An old favorite just didn’t quite stack up. Mostly meat with a touch of cabbage, the nice flavors were elevated 1000 times over by the strident and sublime sauce, featuring a bright white pepper and sweet background. I just wish the shell weren’t almost a milky white liquid inside that had me thinking the whole things wasn’t cooked completely. Too bad. Let’s try this one again, and again and again, too.

7.50 ~ Great China

1589 Farmers Ln, Santa Rosa
(707) 578-4291
In Lake Wobrgone, they say “all the kids are above average.” Great China pot stickers are just the same, “above average.” Great crust, little doughy on the top but still good, Inside the filling was really good with a hint of ginger but no cabbage or veggies per se, but still a nice flavor and the sauce was correctly served with vinegar and chili oil. 

7.33 ~ Amy’s Place

2550 Guerneville Rd, Santa Rosa
(707) 525-1888
Ya know, It’s one of those things. I just expected to hate the place and it turned out kinda good I went. I didn’t order the pot stickers fresh, but from the steam table that is the heart of the dining experience at Amy’s Place. The shell was steamed, so it was kinda soggy and not crisp at all. But then I tasted the filling. What a delightful mix of pork, cabbage, perhaps a little ginger and something that reminded me of leeks! What a refreshing little change of pace at what could otherwise be described as a pass-by restaurant. I wish they made them fresh, but I’ll have to come back next time and ask ‘em for it the next time I’m out Guerneville Roadway.

7.0 ~ Bamboo Chinese

7501 Healdsburg Ave., Sebastopol
(707) 823-8189
OK, an admission - I only went to the Japanese place next door, but I found out they serve the exact same pot stickers Bamboo, so I’m sticking with it and giving them a whirl. Clearly Gyoza inspired with a nice thin shell and light breezy feel. Not much going on inside though. White pork meat with plenty of cabbage but sadly not much flavor. Probably should try next door too. Not too inspiring.

7.0 ~ Noodles Rice Etc.

(707) 869-1688
Tough call here, these are packaged pot stickers, so they aren’t made fresh, but they are still quite nice and cooked well. They are more of the Gyoza style with thin skins and smaller pockets of filling. They’re ok, and actually super good if you’re heading to the coast and just need a pick-me-up on the trail.

6.85 ~ Goji Kitchen

1965 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa
(707) 523-3888
A stumper. $11.00 for 6! Very meaty, strong pepper and spice dominate the flavors. Without any cabbage, it just sits heavy though. It’s an entire meal if you order some vegetable too, but not a great potsticker though. 

6.75 ~ May Garden

1425 Fulton Rd #325, Santa Rosa
(707) 528-3615
Really interesting background flavor - it isn’t 5 spice, it isn’t pepper, possibly some green or it’s cabbage! No ginger, just in the teriyaki like sauce. A little doughy, not a crisp bottom. Its an ok pot sticker, but nowhere near sublime. Nothing wrong, nothing to write home about either. 

6.66 ~ China Wok

1460 E Cotati Ave C, Rohnert Park
(707) 792-9889
Tiny little restaurant by the Dominos Pizza near the campus. On one of the hottest days of the summer, they brought water out in a chilled glass - a very very good start. I think it’s just one family supporting itself from this place, the mom and dad in the back and the son up front on a Saturday evening. Phone calls for take out pour in. I wonder how it will be? Well, one of the better sauce’s to be found, with a sweet sherry-like quality. The meat filling is mostly meat, with a trace of spice, but the whole effect is undone by the shell, which is doughy and undercooked. Switch the shells, add more vegetables and keep the sauce and you’d have something here.

6.5 ~ Yinkeng

8840 Lakewood Dr. Windsor
(707) 838-2101
Seemingly underdone inside though dark on the outside, not very flavorful, this is mostly a heavy ball of meat. Good crunch on the cooked side with a high juiciness factor and nice flavor,. Still, it’s low overall as there is just too much meat in the filling and a heavy overall feel.

6.0 ~ China Legend

500, suite e, Mission Blvd, Santa Rosa
(707) 538-8698
When something isn’t right, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong, right? When the whole package isn’t great, that doesn’t mean it’s bad, I think. China Legend’s pots stickers are like that. They aren’t bad, they just ain’t great. Thick globs of moderately flavored meat surrounded by well-cooked shells and a very good sweet ginger sauce that saves the dish. Dip those puppies in the sauce at China Legend and you’ll be fine. Meh…

6.0 ~ Hunan Kitchen

6650 Commerce Blvd # 19, Rohnert Park
(707) 588-8828
Straight out of the steam table, these might be Sysco specials. There is a nice balance of flavor and some cabbage and perhaps a trace of ginger, but the dough isn’t cooked well, the steam table doesn’t help pot sticker shells anyway. It’s ok in a pinch, but that’s about all there is here.

5.0 ~ Huna Kitchen

400 W 3rd St A, Santa Rosa
(707) 528-9388
Not a serious restaurant when it comes to pot stickers. Don’t bother. Undercooked shell. Not happening.

4.0 ~ Fu Zhu

(group score 6.75)
572 E Cotati Ave # A, Cotati

127 N McDowell Blvd, Petaluma
(707) 763-3083
Soul crushing sorrow defines the pot stickers at City Chopsticks in Petaluma. The vinegar and soy are on the table and the chili oil comes with the dinning plates, perfect. The service is very nice and friendly, with an easy smile, just perfect. The pot stickers arrive in good time and their aroma fills the air perfectly. The meat is moist and slightly red - well spiced perhaps, and the flavor of the filling is simply put, in no uncertain terms, perfect! Everything is going great, until you realize that what is wrapped around the sunny day of a morsel of pork and ginger (although not much cabbage), the shell, has a storm cloud coming on the horizon. Simply put this would be a glorious “find” if it weren’t for the tough, dried out, “blah” shell. Neither crisp or doughy, it was just chewy and dry - a hard achievement when the material is steamed. How do you get dry dough from steam? I felt like these might have been… dare I say it… could it possible be…microwaved!Horrible let down with such a great filling and perfect service in an otherwise lovely restaurant that boast such great lunch and dinner quality otherwise.

2.0 ~ Kirin

2700 Yulupa Ave, Santa Rosa
(707) 525-1957
Potstickers from KirinElegant decor just doesn’t cut it when you shortcut real cooking. This was just way-way-way too fast, the bottom of the shell was soggy, the filling was all meat. It was microwaved. C’mon guys, you got a sign in the front that says Pot Stickers on the special list. C’mon.




Sep 5, 2018
It is a Japanese restaurant but I thought the gyoza at Ramen Gaijin were spectacular in flavor and presentation. I don't eat potstickers out often because I make my own; I agree ginger is a key component. Have you tried adding miso? It adds a nice flavor note and maintains moisture. Thanks, Jim
- Jim Bray

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