Haven't been in years. Waitress told me that they still have "rinsed lamb" Shuai Yang Rou although it's not on the menu (northern not really hot pot, more like shabu shabu than the sichuan style ma la huo guo). Too hot today anyway, but nice to know they have it
We ordered too much for three people, but I watned to see what they had. First, they have five or six types of guo-tier pot stickers. They still make them "correctly" with a slurry that gives a crisp additional skin to the dumplings, they're not just pan-fried dumplings (jian jiaozi) that most places serve up as pot stickers. They were out of hte sour napa/ chinese sauerkraut/ suan cai and meat dumplings. So we go the ones with meat and chinese leeks. First, to avoid the food writers pitfall, everything was delicious. the potstickers weren't the least bit greasy - you could feel adn taste the oil but it wasn't excessive - tasty, just right. I won't use the word nubbins in this write-up.
Second dish, beijing rou bing, meat pie - think of a layered lahmajune cut in eighths, with a ground meat (here everything was pork unless otherwise stated, it's non-muslim beijing, so lamb is available but not for this). IT was amazing. surprising. very filling.
The seaweed salad (ban haidai) was great, and seasoned like I remember in Bejing. this food isn't as subtly flavored as a real shandong place might be - see 101 noodle express. Beijing food is influenced by it, but tends to be simpler.
THe cong you bing, scallion cake was great as well, but BIG _ 12 pieces of a large onion cake about 70% larger than the kind you'll find at Yung Ho. came late, we didn't eat it all.
Next, we had a cold dish of the thick noodle like jelly rectangles made of green beans (lu dou, not string beans) called Beijing Liang Fen. WHile fen especially in the south usually means rice noodles or stix, here it's the bean noodles (la pi or liang pi other places). Served with a light and thin sesame sauce and some cucmber slivers. Very refreshing.
we ordered one reg. stir fried dish - slivers of pressed tofu (doufu gan) with baby bamboo sprouts that were exquisitely thin and split. We were asked if we wanted steamed rice but with so much starch already, we passed. it would go well with rice though. This was probably the best or one of the two best dishes with the potstickers.
The last dish -came first - wasn't on the menu, but saw a sign in chinese on the counter touting two new dishes for them. Both in bejing, but from the shandong kitchen. One was their version of Dezhou chicken which is what many chinese patrons go to 101 noodle express for - when they opened, they had a HUGE sign in Chinese touting it, and that's what made me go there for the first time. No, this was a braised thin sliced pork tongue, and basically it was like a version of smaller beef tongue, but cooked in a shandong style braising liquid with at least the five spicesof five spice powder. Light pepper, but lots of star anise and maybe clove. Think deli, cross between corned beef and tongue. Came room temperature. Delicious and my friends took the excess home - great for sandwiches.
The cook was very sweet and came out to explain the liang fen dish to us in chinese - he was very proud. One chinese customer came over to us (well, spoke excellent but heavily accented english) and was surprised that we were enjoying the tongue - saying it was pretty much hardcore chinese - my guess, the gentleman hasn't spent much time at Brent's deli. But everyone was so nice and friendly. THe waitress helped us toss the liang fen to get it all coated with the sauce. Service was excellent, although only one waitress so it took a hwile to get the bill when we were done.
We drank the tea and each ordered a big serving of the sour plum juice drink. Sour, sweet and a little smoky. Beijing style yogurt from the alhambra store is available as well.
Total without tip - $38.
Pretty happy with it still. This place has never been big with the hounds, but i liked it and years later still do. IN mall at se corner of atlantic and garvey in monterey park.
130 S Atlantic Blvd
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Post note - just checked the yelp site... this place offers some sichuan dishes, like twice cooked pork and kung pao stuff and it seems xiaolong bao. DON"T BOTHER with these here. Eat the beijing dishes and enjoy them. If you see familiar cantonese or sichuan or huaiyang dishes, leave them for others... they may or may not be good, but get here what you don't find elsewhere. you wont' be sorry. My two cents.