I’m back in town this weekend (sadly, for a funeral) and have enough time for just one lunch in San Gabriel on Saturday. I’ve been away now for about three years, and am rather disconnected now from anything new and notable in the SGV Chinese food scene.
What, in your opinion, is the single most noteworthy and delicious new Chinese restaurant opening in SGV within the past three years, and why? What characteristics makes it exceptional? e.g. Is the food from a region not well represented in LA? Is it an exceptional version of dishes found commonly in SGV, etc?
You’ve got just one chance to make me regret my decision to move to Portland, so you need to make it count!
EDIT: realized I made a similar request back in November and didn’t follow up on it. Went to Mian, and had a mostly fine meal…I don’t recall the particulars. I’ll be sure to more diligently follow up on this post. Based on that thread, Taste Guizhou currently intrigues me the most, for the rarity of the cuisine in SGV and generally positive reviews.
While I don’t know what all you’ve missed out on since you left, to put it bluntly, in all my years of keeping up with the SGV restaurant scene it’s been total dullsville over the last year or more. A lot of homogeny. A lot of same 'ol, same 'ol.
About Taste Guizhou. It’s interesting in that it features a regional cuisine, but don’t go expecting transcendence. I write about places that feature a different regional cuisine or have unique, ultra-specific dishes. This does not mean the restaurant or food is incredibobble or amazeballs. It’s why you never see me use “(B)est” (TM-TonyC) or other hyperbole. The headlines aren’t my doing and anything else is read into it. Sorry for the digression, but it’s just that I get that a lot, so I feel a pre-emptive explanation is in order, yet again.
Now, that sounds like damning Taste Guizhou with faint praise, but it’s not meant that way. Guizhou-style food is rare around these parts and it’s interesting, particularly if you like a blend of strong vinegar with Sichuan-style spiciness. The since closed Xu Garden actually had some even more specific Guizhou specialties, but dropped some of those before I made it in
You may have enough time for Nanjing Kitchen (order the salted duck and zongzi; ‘to go’ is fine), followed by AhGoo Kitchen (only 1 block away) for the scallion cakes and dumpling goodness, and a kilo or 2 of the sweet porky “dessert” (‘para llevar tambien’) at Fragrant Jerky in Rosemead to bring back to the folks in Oregon.
(don’t know why I’m using Spanish; I doubt the folks at Fragrant will know it…)
Taster, if you’re going to be out by Rose Hills, probably something in the RH/HH/CoI area might work best.
As far as interesting in the last couple of years, there’s Lao Xi Noodle House on the far east side of Arcadia and Shanxi Noodle House in City of Industry. Both feature Shanxi-style noodles, but with a more in-depth menu than JYTH. For example, Shanxi Noodle House has oat noodles and buckwheat noodles, while Lao Xi has potato starch as well as buckwheat dao xiao mian. Lao Xi is very much a little, wife and husband restaurant, using her recipes (they’re from Shanxi Province). Shanxi Noodle House has many intriguing, deep regional items on the menu, but many are unavailable or whited out. That can be maddening, as it often takes a third, or fourth, choice. But, what they’ve had has been very interesting, at least to me. Of course, both places have the Shanxi-style noodles that JYTH is known for, dao xiao mian.
…then there are a couple of “new-ish” Shaanxi-style places on the Westside of the SGV: Shaanxi Garden and Xi’An Tasty. I would think TonyC would recommend Xi’An Tasty highly. Very good biang biang noodles. TonyC touts the braised beef version at Xi’An Tasty.
There’s not much on the menus at either of these places that you haven’t seen at Shaanxi Gourmet or Xi’An Kitchen, but (IMO) these two newer places are doing it better than Shaanxi Gourmet. The biang biang noodles at Shaanxi Garden had more diced, stewed pork and diced veggies than the versions I’ve had at the other places.
jfood? Sorry, you’re going to have to explain that one to me. Normally, I don’t get to use first person, so it occasionally bleeds over But, it’s not third person when I used “me” and “I’ve” in the posts.
Sorry, I was replying to Mr. Taster. jfood was one of the stars on CH who eventually got banned. He dined and he cooked. Here’s a snippet briefly explaining his ‘persona.’ It was his dog writing
RE: Miss Needle
S soupkitten Apr 23, 2008 09:17 AM
omg Miss Needle you and i really were separated at birth. i have “voices” for so many posters at this point it is ridiculous! i realized that i was doing this a long while back when i was reading a Jfood post-- with his 3rd person, talking dog device and all, i’d given him something like a “muppet” voice, i’m afraid, without consciously thinking about it! LMFAO!-- and of course as i “got to know” Jfood over time, the voice evolved into a very wise, knowing, er, yoda-type muppet voice. Jfood if you read this, please know that i mean that very much as a compliment!"