While I have written a number of times on the diminishing share that Cantonese restaurants have in the San Gabriel Valley and other Chinese American communities, the issue is really hitting close to home with the recent closure of Embassy Kitchen in San Gabriel, the seeming dinnertime downhill run by Longo Seafood in Rosemead, and seeds of a dropoff also at Seafood Palace in Monterey Park. However, it looks like we have found a suitable casual Cantonese dining replacement in Jasmine House in Alhambra. We were scared off by some negative early reviews, but some subsequent positive comment encouraged us to take a second look, and two more recent visits has made this the most likely candidate to replace the void in our rotation.
Jasmine House is on the busy block on Main Street just west of Garfield, and at least on Saturday nights its half filled pales compared to other restaurants on the block such as Boiling Crab, Road to Seoul and a few others, but we prefer Jasmine House by a wide margin. The most impressive dish we’ve found so far is the awkwardly named French style fish. In the past few years, a new dish swept onto Hong Kong style restaurant menus in Los Angeles called French style filet mignon, seemingly a variation of the Vietnamese shaking beef. With its slightly spicy, deeply savory flavor, usually presented on a bed of lettuce it’s now a standard here in Los Angeles. In recent years, a few Hong Kong style restaurants have added French style fish, French style shrimp and French style noodles to their menus. Except that originally, the “French” in French style beef referred to cutting the meat into small, bite sized cubes, something which isn’t done with French style shrimp, fish, or noodles.
A visually interesting and excellent dish was the fish tofu with baby bok choy.
Definitely not Cantonese but still very good was the cumin lamb.
Hong Kong style pork ribs are really just sweet and sour pork.
Not sure why they comped us half a Peking duck. Maybe they have a bonus special we didn’t know about, but it was the best free food I’ve had.
The crab meat fish maw soup was also excellent.
I should comment that there are still the higher end Cantonese dinner options in the SGV like Sea Harbour, Elite, Lunasia, China Red, King Hua, Happy Harbor and so on. But as seems to be the case with much of the Chinese community (as indicated by the relatively sparse crowds at these restaurants on Saturday nights), we reserve these venues for special occasions and not for casual weekend dinners.