The Kitchen Opens Up In Southern California
The Kitchen, the upscale Hong Kong style restaurant out of Millbrae in the Bay Area has opened up in Alhambra at 203 W. Valley Blvd., in the location occupied for many years by Jumbo Seafood and more recently NYC Jumbo. The Kitchen serves dim sum at lunchtime (actually opening at 9 am) and is in mix for the upscale dim sum crowd with Triumphal Palace, New Concept, Mission 261, Sea Harbour etc. Actually dim sum service is hybrid, with one or two carts circulating along with a few trays, with patrons also ordering off the menu. Unfortunately the menu is in Chinese only so if you're like me and don't read Chinese you either have to ask for translations or stick with whatever circulates. Food is kind of pricey--A, B, and C dim sum are roughly $1.90, $2.80 and $3.80, and almost nothing on the dinner menu is under $10. As with the Millbrae location, many innovative items populate the dinner menu. The Alhambra branch doesn't open quite as late as the Millbrae location, closing at midnight. The Kitchen in Millbrae is one of the very best Chinese restaurants in the Bay Area, so I think we're in for a treat.
Restaurant is kind of upscale by San Gabriel Valley standards, particularly when taking into account the pricing. (Even the noodle dishes are $10 and up.) No problem with takeout--I've been once for takeout and once for dine-in. Also, if the Alhambra branch is anything like the one in Millbrae, it'll be a late night hangout with a definitely un-fancy crowd. Last time I was at the Millbrae branch there were people waiting to get in at 11 pm, with a mixture of families, young adults, and older folks in the restaurant.
Items I recall include honey pepper short ribs, fish paste with egg white and milk, and tofu skin with fish maw. The fish paste dish was very good--fish paste cooked in egg white having a custard like texture and consistency. Also, I think the problem with the Chinese only dim sum menu might be resolved, as the head waiter said something about new menus with English translations.
Since the dim sum menu is currently only in Chinese there's a lot of stuff I don't know about. Non pork items I know of includes several types of cheung fun (rice noodle rolls)--shrimp, beef, scallop and mushroom, turnip cakes (don't have the bits of pork you see sometimes), ha gao, jellyfish, several dessert items, gai lan and tofu topped with shrimp/fish paste.
I am confused about this thread... were you all implying that they served dimsum at night? I just went to a "The Kitchen" at what I think is that location and they were clearly not serving Dim Sum at night. The menus is extensive and varied, with BBQ, Cantonese specialties, great looking seafood dishes and impressive soups. We had their "prix fixe" menu for two which was utterly fantastic! We got there ~6pm and the crowd soon followed. No time right now, but I will post on the experience later!
Bright, clean and fresh ambience, lively crowd, diverse menu selection, green chopsticks and pink napkins! Who could ask for more?
Tried The Kitchen Sunday afternoon New Year's Eve. Normal crowded Dim sum wait, but opened up at 1:30 pm.
Dim sum is a combination of walk around trays, carts and order off menu.
We ordered dishs off the munu. Menu has the normal standards off of a Cantonese Seafood menu with a number of new dishes. We tried Baked Stuffed Eggplant, Chiu Chow ToFu, Pork Meatballs with Sea Cucumber in a Clay Pot, Mustard Greens in Supreme Sauce, Malay Style Thick Rick Noodles (Curry flavor with Chicken and Shrimp), Roast Pork Belly and Custard Tarts.
Dishes we will try in the future are Bitter Melon Salad, Pot stewed Combo Platter Chow Zhou Style, Pan Fried Duck chin in Maggie Sauce, Sauteed Foie Gras with Wild Mushroom, Shanghai Style Golden Fried Frog Leg, Pan Fried Eggplant Country Sttyle, Free Range Chicken in Ginseng Soup, Mixed Fresh Mushroom Hot Pot, and Stir Fry Giant Clam in XO Sauce.
If you want to spend a lot of money, they have 12 kinds of sharks fin soup ($18-58) adn six kinds of abalone ($28-138 for 16-18 pieces).
There are plasma screens all over the dining room playing Asian TV shows with the sound turned off. They now have English Menus for the Dim Sum, Regular Menu and Banquet Menus.
Together with Boba Milk Tea, Capucino Boba and Taro Boba from one of the two Boba Tea Places from across the street while we were waiting, a very satisfying meal with not too long a wait.
They have a number of set Banquet Menus for 10 people at different price points ranging from $288 to $488. The menus did not appear to be particularly innovative, but I am sure that they are well executed. What is interesting, is that they offer 5 person versions of the same 10 dish banquet menus for $148 to $258. That seems a bargain to me for 5 or 6 people.
I was checking it out for hosting a dinner. However, even the private rooms are less upscale than New Concept, Triumphal Palace or even Sea Empress Harbor village or Ocean Star. Go there for the food, not the decor.
203 W. Valley blvd (between Garfiled and Atlantic)
Alhambra, CA 91801
Just went this weekend and have to say I am not too impressed with this place.
First off any of the "special" items cannot be ordered until after 11AM, and even when we were there at 11:40AM we still cannot order the chicken feet in abalone sauce. So either you eat the standard stuff, or wait with the crowd which was considerable when we left. BTW the parking lot is small.
We ordered our usual standards and most of it was not to my taste:
- steamed shrimp dumpling (#1) aka har gow - OK. Comes 5 to an order since they were on the smaller size comparing to others. Nice crunchy shrimp but not very moist within
- steamed pork ribs (#8). For some reason they decided to put some salty preserved olive on top, which really didn't enhance the flavor any
- steamed turnip cake (#6). To be avoided. Not much taste (believe had the same version in Triumphal Palace and theirs was much better)
- steamed chao chow dumpling (#16). Filling was OK, but the skin is mushy to the point of falling apart
- sweet rice jongs w/ abalone (#15). This is actually sticky rice in lotus leaf. Very good, but the english menu translation is way off.
- Fried green tea dumpling (#33) Excellent, it's green tea mochi stuffed with sesame paste (not red bean as reported) and deep fried
- fried stuffed dumpling (#44) - aka ham so gok or football. This version has cilantro within, which I hate. Otherwise the rice dough outside was fine.
- crispy egg roll (#49). Cilantro reared its ugly head again, guess the chef must love them. It's greasy to boot.
- crispy stuffed rice noodle roll (#43). It's the one mentioned in LA Weekly. It's a standard street fare in HK with the fried dough cruller wrapped with rice crepe. OK, but wished for some hoisin sauce which never materialized, plus too greasy for 2 people to finish.
- shanghai steamed crab dumpling (#48). Actually it's regular juicy dumplings submersed in a rice porridge broth (juk), and I didn't taste any crab. Very good and unusual though.
Service was a bit slow, dishes took a while to be removed, and had to wait a good 5 minutes for the tea to be refilled.
Lastly, the English menu translation is off. The noodles in #74 Living Lobster with noodles is actually ramen noodles(mentioned in LA weekly as resembling Top Ramen), and #34 house deep fried cake I think is made with Durian (not sure if it smells though). #68 is Roasted Pork Macau style (wish I ordered - looked very good). #28 rice noodle roll is the plain type with no stuffing.
Somehow I am guessing that the best stuff are on D & E prices, which means I have to brave the crowd for another try after 11AM.
We enjoyed dim sum on Saturday morning this past weekend, and it was SUPERB! Everything we ordered was fresh and hot AND delicious! The service was extremely attentive; I must have somehow shown my appreciation of their red hot sauce, and without request they brought us a huge bowl of it.
Yes, they were out of a few of our orders and there was some quiet confusion, but we did not care because they really went out of their way to please us!
The Kitchen and Elite (formerly New Concept) are now my two favorite dim sum places.
I still enjoy Capital Seafood in the 99 Ranch Plaza, but the food is superior at both The Kitchen and Elite, with The Kitchen shining very brightly right now.