Review: New Moon, Montrose (caution: egg roll content)
During the flurry of discussions about New York-style egg rolls on this board, a couple of people mentioned New Moon. I happened to be up there and hungry last night, so I wandered in for dinner.
Well, first of all, you have to picture a 30-year-old guy in jeans, a rugby shirt (how fashionable am I!) and Chucks... walking into what he thinks is your standard Chinese restaurant, only to find that the restaurant is completely full, it's all groups and couples "of a certain age", all dressed either in dressy-casual (men: khakis, button down, contrasting blazer) or full-on jacket and tie.
I'd stumbled into a Chinese bistro, mood lighting, linen napkins and all. Ai ya!
The great thing about Los Angeles is that you can be in jeans, rugby shirt and Chucks and they won't blink twice at you, won't lead you to the table in the back ghetto where nobody can see you, won't take any notice at all.
I ordered the aforementioned egg rolls, scallops with ginger sauce, gai lan (Chinese broccoli), steamed rice and jasmine tea.
First, let's get the egg rolls out of the way (hi there, Mr. Taster!). They're the closest I've ever got here, never having made it to Genghis Cohen, but on the New York scale they're only an 8 or 8.5 out of 10. Why, you ask?
The skin was perfect -- blistered and brown outside, yellow and "stretchy" inside, and the filling was ALMOST right -- except they don't serve pork at New Moon. THEY DON'T SERVE PORK AT A NON-ISLAMIC CHINESE RESTAURANT. The egg rolls have cabbage and... chicken. Not quite the same but so, so close! If they used pork they'd have it.
Note to those wanting to order them: they're fatter than your typical NY egg roll and they come sliced into big chunks. Just ask them not to slice them. You get noodles and duck sauce when you sit down, use the duck sauce for the egg rolls.
Now, then, having dispensed with the tasty-but-not-quite-right egg rolls which I will probably go back for, let's move on to the star of the evening: those scallops.
I love scallops. The problem is, the atrocities normally committed against scallops in the name of cuisine makes me want to cry. These, however, were perfect -- cooked ALMOST all the way through, with a very tasty but subtler-than-I-expected ginger sauce, and standard American broccoli. I was a bit shocked at the price ($15.95) but I got 16 scallops for that price, enough to feed three!
The gai lan was another huge portion, which explains the $10.95 price tag. While I like gai lan and this was very well executed, just the right amount of crunchiness and "brown glop" that was actually tasty and not just soy and cornstarch, even for the huge dish I got, $11 was too much.
The rice was rice -- you can get white or brown. It's served in a bowl, like normal, but I did get some amount of surprise from the waitstaff when I picked it up and started eating it with chopsticks. One of them -- the lone Asian waiter amongst the group of young and slender American surfer-types -- came over and expressed some surprise that I knew how to eat rice out of a bowl. Tells you the crowd up there in Montrose/North Glendale/La Canada Flintridge.
Dessert, unusually, was proffered -- they have various gelati, some sorbets that I was tempted by (pear? grapefruit Campari? blood orange?), and various cake-type objects, but I was full and still had well more than half my dinner to take home.
The total bill, including tip and tax, was $43. Expensive, but honestly it was enough food for two or even three people, so not ridiculously expensive.
I liked it. It's a good addition to that area, where Chinese has historically been provided by Sun Palace (see my review from two weeks ago) and Rice Garden (ick ick ick).
New Moon Restaurant
2138 Verdugo Blvd
Montrose, CA 91020
Nice review. One thing you missed out on is their Chinese Chicken Salad. New Moon makes THE BEST. Word is that they are the ones who invented this (although some dispute it) but whatever, it is not like the stuff you find at most places with the sticky, syrupy, overly sweet dressing flooding everything. If you should go back, make it a point to try this dish. For some reason it is also very reasonably priced compared to their other dishes.
Huh... you've piqued my curiosity.
Let me know if you're planning to go eggroll tasting at Genghis Cohen... I live down the street and around the corner. Would be curious to know how you'd compare the two.
We had a 7pm reservation but came in at 6 hoping to get an early start - we were seated immediately. Calimari appetizer was fantastic, Wor Won Ton soup was great, Chloe Shrimp was good, but not great. Mongolian beef was good but bland. It should always be served on a sizzling platter - litigious state maybe? Service was absolutely perfect - very attentative without being intrusive, thank you Jonathan! Fabulous welcoming atmosphere, great wine/beer list. Perfect place to go with friends. Highly reccomend the appetizer menu. Large portions. It is great to have such a place here in Montrose. My prejudice is that I am half Chinese and my grandmother was a gourmet Chinese cook and I didn't expect gourmet chinese food. This place didn't disappoint at all. The only down side was the food was a bit bland, which doesn't live up to the menu descriptions. However, perfect seasonings are provided to taste - I would rather have bland and be able to add seasoning than have it over seasoned and not be able to do anything about it.
I wouldn't think it's the litigious nature of our society -- after all, fajitas are served on sizzling plates even at corporate chain outposts like El Torito and (gah) Chevy's... but then I've never had Mongolian beef on a sizzling plate, sounds like it would be good!
I agree about the seasonings, but I asked for chili oil and it appeared in ten seconds flat, so I can't fault them... I'm of your school of thinking, when it doubt underseason and provide a dish of whatever to punch it up.