Friday, November 28, 2008

My Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving for my family is a bit different then what you would expect. Turkeys are non-existent, instead you'll find rice, some sort of poultry and chili paste. This year we decided to have dinner at NBC Seafood, a location we normally go for Dim Sum. With new owners and a face-lift, I was excited to sample some new food.

The meal started off with Duck two ways. They serve the crispy duck skin with steamed buns and scallions. The duck meat is minced and sauteed with water chestnuts and other vegetables. The minced duck meat is served with lettuce cups. For a roasted duck dish, it was good, but not comparable to the classic Peking Duck.

I was so hungry I had a bit too much of the duck and forgot we had several more dishes coming. The next dishes to arrive were Salt Pepper Pork Chops, my sister favorite, Lobster Chow Mein and some sort of Sea Sponge and Baby Bok Choy. None of these dishes were executed very well. The pork chops were over cooked, the meat came out very dry. The Lobster Chowmein was ok, the Lobster was fresh, but the noodles were bland. The sea sponge which was not what we ordered, was very salty.

The last dish to arrive was the Chili and Honey Lamb Chops. The dish needed seasoning and the lamb was overcooked. The most unappetizing thing about the dish was that it was so oily.

The restaurant was full and has always had great dim sum. But I was not impressed with the dinner service. The food was not impressive and the service was poor. Add those two things together along with the cost of the meal and I don't plan on going back for dinner, only Dim Sum for me.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Giang Nan

After a review posted on Chowhound about this place, I decided to check it out. My mom had been there before and said the food was pretty good.

We got to the restaurant pretty early, around 11:15. Giang Nan is located in a small strip mall and the place looks very unimpressive. But the interior is much nicer then you would expect. When we arrived the restaurant was still empty. I let my mom do all of the ordering, but did request some items I had read about. And as usual my mom goes overboard on the number of dishes. We had eleven items total for a table of four, most of it we brought home.

Our meal started of with one of my favorites, on their menu it's called Dried Bean Curd with Vegetable. That might be the most uninspiring name for a dish that is so simple and delicious. Finely minced bean curd is mixed with a unknown Chinese vegetable, a little sesame oil, seasoning and that's it, it's served cold and so good.

Next came the House Special De-greased and Braised Pork Knuckle. This is a braised ham hock with a typical salty sweet Shanghainese sauce. The pork is super tender and falling off the bone. The layers of pork fat melt away from the meat. The meat in this dish is delicious, but there is a lot of fat. They serve some spinach under the pork "knuckle" which soaks up the sauce, so good.

I was pretty satisfied at this point, but we had 10 more items coming. The next few dishes arrived, Sauteed Eel, Shanghai Rice Cake with Chicken, and Roast Duck in Supreme Sauce. The Shanghai Rice Cake was delicious, not over cooked. The Sauteed Eel was okay, much better at Green Village. I did not like the Roast Duck in Supreme Sauce at all, the sauce was overwhelmingly sweet. The next round of dishes arrived, Soup dumplings, Beef Fried Rice, Salt/Pepper Pork Chops and Sauteed Chinese Spinach. The dumplings and pork chops were good, I did no even attempt to eat the fried rice or Chinese Spinach.

The food at Giang Nan was good and the prices were very reasonable. Giang Nan is on par with other Shanghainese restaurants like Mei Long Village and Green Village. Another great option in the San Gabriel Valley.