Imperial Cuisine of China Arrives in L.A. - Is This Really What Emperors Ate? Bistro Na's (Na Jia Xiao Guan) [Review]


#61

Hi @J_L,

Yah, that’s what makes this place hard to recommend; it’s very strange. I’d say the decor, some of the unique dishes (that are done very well) make it appealing to try, but it’s like we have to crowd-source some FTC recommendations from everyone (like how I found out about the Honey Black Pepper Beef from @chandavkl) to find the safe / great dishes to try.

At that point, it might be worth a visit. :slight_smile:


#63

Update 3:

One of my dear friends wanted to celebrate her birthday with something different from our usual Westside places, and she heard us talking about Bistro Na’s and its Beijing Imperial Cuisine so off we went.

Bistro Na’s remains one of the prettiest Chinese restaurants in terms of decor.

Our server preparing our private banquet room (they have 5 or 6 banquet rooms you can reserve in advance).

Cucumber and Radish Salad:

Crisp, crunchy, a nice starter.

Fresh Tofu Skin Salad:

This was a pleasant surprise. The birthday girl was mutual friends with one of my best friends from Taipei, so she came along to help us order. :slight_smile: The Fresh Tofu Skin Salad turned out to be a bright, herbal and delicate starter as well, with tender, silky portions of Tofu Skin, bursts of Cilantro and Sesame Oil.

Stewed Pork Belly:

Tender, long-stewed chunks of Pork Belly in a more deeply savory sauce (compared to the recent one we had at the new Shanghailander Palace, which was sweeter). This was delicious and one of the better dishes this evening. :slight_smile:

Crispy Shrimp:

Fantastic! These large Shrimp are fried at a high enough temperature to render the outer shell edible (it’s crispy and crunchy and breaks apart easily). As fragrant and beautifully briny as before. :blush: Definitely one of the best dishes on the spotty menu.

Sauteed Pea Tips:

Nicely cooked through, tender, fragrant Pea Tips.

Na’s Peppered Lamb Chop:

These were OK. The Lamb Chops were studded with Black Pepper for a nice peppery punch. The Lamb itself was cooked all the way through (well-done), but were still tender. It just reminded me of a slightly better version of the commonly found Chinese dish “Beef with Black Pepper Sauce” in terms of flavors.

Multigrain Rice:

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Definitely appreciate that Bistro Na’s offers a Multigrain Rice option. :slight_smile:

Na’s Prime Beef Rib:

This is one of our favorite dishes at Bistro Na’s - The Prime Beef Rib is slow roasted to a tender consistency, and there’s a real beefiness, with a pleasing mix of lean and fat to make the dish shine. :heart:

Braised Sea Cucumber:

This was another excellent dish: While it wasn’t apparent from the menu name, Bistro Na’s presents a large plate with Braised Sea Cucumber and Braised Beef Tendon in a Soy Sauce-based Sauce. Excellent. :blush:

Sauteed Asparagus:

Dungeness Crab - Baked Golden Dungeness Crab with Pumpkin:

Hilariously translated into English originally as just “Dungeness Crab,” my Taiwanese friend was laughing when she read the Chinese version of the dish, pointing out that it was “Salted Duck Egg Yolk with Pumpkin Treasured Crab.” :grin: (The new website has since updated the name to be “Baked Golden Dungeness Crab with Pumpkin”.)

This was quite delicious and a departure from the usual Green Onion / Ginger / Garlic sauteed versions (which are still delicious) at other places around the SGV. The Salted Duck Egg Yolk provided an almost creamy salinity to each bite of the sweet Dungeness Crab meat. :slight_smile:

Diced Honey Black Pepper Beef:

Still as outstanding as the early days. We would’ve never ordered this originally (since it sounded like a mundane dish (maybe their version of “Black Pepper Beef”), but thanks to @chandavkl we, too, found out how good this dish could be. The Beef is tender, and cooked through to a medium consistency, making it taste more like eating morsels of Steak rather than the typical slivers of generic Beef you get. The Honey and Black Pepper Sauce is very good and the whole thing just works so well. Must order. :blush:

Scallion Pancakes:

One dish that has declined since their early days is the Scallion Pancakes. During their Grand Opening, they were some of the best Green Onion Pancakes in L.A. They are now merely OK. There’s a slight crispness to them, but nowhere near as sublime as before.

Pan Fried Chives Pocket:

These were better: Little Pastries filled with Sauteed Chinese Chives and seared on both sides. The result is a slight crispness on the top and bottom, then the wave of tender, soft Sauteed Chinese Chives hits your palate.

Steamed Pork Rib:

This was pretty wonderful: Just a long-cooked, Pork Rib / Bone Soup, heart-warming with a deep pork funk. :slight_smile: The size of the Pork Bones were ridiculous (crazy large), but the tender stewed Pork meat on the bone was just fall off the bone delicious. :heart: (@PorkyBelly)

Shrimp Fried Rice:

This was decent, but lacking that breath of the wok that makes the great ones standout, like Dragon Beaux.

Rose Pastries:

These were served room temperature and were as simply lightly sweetened with Ground Red Dates as last time.

Cheese Milk:

We had to get this for the birthday girl. The ridiculous name - Cheese Milk - and awesome / cheesy sculpture of a Fish made out of Pudding was totally worth it. :smile: It was actually pretty tasty though, like a smooth, light, silky Pudding.

Now that we know what to avoid (half the menu), ordering the good dishes at Bistro Na’s makes it a rather enjoyable experience in a beautiful setting. Their standouts continue to be the Crispy Shrimp, Diced Honey Black Pepper Beef, Na’s Prime Angus Beef Rib, Beijing Pork Bone Stew and a few other solid dishes.

Bistro Na’s
9055 Las Tunas Drive, Suite 105
Temple City, CA 91780
Tel: (626) 286-1999


#64

Whoa whoa whoa, are those shrimp prepared the lotus of siam way i.e. partially deshelled and then deep fried? @attran99 and I have been looking for a place that does that.


#65

Went here a few months ago for a family gathering.

My favorite dishes that I can recall are the Crispy Shrimp and Honey Black Pepper Beef. I would go back for those. I would say the crispy shrimp is better than the Canto seafood joints with their fried shrimp.


#66

Hi @PorkyBelly,

I haven’t been to Lotus of Siam (I know, I know!). Every time we go to Vegas, it seems our friends never want to go “out of the way.” :roll_eyes: But yes, these are butterflied, partially deshelled and deep fried to a wonderful crispy perfection. :slight_smile: Definitely a standout dish there.


#67

Looks like I need to make a trip to try this place. Sounds like it has LoS potential. Thanks, @Chowseeker1999 and @PorkyBelly