This is the hypercrowded lobster joint that used to be crammed into the southwest end of that wallbound strip mall where Golden Deli lives. For I think about a year they've occupied new and much more spacious digs (and with their very own parking lot!) across the street and a block or two east from there. We'd been meaning to go but kept fumbling it, until last night we got together with Mrs. O's brother and his wife and by golly did it. Arrived sevenish just as two cars departed from the first row - an excellent omen! Walked in and were immediately seated at a big comfy table in the left back corner, quickly brought menus and tea, and in all were made to feel right at home. Or would if our home had an elementary school in the living room; My, we said, this is a popular FAMILY spot, eh? But none of them was running around or fighting, so we turned down the hearing aids and addressed the menus.
Of course we had to order the "French-style" beef, if only to amuse the Frenchwoman among us, but mostly because Mrs. O and I love it and the others had never had it. The sautéed pea sprouts were another must-have. Mr. T thought the crisp-fried squid looked like a very good idea, and since Mme T's English doesn't yet encompass the Asian-menu variety we had a general discussion and decided on a sizzling seafood platter. She did spot the words "French beer" at the bottom of the drinks list, and after we'd asked about that wound up with three half-liter bottles of Fischer, from Alsace, which was very good if oddly mellow.
The food appeared immediately as it was prepared, the seafood platter and some rice first. This had a good mixture of shrimp, squid rings, scallop slices and baby octopots along with big succulent mushrooms, snow peas and perfectly-cooked sweet slices of onion in a tasty sauce. The beef was next up, and it was of course as tender as we remembered, but it seemed to lack a depth of flavor it used to have, and instead of the thick mat of finely-cut lettuce leaves that used to absorb the sauce and make such a tasty end to the dish, there were just a few whole leaves. Don't know if it's the burden of making so many plates of that very popular dish, or the fact that the price hasn't changed in the last six years or so, but it was still good anyway.
The pea sprouts were a lovely bright green, in a sauce that was almost buttery, and strewn with finely-chopped garlic, Delicious! And the fried squid was a big pile of lightly battered and deep-fried chunks and morsels, with the occasional little baby one to be dug out of the pile and enjoyed for its more complex texture. This was one dish that did not fare so well when it cooled off, losing most of its crunch and some flavor, but while it was hot it was delightful.
The meal ended with a plate piled high with sweet, juicy orange wedges, and a bill for $67.58. Given that we'd had exactly the perfect amount of excellent food and three big beers (which we split generously four ways), we were happy to round out the tip and call it $20 apiece. We will certainly be back, probably with the Posse, and definitely with a camera.
835 W Las Tunas Dr
San Gabriel, CA 91776-1073
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