I don't know why I waited so long to visit this Shanghainese restaurant. I've been lurking the LA boards for almost a year, and have heard about this place repeatedly, but just couldn't get my butt into gear to make it out to this San Gabriel establishment.
I'm glad that I finally did.
I initially went to taste the infamous soup dumplings, but it was quickly forgotten when the clay pot of lion's head meatball was placed in front of us. About 4 meatballs, the size of a small fist, hidden away by layers of simmered napa cabbage, bamboo shoots, and shiitake mushrooms placed on top. Too large to take an entire meatball, we all took scoops of it with our spoon. And that first bite? Mmmmmmmm.... accentuated by the brown sauce, the ground pork tasted sweet and practically melted in my mouth because it ws so soft. I couldn't get enough of it. With just the right amount of napa to offset the amount of meat, it was a very satisfying dish and I had to force myself to stop eating before the meter hit overload. This would be an excellent dish during the cold winter season.
Of course, we tried the crab-pork dumpling, but it was pretty unremarkable, so I think I need to go back again and give it another try. I know that it's a hit or miss deal. We also ordered the dry-fried green beans. Good taste, with bits of ground meat flavoring the beans. Unfortunately, the green beans themselves were a bit stringy (not quite season yet for them?)
We finished the meal with the red bean pancakes. Smooth red bean paste (perfect! not too sweet) oozed from the sides of the folded-over rice pancakes. Almost looked like pan-fried crepes, lightly browned; the outside was slighly crisp and complimented the red beans very well. I'd like to try the date pancakes the next time I visit this place.
I wish we had gone with bigger appetites, but I guess that means that we'll just have to go back again and order all the different dishes that I was eyeing at the neighboring tables. It seemed like a lot of people were ordering some sort of edamame-bean curd stir fry (with bok choy?) that looked pretty tasty.
A very good meal that made me want more, even when the waistline began to protest.....
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