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Jul 14, 2007 01:30 PM

Good 2 Great Chinese in the west SF valley

We've yet to find a consistently good (not even great) Chinese place after eight years in the valley. Any recommendations west of Reseda Blvd and south of Roscoe? PF Changs is not an option nor is driving far on a Saturday night. Thanks

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  1. I can tell you where not to go for dim sum, A & W on Reseda Blvd. It was awful, awful, awful!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Fru

      I disagree about A&W's dim sum, which is the best that is available in the SFV. It's not up to the standards of the San Gabriel Valley, but in a pinch it is good.

      I think A&W is far and away the best Chinese place in the valley. They excel at seafood dishes. We always get a delicious crab dish that comes in garlic sauce (it may be a house special crab) and the salt and pepper shrimp. The non-seafood dishes are pretty good, and my brother, who won't eat fish or shellfish, likes the orange beef.

      FYI, I'm talking about the A&W on Reseda at Prairie (just north of Nordhoff). There is another A&W further south.

      1. re: Jwsel

        We are talking about one and the same and if it is the best the SFV has to offer, I still will NEVER go back. We went because it was convenient for family members who live in the Valley. I'll be specific about what I didn't like so please pardon my phonetic spellings or just descriptions because I do not speak Chinese. The BBQ pork in triangle shaped flaky pasty was not completely cooked thus it was doughy. Very unappetizing. The chow fun were rubbery and COLD. Not lukewarm from traveling around in a cart but COLD. I don't typically eat stewed tripe, steamed ribs or conge unless I'm with others that enjoy so I cannot comment on them. There was no cart with BBQ pork, duck, seaweed salad or jellyfish. The siu mi and har gow were ok as they were steamed and hot. We asked for turnip cake which one of the gals found for us. I have no idea where it came from because I never saw a cart with it being fried. It too was COLD. I've been eating dim sum almost all of my life (35+ years) in Los Angeles & the SGV and have never had an experience this bad. The place was full so obviously there are many who feel the way that you do and I do not mean that derogatorily so I hope I am not being offensive.

        1. re: Fru

          A and W on Reseda has excellent roast pork, crispy tofu and lobster with buttery house special sauce. I haven't been there for dim sum and after your review, never will. But it's the best Chinese food place in the Valley for dinner. Their char siu is aromatic, just sweet enough and slightly charred. IMHO better than 95% elsewhere. Their crispy tofu is served at such high temperature with a perfect dip, scalding one's tongue is sorta worth it. But the best thing on their menu is their lobster in a Vietnamese style buttery sauce at something like $15 a pound, usually 5 to 7lbs. After sucking out the lobster meat, I'd scoop out every bit of the sauce and chow that down too. :-)

        2. re: Jwsel

          I have to say I did really enjoy A&W's seafood and vegetable dishes. The Dim Sum was only good if you really didn't want to drive and get good Dim Sum, but the seafood was pretty damn good.

        3. re: Fru

          totally agree, all the food was very greasy and cold.

        4. I know there are some who disagree with me, but my family and I like Pagoda Inn. It's a few doors away from Whole Foods at Rinaldi and Tampa. (There is also a good Greek restaurant in that same complex.) Also, have you tried Yang Chow in Woodland Hills/Canoga Park? They have a great dish called Slippery Shrimp. It's on Topanga across the street from the mall.

          1. Neither good nor great exists in the boundaries you mention. A&W is your best option if Reseda Bl. is within your territory.

            1. What about Mandarin Deli? Across from A & W. The noodles and dumplings are wonderful, good soups, decent entrees.

              And a lot of people like, oh what's it called, the place with the slippery shrimp on Topanga just north of Victory.

              Also, slightly out of your range but still in the valley is Vegetable Delight, which is consistently delicious. (Chatsworth and Zelzah).

              3 Replies
              1. re: NeNePie

                I think vegetable delight is just plain amazingly good food.

                1. re: Diana

                  We went last weekend, and we are going again tonight. We rotate dishes but our favorites are the spicy eggplant (the best I've ever had anywhere), the sesame "beef" which is really deep fried, sesame coated chewy mushrooms on top of sauteed spinach, and the veggie fish with black bean sauce. The brown rice is aromatic, chewy, perfectly prepared. The sauteed vegetables are prepared in a way that suggests a love for vegetables ... which makes sense! Sometimes we have them make plain sauteed cabbage for us, and its always good: plain and perfect. I love this place. Just wish I could convince more people to go there.

                  1. re: NeNePie

                    There's another veggie Chinese place in Reseda, operated by the sister of the woman from veggie d... it's very similar.

                    I think the food is pretty good at both places, though these days, I mostly prefer the food at the SGV places. I do crave their wontons, though, and the fake shrimp appetizer is pretty good. The gf, who is Chinese, is not super crazy about it, but then again, she's not super gung ho about most vegetarian only restaurants.

              2. As a person who grew up in the SGV, I must tell you that no Chinese restaurant in the valley fits that category.

                A&W is okay at best.
                Mandarin Deli is good for beef noodle soup.
                Sam Woo would be your best bet, but that's in Van Nuys.
                Hong Kong Seafood in Woodland Hills is edible but not good.

                7 Replies
                1. re: WHills

                  agree 100%

                  I say bite the bullet and make the trek to SGV and seek out Mei Long Village.
                  I just can't stomach my beloved valley and it's version of chinese fare any more, Yang Chow? ...sheeeesh , a couple of tins of XLB will make anyone forget that slippery shrimp.

                  1. re: wizardx

                    I know this too is out of the area you requested but in Simi and Moorpark is Szechuan Garden. It's consistently good-excellent food all the time. The Simi location is in the same plaza as Regal Theatres at at 1457 Los Angeles Ave. near First Street. It is favorite restaurant out in Simi and my favorite chinese restaurant. Look carefully because in the same plaza is SimiPho and an unknown Thai restaurant which failed me once and I never went back.

                    The Moorpark location is at 484 E Los Angeles Ave. It's not far off the freeway at Princeton offramp.

                    1. re: SIMIHOUND

                      Which dishes at Szechuan Garden are good? Took a wild stab at the menu once and wasn't impressed, but may have just picked poorly. Would like to try again with guidance.

                      Are these two related to the Szechuan Garden on Topanga & Roscoe? Had a tolerable mapodoufu from there once.

                      I've also found Herb & Spice Thai to be hit-or-miss, but last time was mildly impressed (on a Simi scale, that is) with the Grilled Beef Salad and the Drunken Noodles (drizzle the Beef Salad sauce onto the noodles to give 'em some zing...otherwise they're a little one-dimensional).

                      1. re: yclops

                        I cant recall a bad meal or specific food I dont like except the egg rolls. I regularly eat the cashew chicken, walnut candied shrimp-(yum), pepper shrimp, NY style chow mein, szechuan chicken, garlic chicken. Really I could go on and on but I pretty much happy there. It not too busy, its good, they have a ton of coupons in the papers and I get great service.

                        I don't think they are related to the Topanga Canyon location. I mentioned that location to the owner who was unaware of it.

                        Herb & Spice was bad when I tried it once so I never went back. For Thai food I go to Sawasdee at 1960 Sequoia Avenue (805) 581-5526.

                        BTW Simi Pho has opened up next door to Szechuan Garden but I have not tried it out yet. I like to go with my SO but she isn't adventurous food wise.

                        1. re: SIMIHOUND

                          Thanks, I'll give it another try.

                          Briefly on the other places. I quite like Sawasdee, too. Better than H&S.

                          Went to Pho Simi on opening night. The place was packed, with a line out the door. The grilled meats were thicker than I usually see - 1/2" thick vs. the thin slices at other places. Also, the cut of beef was like the korean galbi, cross-cut ribs with bones; not a huge favorite of mine.

                          Operational issue galore. Many of the beef and pork slices in our dishes were undercooked - some of the pork was very raw. The pork had a terrific flavor, however, and was delicious when nuked at home. The herb plate was lacking or missing, depensing on the dish. However, the pho herb plate had sawtooth herb, which I haven't seen too often. Bun cha had no herbs. The cha gio were overcooked and served on the side of the bun cha rather than in it...again, operational issues abounded, but I can't imagine they expected such a huge turnout on opening night.

                          In short, I'll give it another try once they've settled into a groove before rendering final judgement - maybe another week or two.

                          1. re: yclops

                            I love Yang Chow on Topanga. The slippery shrimp is great.

                      2. re: SIMIHOUND

                        The Moorpark location is actually off the Los Angeles Avenue offramp. The Moorpark and Simi locations were operated by a formerly married couple; he had Simi, she had Moorpark; not sure if that's still the case. The Topanga location is under different ownership, but is also pretty good.

                        Also in the West Valley, surprised no one mentioned it yet, is Yang Chow on Topanga, which is known for their slippery shrimp; the other food there is passable.