Gong Xi Fa Cai! Newport Seafood conjures up the festive Chinese dining experiences like Chinese New Year family meals. Newport is known for wonderfully fresh seafood and other superbly prepared dishes for family and friends to gather around and enjoy.
We usually head out to the San Gabriel location, potentially stand in line and wait for ??? and taunt each other’s appetites with thoughts about what we are going to order. Upon entering, the numerous tanks hold the stuff of dining fantasies that come true with your request.
The House Special lobster is a given. Beef loc lac, crabs any way you want,.steamed whole fish, kung pao chicken, fried tofu, geoduck, pea shoots, kangkong… Really - one would have to try very hard to go wrong with their dishes. The preparation is usually excellent. And local diners would have it no other way. The bar is very high in SGV, and I think most would agree that Newport passes on all marks. This makes the long drive more than worth the experience.
Newport did something very ambitious. As we all know, they struck out in to uncharted territory - at least for them - and opened another location on what I consider to be the eastern border of the Westside - Restaurant Row on La Cienega.
I quick-searched this site for posts in Newport Seafood Beverly Hills, and only found one hit where @paranoidgarliclover mentioned enjoying meal for a family celebration. I also recall @J_L confirming the high level of quality and preparation at this location. With these gold yes-votes in mind, we went today for Chinese New Year.
Fearing the massive crowds that make the San Gabriel location on festive holidays, we opted to head over at opening for lunch. The underground parking was easy - too easy - and upon walking up to the entrance, not a single hungry soul to be found. Walking in, the same - not one diner at any of the tables. We were practically floored with the absence of diners on Chinese New Year. By the middle of our meal, the dining area had about seven or eight other tables with diners - most were Asian and one appeared to be an extended family of ten.
The four of us were promptly seated, sorted out the menu, and ordered the house lobster, Yi Min, Beef Loc Lac, crispy fried tofu, pea shoots and the fish fillet with spicy basil sauce. We all agreed that all the dishes were on par with the SGV location in terms of prep and flavor - except the lobster. It was really good, but we feel the dish could use more saltiness - catering to local preferences? Everything else about the lobster was spot on.
Enjoying a whole fish is customary on Chinese New Year, which brings up why we had the fish fillet. It was frozen rex sole, which seems like a downer, but the dish was perfectly fine. The problem with the BH unit is the lack of demand for such dishes as whole live fish. This tells of the different type of diners that go here. I didn’t dig further after the waitress regretfully informed us. But based on what and how she said this, it sounds like the kitchen was anticipating the arrival of the live fish but had yet to arrive. “Red Thornyhead” (rockfish) is what they were expecting. Still, we would return here for our Newport Seafood fix without hesitation. The basic food experience is on par with the SGV location, and if certain live items are desired, I think calling ahead would suffice - ordering the standard live seafood items on a whim is more capricious here.