Last year there was this artsy movie called Crash
it was something about how diverse L.A. is and how were all awful racists because of it
OBVIOUSLY, Mr. writer director genius guy didnt grow up in the San Gabriel Valley. SURE, there were plenty of ricer and beaner jokes thrown around by my teenaged friends, but you see
a point that movie missed, that is very evident to a high schooler in the SGV, is when you embrace the diversity of your neighborhood and make friends of many different cultures
all of a sudden your holidays like double! I went to Quincenerias where half the attendants (You have 14!) were Chinese. And Ive celebrated Chinese New Year by toasting with Bohemias in hand
And so, even though Ive long since moved out of the homestead, I still look forwards to the Lunar New Year and a grand Chinese Feast!
This year our scheduling was a little wonky, so a group of friends (half mine, half his) went for our banquet this weekend. The host decided to try a new restaurant, Capital Seafood right next to 99 Ranch on Atlantic and Garvey and true to my SGV roots, it was a diverse table of 12 folks, with only 1 Chinese speaker So new restaurant and language gap I was a bit nervous .
But then, our story got a Hero GEORGE!! (As he became known during the dinner) A young English Speaking waiter who not only helped us through the menu (Lots of recs on what was good and what was bad ) but understood our ever picky question and was attentive to every request and he never tried to steer us away from the authentic stuff we all craved every Chinese restaurant should have GEORGE!!!
Thanks to GEORGE!! we ordered these wonderful dishes .
Clam and Ginger Scallion Soup: One of the reasons my friend chose this place was because she LOVES Chinese clam soup and this was a great rendition. A bowl completely CHOCK full of clams, light broth with lots of flavor. Not as great as the clam soup we had at the dearly departed Kings Palace on Valley (The Rowland Heights location remains), but still really great!
Dried Scallop Soup: This resembled a hot and sour soup in appearance and in slight taste. It needed more punch more hot (White pepper) and more sour (defiantly). The Scallops were mild and gave a great texture. I enjoyed it, but the clam soup was the winner
House Special Shrimp: My favorite dish of the dinner HUGE firm fresh meaty shrimp dried in a tasty batter doesnt get better than that!
Roasted Whole Duck Peking Style: Great rendition of the dish. The skin was ULTRA crispy duck moist. The only thing that might ding this place is that it was served with steam bread and not wrappers and served with both Hoisin sauce and Plum sauce Nevertheless, it was one of the best Peking Ducks Ive had
Braised Frog Leg in Casserole: My very first experience with Frog Legs! I wasnt afraid at all though, it all tastes like Chicken right?! In fact, it did not, the frog meat was dense, meaty with a fishy/gamey taste. This dish had BIG pieces of Black Mushroom, Tons of Garlic Cloves and Ginger slivers. Also lots of little Chinese Sausage links Tasted great, but I would not order again. The Frogs Legs were like Chicken Feet so many little bones too much effort for too little meat! :P
Honey BBQ Pork: Yum! Yum! Yum!!! They didnt have pork pump, so we ordered this instead and it was your pretty standard in appearance Chinese Meat and Sauce dish, but it tasted wonderful!!
Baked Dungeness Crab with Pumpkin: This dish was another adventure to eat as the pumpkin was reduced down to almost a stew The crab was well done, but slippery. It needed a spoon and a separate rice bowl
Jelly Fish : This was served warm, instead of cold like I prefer it It was wonderfully done though, not fishy and not too chewy
Pan Fried Vermicelli w/ Seafood: Pretty standard thin noodle, seafood and gravy dish. But again, tasted wonderfully
Sautéed Baby Bok Choy: My other favorite dish We tried to order the pea shoots, but GEORGE!! recommend this instead and I was so glad he did! They were TINY the Size if golf balls and perfectly crisp and sauced YUM!!!
Braised String Beans w/ olive leaves and minced meat: Again, fairly standard dish, great tasting, but a bit heavy Ive had better renditions at Tsung Lai Shun and Ding Tai Fung
Pan Fried Oyster w/ Scrambled Egg: When I saw a picture of this on the menu, I though it was a Scallion Pancake, but GEORGE!! broke the news to me it was instead an Oyster Omelet EVEN BETTER!!! A thicker version of the Korean Seafood Pancake, but just as tasty Loved it!!
Baked Whole Oyster in Honey Sauce: Im not a big fan of Oysters especially not Raw ESPECIALLY not cooked. The only Oysters that ever made me go wow was R-23s fried Oysters So I was a bit leery about this dish, but along with the Pan Fried Oyster, I was shocked to have two of my favorite dishes of the night be Oyster dishes!! Although fully cooked, the oysters tasted fresh without any funkiness The sauce was DELISH and so I totally recommend ordering this dish!!
And so, as you can guess I started off my Lunar New Year STUFFED and happy!!! It was a great feast and at about $25 pp for 12 folks (Including a much deserved generous tip for GEORGE!!) I cant recommend trying this restaurant enough for those seeking their own New Years Banquet, and again if I may I highly recommend: Oyster with Scrambled Egg, Baked Whole Oyster, Sauteed Baby Bok Choy, House Special Shrimp and the Clam Ginger soup for good measure! And if you see anything else that catches your fancy on the menu just call out GEORGE!!
Capital Seafood (NOT "New Capital"!)
755 W Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA