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Spicy Surf n Turf Newport Tan Cang San Gabriel

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sassille Feb 13, 2009 12:32 PM

Read up on this and decided to take a dining group here last night. Here’s a great restaurant for taking guests. Their private rooms are quieter, spacious, divided by dark Chinese carved lattice mahogony. The very classy table was graced by etched glass lazy susan. This is a white-tablecloth- linen -napkin kind’a place and we were more than comfortable with really good service. How good? They changed our plates at least 4 times. It’s hard to believe this is in the old Marie Calendar’s building. For those of you who wish to return and duplicate our menu, here it is -or of what I can remember. I selected it with the help of Phillip, the manager who speaks very good English. We started with braided crab and fish maw soup. This was a very thick, mild flavored soup. I would have preferred something much spicier. It’s the only item I would not go back for. The house lobster ($15.99 @ lb.) was in a delicious spicy sauce. We wanted larger, but we got a 5 ½ pounder and could have eaten more. But we ordered 9 dishes. So much more to come. We used our fingers, and slurped on the delicious shell after the lobster meat was devoured. I would also suggest this dish with crab instead. It’s easier to break open a crabshell. Beef cubes French style was a tasty balance to our menu, since we had so much fish. The filet was tender, in a dark savory sauce served over sliced onions. There was a nice balance going on. The large fried black trout has a most impressive presentation. Big hit - all kept going back for more, searching each nook and cranny for more meat and lucious scallion sauce. Clams in basil sauce were excellent. The clams were on the large side and the basil was added at the last minute so they were fragrant and fresh tasting. We wanted to add a chicken dish and on recommendation we ordered Kung Pao. It was fine Kung Pao, but I think that next time will replace it with something more adventurous. The house vegetable dish was a very mild, Cantonese style of mixed vegetables. Too bland for my taste. We needed to amp up the flavor. The Pork Chop was a dish of crispy fried strips of pork that looked tough but was tender and not in a sauce - kids would love this dish. This was, in fact, a finger-food kind of meal, and more than once I accidentally allowed my fingers to linger on my lips for an extra taste of great sauces. The tab was $260 incl tax, tip, 2 beers & $10 corckage (party of 10). On my foodie-driving scale of 0 –10 miles I give this a 20. Because its 20 miles from my house and I would go back again if you invite me.

 
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  1. Servorg Feb 13, 2009 12:35 PM

    Wonderful review, sassille. You left me drooling into my beard. They didn't have any larger lobsters last night? Unusual. What was the final damage to your credit card?

    -----
    Newport Seafood House
    835 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg
      Servorg Feb 13, 2009 04:43 PM

      Sorry for missing your report on the cost at the end of your review. No more skimming at the end from now on.

    2. CookieEater Feb 13, 2009 03:34 PM

      This place wasn't quite what I expected. I really liked the lobster, it was excellent. But I found the other dishes to be either bland (like you mentioned above) or too salty. I mean I still ate it... sometimes salty tastes good. But I didn't expect things like the beef or pork chops to be SO salty. I needed to drown things in rice. The beef had great flavor and was really tender, but dialed down a few tablespoons on the salt and it would have been perfect.
      A lot of the sauces and soups were heavily thickened with something, couldn't figure out which type of starch. Not a good combination with the saltiness, as it tended to coat and stick to your tongue.
      Then again, so many people seem to like this place. Maybe I missed something good.

      4 Replies
      1. re: CookieEater
        Foodandwine Feb 14, 2009 06:19 AM

        I had enjoyed the meal very much.. "The large fried black trout has a most impressive presentation. Big hit - all kept going back for more, searching each nook and cranny for more meat and lucious scallion sauce" This was my personal favorite of the evening. Heck, I was eating the fried skin at the end.. Ever have Fried Fish Skin over Rice? Well I did and loved it.. Thanks again..

        1. re: Foodandwine
          CookieEater Feb 18, 2009 04:29 PM

          A couple days later I went to Elite in Monterey Park for Chinese seafood and it was probably pricier but it confirmed what I felt about Newport. I liked my meal at Elite so much better. They did a similar lobster preparation and although it was different because it wasn't spicy, it also wasn't salty like Newport's.
          I also had a similar fish maw soup but Elite's version was more flavorful.

          1. re: CookieEater
            raytamsgv Feb 19, 2009 12:36 PM

            I have always enjoyed dinner at Newport Tan Cang, but I like Elite better. I like Cantonese food the best, and Elite has much a stronger Cantonese/Hong Kong influence than Newport. It's difficult to compare them because they serve different types of food.

            1. re: raytamsgv
              ipsedixit Feb 19, 2009 02:24 PM

              Aside from the difference in cuisines, Elite is also a bit more expensive and tends to be more refined in their cooking.

              Not saying one is necessarily better than the other, just that the two sort of aim for different demographics.

              In-N-Out makes a good burger, and so does Father's Office. Is one better than the other? That question really misses the point in my opinion.

      2. e
        eggmonster Feb 18, 2009 04:36 PM

        love this place! lobster is well seasoned. the beef cubes are cooked medium rare.

        nice review.

        another good reason to head out to SGV next to din tai fung, elite and triumphal

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