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Sep 22, 2008 07:04 PM

Tan Cang Newport Seafood vs Seafood Cove - which one should i go to?

I'm planning on hitting one of these places as well while I'm home...which one is better? "must order" dish recs?

btw I'd really like the try the lobster or crab at one of these places as that's what they're known for right?

also im talking about the Tan Cang in the OC not the branches in the SGV

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  1. Go to Dragon Phoenix instead....yes, go for the lobster or crab.

    5 Replies
    1. re: trvlcrzy

      Is Dragon Phoenix back from the dead? Last report I remember said it was way way downhill from 5 to 10 years ago.

      1. re: trvlcrzy

        The horror. At least for Dim Sum.

        1. re: JAB

          so avoid dragon phoenix? ive heard of it, but only for dim sum...i looked at the profile on yelp, gets terrrible reviews for dim sum, but a few of the reviewers who have review dinner are fairly positive

          anyhow back to the original question, which of the 3 is the best? ill be going for lunch on friday, specifically going for lobster or crab and whatever else is good

          1. re: Lau

            Most definitely avoid Dragon Phoenix for dim sum. It's utterly horrific.

            I went to Seafood Cove a few months ago after a years-long hiatus. The food that was once great (hot & sour soup, kung pao anything) had dropped off considerably. Where they were once amazing, it's now just ok.

            1. re: Professor Salt

              This is very true. The place just looks dated and run down now, and the food definitely does not feel as good as it used to be.

              Go to Furiwa instead on Westminster/Brookhurst next to the Rite-Aid across from Target. WAAAAAAAAAAAY better.

      2. I haven't tried tan cang yet but I've tried seafood cove. The problem with seafood cove is that i feel they use msg as my wife and I were super thristy after eating there. It was abit too salty for my taste. But I always patronize the restaurant across the street (Seafood Paradise) which is also known for the lobster and crab.

        1. Tan Cang has the best house special lobster and crab on earth. I'm having a craving just thinking about it. The also have great clam and mussel dishes. The OC location is the original.
          Seafood Cove and Seafood Palace are a bit strange. They have management shifts and the staff travels with the managements across the street and back, again. I've no clue what the current state of the situation is. However in the past, my mom has gotten the Seafood Chow Mein and Kung Pao Chicken from Seafood Cove.
          I'd stay away from Dragon Phoenix, if I were you. Not in the same league as Tan Cang.

          1. Definitely go to Newport Seafood. Their house lobster or crab are both amazing. I also always have to get the live shrimp when I go there. I would not go to Seafood Cove or Dragon Phoenix for crab/lobster. I only go to SC when I'm broke (good lunch specials) and DP when my mom is craving dim sum, but is too lazy to go out of Little Saigon.

            8 Replies
            1. re: sweetestliz

              great thx

              what else are "must order" dishes at newport seafood?

              1. re: Lau

                For all your wonderful information about Fu Wing Low, I'll try to return the favor in kind :)

                Definitely go to Tan Cang/Newport Seafood. It is the best out of the three, unless maybe you are going in a big group who is friends with the owner at the other two places. The house special lobster is great, and they will even put it on top of lo mein noodles if you ask. The noodles are great for sopping up the sauce, or you can just use the white rice.

                Other dishes we always get there is the bo luc lac, diced filet mignon in a garlicky sweet sauce, anything that they can do with geoduck (we prefer the geoduck salad, they also do it stir fried), sauteed pea shoots, and canh chua, Vietnamese style hot/sour soup. If in a large group, we'll usually add kung pao chicken (not amazing, but very edible), tom rang muoi which is the salt/pepper fried shrimp with the heads on them, peking style pork chops (deep fried then that gloppy red sauce), and/or clams w/ thai basil. If you've got kids there too, the house special fried rice, or the pho ap chao would be great. Pho Ap Chao is like beef chow fun, dry.

                Hope you have a great time, and that you don't get stuck in Room #2 the side room with no windows.

                1. re: Lau

                  And also you may find a lot of these "favorites" at a substantial discount under the "family dinners" part of the menu. If you find one that fits your needs, order that and then supplement with lobster and/or geoduck. If you ask nice, you can also get them to substitute your favored preparation instead of what is on the family dinner without added cost.

                  Oh yeah, cash only is their motto, but they do have a credit card machine if you persist or forget.

                  1. re: kingkong5

                    perfect this is very helpful! im very much looking forward to this...i also love bo luc lac, so thats even better (this type of stuff is simply not available in NY)

                    glad you liked Fu Wing Low btw...kenny is a great chef!

                    1. re: kingkong5

                      hey , king kong, do you happen to know if they served, vietnamese sweetened iced coffee (? cafe sua da) at Newport Lobster?

                      1. re: kevin

                        I don't think they do, I've never ordered it there. I'm not sure if it goes particularly well with lobster. I do like the fresh squeezed orange juice when they have it, and of course they have soda and beer.

                        If you're hankering for coffee, there's a bunch of places closeby towards brookhurst along 1st street, so not too far from Newport Seafood.

                        1. re: kingkong5

                          That's what I thought. Never saw it mentioned on the menu.

                          But didn't know about the fresh squeezed orange juice, sounds like it will cut right through the garlic in the sauce for the house special. And also, beers go perfectly with the food. Esp that French beer with the Grolsch-like top which sells at close to retail.

                          Only problem is that they are cash only. And usually a bill there amounts to over $50 per person if not more with tax and tip.

                  2. re: sweetestliz

                    Yes, agree on Newport Seafood, aka Tan Cang (right?).

                    House special lobster is excellent and very expensive. But if you have a group going it won't deant the pocketbook to seriously.

                  3. Wow! What can I say? Last time we went it was with a bunch of people that knew the owner personally. I guess it's different otherwise??? Will compare it again with Newport Seafood and Can Tang.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: trvlcrzy

                      Definitely, Newport Seafood and their lobster dish, which I found to be one of the best dishes in OC, and their fillet mignon.I can not say enough good things about that lobster dish.

                      I'm curious about the difference between Newport Seafood in Santa Ana and the one in SGV, if there's any difference in quality? I remember Jonathan Goldman praising the SGV's lobster dish in one of his columns. Assuming there's no difference and even though Newport Seafood is better than Seafood Cove, you might want to consider going to Cove and eating at Newport Seafood at SGV.

                      1. re: hobbess

                        yeah im eating there for sure on friday for lunch

                        although i believe that the Newport Seafood in santa ana is actually the original and the SGV is a branch

                        1. re: Lau

                          Yes, the Seafood Cove lunch special is totally awesome. If you get a bunch of people, you can order all of the good stuff at ridiculous cheap lunch prices.

                          Probably my favorite thing at Seafood Cove is the house special chicken. I don't know why it's so good, but it is so good. My wife, she likes the canh chua ca Vietnamese style. Actually, on our very first date we went to Seafood Cove back in 1996, and had the house special chicken and canh chua ca, how weird.