Going for a friend’s 45th birthday (she won’t mind me telling). There will be 8 of us. I’ve been tasked with setting the menu. Though, I was not consulted about the restaurant itself. I’ve never been. It looks like it is typical Chinese banquet menu–lobster, king crab, fried rice, etc. Anything in particular I should order? I will eat anything delicious and will happily drag the other 7 kicking and screaming into a greater adventure than they signed up for! Please help!
only because no one else is responding, i will volunteer that (IIRC) world started life as the former shi hai and is currently run by the same owners minus an investor or two. jonathan gold wrote a gold-ish review of their dim sum, extolling dim sum for most of the article and then in a single sentence near the end saying you might be best off staying with the simpler dim sum served there while the headline claimed that gold loved the place. again, IIRC they eventually started offering discounts on their dim sum menu in the LA times business section so no one really went out of their way to try their dinner service. i can’t recall anyone ever posting a review.
since sufficient time has elapsed, there’s no guarantee that the dinner staff was retained. maybe you could ask if they’d cater from newport? or scout ahead and note what everyone else there is ordering?
naturally, we await a report…
Just to add a little background info since nobody on this board eats there, when Shi Hai opened in 2014 they expressly indicated their intent to supplant Sea Harbour as the #1 Chinese restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley. Not that it was bad, but it was no Sea Harbour, or Lunasia, or Elite or King Hua. Their biggest claim to fame was that in perhaps the most mystifying event of food journalism in the history of the United States, GQ Magazine named Shi Hai to their list of the top 25 restaurants in the US in 2015. Not the top 25 Chinese restaurants, but the top 25 restaurants period. I can only explain that honor by saying the author was a New York based food critic, and I’m guessing Shi Hai was the only California Chinese restaurant he ever ate at, and it exceeded anything he had ever eaten in New York. Anyway, when Shi Hai rebranded to World Seafood in 2016, it was to take their food to a lower price point, and correspondingly also lower quality, in essence dropping down the restaurant a classification to compete with places like NBC Seafood and Capital Seafood, rather than Sea Harbour and Lunasia. So for any recommendations you’re stuck with Yelp.
Thanks for giving me the low down. I don’t mind NBC and its ilk, sometimes you can get lucky and the meal is pretty good to very good due to chef and seasonality. I always try to be super aware of what to order. I guess I’ll be practicing my best Cantonese in the next week and trying to figure out what’s in season seafood-wise. I’m not sure why they decided on this place, but I’ll work with what I’ve been given and report back.
oh, but it was. i remember a chang fun made with frozen corn that was still shriveled after steaming. i also recall something resembling a gooey eyeball that i wanted to fling against the wall and then time how long it took to slide down to the floor; at least that way i’d have gotten some entertainment value out of it. it’s one of the few times i’ve left food on the table after i paid the bill.
Now you have me worried!
i’m assuming the dinner staff and dim sum staff were separate; again, IIRC, a certain former CH/FTC outspoken stalwart (who now writes exclusively for a publication that “has bigger circulation than all the SoCal magazines combined”) also raved about shi hai in a way that eventually resulted in a certain amount of derision. perhaps he’d been raving about dinner. also, if they’d rebranded to a lower price point, i’d assume there was some staff turnover at the time as well. they’ve managed to stay in business, so it can’t be too bad.
Dinner at Shi Hai wasn’t bad. We went there a few times and actually they were quite crowded, at least in the beginning. They also started to open a second branch in Hacienda Heights, but that fell through and eventually became Pleasure Ocean.
Turns out they didn’t need my help after all. The birthday girl’s husband pre-ordered a giant crab. Don’t know if it was a spider crab, alaskan king crab, or what, but it very much reminded all of us of the cloud monster from Stranger Things. Alas, it was not the season for cloud monster crab so it was not wonderful…OK, but not wonderful. The crab was transformed into 3 dishes: the legs were steamed with butter and garlic, the body was deep fried with garlic and chilis, and the guts were fried with rice. The meat was not sweet. In fact, there seemed to be very little discernible crab taste in any of the dishes. The texture was fine. Firm and meaty. We also ordered shaking beef, two sauteed greens dishes, peking duck, and salt n pepper shrimp. I would definitely avoid the peking duck. The baos were chewy and flavorless and the duck was likewise. The rest of the dishes were meh to fine. All in all, it was not terrible.
In short, I wouldn’t rush there. But, if someone has already picked it without consulting you, you won’t starve. How’s that for a recommendation.
all sung to the refrain of ‘the twelve days of christmas’