Eek, help, last minute trip to Monterey Park
BF and I just decided to go to chinese in monterey park tomorrow night (after a day of airshow-ing in Chino). But there is such a vast array of apparently fab restaurants to choose from, I am in a quandry! I was kinda thinking Ocean Star Seafood, but tell me if I am headed in the wrong direction for what we want to eat.
We like really flavorful food (rather than subtle, I guess), we like spicy, we want to have fish, and our favorite dish is spicy/salty pork chops.
Money isn't too much object, but fancy atmospheres aren't really our thing, and there will be only 2 of us, so the cheaper it is, the more we can try.
And the winner is . . . . help! Thanks so much!
Thanks for your suggestions everybody! We did go to Best Szechuan, and it was, well, Best! We really liked the place. Unassuming decor, friendly service, full of Chinese folks (I was the only caucasian there). We arrived at 7:30 on Saturday night, and got a table right away, but by the time we left, the restaurant was full and there were people waiting outside.
We ordered what they called Chili Chicken, which was deep fried nuggets of chicken, which, subsequent to deep frying had been sauteed in about 40 lbs of chopped red chilis. I had never had this preparation before, but my BF said it is a fairly common szechuan style dish. It was, of course, super spicy, and the chicken was flavorful and crunchy.
We also ordered an appetizer called Sliced Tender Pork with Garlic Sauce. This was a cold dish consisting of very thin slices of pork, which had been cooked and placed in a pool of garlicky hot-oil sauce. Very tasty, but more mild. Terrific!
Finally, we had Fresh Fish with braised sauce. It was a Tilapia (I think), braised and covered in a spicy, buttery sauce with cubes of soft tofu. The fish was moist and juicy, cooked perfectly, and the sauce was amazing.
For dessert they brought some papaya juice with a couple of chunks of papaya and what my BF told me was bird's nest. Gotta say the bird's nest tasted like little slime noodles - I'm not a fan of slippery, jellylike textures. But apparently it was well executed.
For these three dishes the bill came to $25 for two. We'll be going back!
You say you want spicy, flavorful food vs. subtle food. Ocean Star is a Cantonese-type restaurant for the most part and Cantonese food in general is subtle and not spicy. You may want to try a Szechuan, Shanghainese or Northern style place instead. If you still want Cantonese, Ocean Star is pretty good, but I prefer NBC.
Well, Ocean Star is by far my favorite Chinese restaurant in regards to Dim sum. For dinner they also have an extensive menu that is executed quite well. I'm sure you'll be able to fiond just about anything you can imagine there to satisfy your appetite. On the other hand, if you don't mind bare bones atmosphere and want to try a number of dishes which are dirt cheap in price but amazing in taste nonetheless, I'd definitely recommend Luk Yue. The place may not look like much, but that is by far one of my favorite restaurants for hot pot dishes, BBQ dishes such as pork and duck and of course offal dishes. And their noodles with dumpling soups are quite good as well. But those offal dishes like this stew of sorts with several different kinds such as liver and lungs and that BBQ crackly skin pig will forever hold a dear place in my heart. MMM...
Not that you asked, but ... I'd put a cooler with ice in the trunk, start early, stop off at Ramos House Café (Los Rios Historic District) 949-443-1342 (Unique American) - 31752 Los Rios Street, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 - Breakfast & Lunch - Patio Dining - and order one of their remarkable Bloody Mary's and quite fun breakfasts, then sneak in a stop at Chino's farms (cooler with ice, yes? - believe it's 11 to 4 on Sunday, but suggest you call to confirm), and spend part of the trip to Monterey Park at least debating NBC Seafood, the other planning what dishes those remarkable baby vegetables in the trunk will go into in the days to come. Btw, I hear from reliable sources the museum at Chino airport is quite remarkable too. Well there you have some ... food for thought (ahem)!