The stretch of Main Street and Las Tunas Blvd from Alhambra to San Gabriel to Temple City seems to spawn new Chinese restaurants like mushrooms in a grass field after a spring rainstorm.
Here's a quick and dirty first take on some of the newer offerings along that stretch of road.
LOVING HUT (JOLLY CAFE)
621 West Main St
In the space formerly occupied by Szechwan Best (and many other Sichuan-type restaurants), now sits a vegan/vegetarian joint. They've got a "Delicious Hamburger" on the menu made with a protein mushroom patty. A dish called "Jolly Rice" that we were told goes well with the "Lucky Drumstick". The hamburger was neither bad or memorable -- about what you'd expect from a frozen Morningstar hamburger patty. The Jolly Rice was sickly sweet and the Lucky Drumstick was utterly tasteless, and mealy. Oh, and pass on the "Authentic Vietnamese PHO" that's on the menu ... better to just eat instant ramen and overdose on MSG than slurp that junk.
LUNASIA (née Triumphal Palace)
500 West Main St.
Ever go out with a girl who decides to get "some stuff done" to her body and she turns out (gasp!) to be less attractive than before with all that plastic and botox? That's Lunasia. Lots of the same staff (front and back) remain from Triumphal Palace, and the restaurant kept all of the furniture and furnishings as well (incl. the wine list). But the food is about a step worse than before. The pan-fried lobster was dressed in a sauce that was too runny. Our steamed fish came out after about 5 mintues too long in the steamer. The scallops were mushy. The mollusk with enoki mushrooms was a disaster. The abalone was good, but too expensive for the quality and preparation. (FYI - dim sum still served via menu.) The clay pots remain a bright spot, however.
9556 Las Tunas Blvd.
How many HK style cafes does SGV need? Well, apparently one more if one judges by the crowds at this new joint. In a space formerly occupied by a hardware store, Green Island takes the HK style cafe to the 21st Century -- you've got your own LCD flat screen TVs in each booth (although you can't really adjust the channels unless you ask the servers), an open-air kitchen, and a private dining "area" cordoned off with hanging beads. I'm told the cook from the old Sunday Cafe is behind this venture, although I did not spy any pork chop rice dishes on the menu. Most of the stand-bys one finds on newer HK-style restaurants can be found here -- e.g., clay pot rice, french-style filet mignon, boiled and salted fish dishes, etc. Almost everything is generally pretty good, and nothing really stands out as totally awful or totally great. Menu is lacking in dessert choices, however (so if you have a sweet tooth, better to go to a place like Tasty Garden).
Some side notes on some of the old-standbys along Main St. / Las Tunas:
Cathy's Bakery: I am told that they are taking advanced orders on Longevity Buns (or "tso-tao") for the Chinese New Year.
Dai Ho Kitchen: Now offering preserved duck feet and wings; limited time only.
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