Had our staff meeting last Wed. at Jasmine Garden, across from the CSUF Save Mart Center (SE corner of Shaw and Woodrow behind Starbucks). Location was chosen by our SE Asian co-worker who had learned it was under new management, a family effort that has been underway for about a month now.
Started with the Spring Rolls, pork, shrimp, mint and greens wrapped in thin rice paper. Very fresh tasting with bright mint flavor and a good peanut sauce (6/4.75). Also had the deep fried calamari (6.25) described on the menu as tempura calamari w/sweet and sour sauce. This doesn't come close to describing the generous platter, the tempura didn't seem to exist but instead the calamari appeared to have been sliced into rectangles that curled up after cooking and had this deep warm yellow/orange color (wasn't able to determine from exactly what, will follow up) and amazing flavor. The texture was a little on the chewy side but not to the point of being rubbery. One of the best versions I've run across.
The Mom brought us all a complimentary bowl of a beef stew she had made that morning, very tasty broth and tender thin slices of beef.
I had one of the specials of the day, Seafood Curry (6.95), shrimp, calamari and white fish in a nicely flavored green curry sauce. I ordered it hot, but it didn't come out that spicy. I noticed the calamari in this dish had been cross-scored which made it more tender than the fried app. I got a taste of the boss' Pork in Clay Pot with vegetables (7.95), this seemed to have a spice that I didn't especially care for and the meat was a little tough and stringy, noticed that she only ate about half and didn't ask to take the leftovers with her.
One of our less adventurous members had the orange chicken special (5.95) that had a most impressive visual appeal, even from the far end of the table, I noticed he finished every bite of the huge platter.
The fellow that chose the place ordered a large bowl of thin rice noodles with green onions and other veggies that was topped a huge amount of bite size chunks of chicken with deep brown color that looked so appealing. Not sure if it was a special or off the well thought out and varied menu.
The waitstaff are all young (college kids?) but extremely friendly and helpful. They all seem to be a little nervous about being able to suceed in this location since they're hidden by Starbucks. Hopefully word of mouth and Chowhound will help them out. Definitely a place we want to stick around.
Should also mention that the typical condiments on the tables (soy, white vinegar, srirachi) include a bottle of fish sauce (maggi?).
2633 E. Shaw #109
My BIL treated me to lunch a couple of weeks ago at a place that was new to me, but turns out to be a long standing well kept secret. Arriving around 11:30am the place was already starting to fill up and people coming in for their takeout orders.
New China is not new, in fact it's your basic dive, formica tables and 1950's decor, but the food....
We started with the fried pork dumplings, largest I've seen, 6 to an order, the large pork ball was moist and tender, the outside well browned but just a little on the thick side, definitely filling.
BIL had already ordered by the time I arrived, one each of the combination chow fun and the sizzling seafood platter (believe they were in the $6-7 range). Chow fun was simply outstanding, wide tender noodles covered with perfectly cooked shrimp, pork and chicken with one of the best dark brown gravies ever. We were only able to get through less than half of this because the other dish was so incredible. The seafood platter continued to sizzle covered with a paper place mat for a good 5 min. after being brought to the table, great aromas wafting out, and the ample sauce it was in oozing over the edges. Again, fresh perfectly cooked shrimp, scallops, and fish and a sauce so good we spooned the remnants over a little rice even though we'd reached our saturation points long before. I can see this becoming a weekly habit.
New China Cafe
1107 N Blackstone Avenue