Here the supporting cast includes a shower of snow peas, bright green as spring, and a slightly sweet sauce with flecks of crushed peppercorn.
Practically every Chinese restaurant of note in town offers some version of duck buns, and Canton ($13) is no exception, although there is a twist. The half duck is brought tableside and first stripped of its reddish gold skin, which is then served in steamed buns, along with plum sauce and scallion tips shredded to look like pieces of frisée. While these are eaten, the skinless bird is carved up and the meat passed around the table. I liked this little drama in two acts, but I did find the skinless, bunless meat to be a bit naked.
Although Chinese artistry in soup making cannot be doubted, and although I have had some excellent dessert soups over the years fruit soups, mainly I just don't warm to the sweet red-bean soups that bring many a Chinese dinner to a close. Canton's entry ($3) looked quite familiar, like muddy river water with bobbing unmentionables, and it tasted like what it was: cooked beans with some sugar added. I would recoil less, I think, if it weren't served hot. Heat, on the other hand, became the shredded pork soup ($3.50), an early-on course made memorable by the ghostly intensity of dried scallops.
Canton is modestly if neatly fitted out, but the space is magisterial: as enormous as a ballroom, with a coffered glass ceiling and a far wall lined with aquariums in which the more alert members of the day's catch await some sign that their turn is imminent. *
CANTON SEAFOOD AND DIM SUM RESTAURANT
Daily, 10:30 a.m.9:30 p.m.
655 Folsom, SF
Beer and wine
Comfortable noise level
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