Wang's Monrovia - Open Again
The new location, 120 E. Lemon...just off of Myrtle Ave...is smaller than the previous location. It is a former real estate office. Mr. Wang says he is looking to expand into the space next door, the former Scoop's Ice Cream Parlor, after digesting the new space which took 7 months to build out.
He showed us the kitchen which has several wok burners that, without the wok in place, shoots flames 4 feet high.
The dining room is incredible with some very good mood lighting throughout.
The food. We hade the shrimp soup with rice cakes. I thought it was very good, especially the nutty flavored rice bits. My wife thought it was good but didn't care for the rice cake parts.
Appetizer was egg roll, foil wrapped baked chicken, and a BBQ rib. Egg roll and chicken were good, the rib was huge and some parts were delicious with a sweet sauce while others were very bland. Not a consistent flavor on it. The meat fell off of the bone with very little effort.
Entres were Kung Pao Chicken and Beef with Snowpeas. The chicken was an almost tasteless dish, the only flavor being an overwhelming peanut presence. The beef was much better with a nice savory sauce and the bright green, crispy peas.
Overall, the food seemed about the same as the old Wang's. The decor is much better with a modern Asian touch...check out the custom aquarium built into the bar. Service was good and as attentive as ever, but the food a bit slow coming out of the kitchen, I'll chalk it up to opening jitters for now. The dining room to me seems more comfortable than the old one, definitely more cozy due to the size.
I have been there twice this week and will return next week. I really missed the flavors of this place for the last 8 months while they relocated. I had veggie Lomeim with fresh tomato added and veggie fried rice. I was very pleased with each. My family had the old time favs of chicken fried rice and ordering off menu -- Beef tomato Lomeim. They also had that Lemon chicken. The Lemon chicken is what Orange chicken should be like but no place does as good as Wang's.I agree that the service was very good. I noticed how good the service was on my first return visit during the lunch hour rush when every table was packed. My server was very nice and very helpful. It is great to have Wang's back and seeing that great picture of the owners as you enter the front door is like returning home to faces who promise comfort food.
"The dining room is incredible." Yes, I noticed that also. It is very special but I have only one small thing to add. You don’t have to be a master of fēng shuǐ aesthetics to know that those bathroom doors opening right into the dining room are in bad taste. Fēng shuǐ translates to "wind and water" but this is ridiculous. Fortune cookie say, “New hanging Tapestry or shoji screen coming to Wang’s in near future.”
Enjoyment of good food requires total freedom from distractions and interruptions. Here is an example that if you do not follow proper fēng shuǐ when designing your rooms your money will walk away -- bad luck. I was sitting at that cool little bar when I noticed a door open. When I looked I noticed a women walk out of the bathroom and I could see the inside walls of the room. When our eyes met she quickly looked down to the floor and I looked down at the bar. Even thought the food has a good taste it is the poor taste in room design that will stay in her mouth and her mind and she may not return because of it . I am sure this will be fixed soon. I suspect it has something to do with the kitchen door being just to the left and if a room divider were placed in front of the bathroom doors to add some privacy it would divert bathroom traffic in the direction of the kitchen door – not safe. One solution may be to block the kitchen area with a divider and hang strands of fēng shuǐ Tibetan Dzi beads with other good luck charms from the ceiling in front of the bathroom doors and have people walk through the beads. The look, feel and sound of the beads will enhance the dining room, bring good luck and allow full attention to be directed toward Wang's good food. Good luck and good food -- What more could you want?
Wang's has been one of my regular weekend take-out standbys. I couldn't wait for them to reopen that I'd drive by every so often and even ask the folks working when it would open. The week it opened, I ordered my takeout and things were the same as before. Depending on how you feel about Wang's, this could be good or bad. For me, it was good. I never considered Wang's as an exquisite gourmet Chinese restaurant so the food from the new location met my expectations. Noting fabulous but good old takeout Chinese food. Sort of like comfort food for me. I'm glad they're back in business.
Having an office in Monterey Park for 20 years, I've experienced the gamut of Chinese restaurants, and I still prefer Wang's, just because it is comfort food for this gringo. Won ton or hot and sour soup (with chili paste on the side), pot stickers, "bbq" ribs with hot mustard, shrimp lo mein, orange peel chicken (done the right way, without breading), shrimp with snow peas, beef with asparagus (off menu item), yang chow fried rice (with shrimp, chicken, pork and baby scallops), shrimp egg foo young, Szchewan green beans; egg plant sticks stir fried with garlic that are like eating molten manna. It's all good.
The service has always been very friendly and accommodating, as has both generations of Wangs and while we have not seen them very active in the restaurant the past few years, it was always been comforting seeing that huge portrait of the senior Wang's on the wall, keeping an eye on things.
We have not been to the new incarnation yet, but we liked the layout of the old location, booths in the front room, tables and chairs in the backroom (where my colleagues from work used to appreciate being invited to dine at one of the lazy susan tables). The rest room in the old location was situated at the end of the short hallway, just past the private room and was always impeccably clean. Besides the current issue with the rest room in the new location, how is the rest of the table and booth layout? The booths in the front room of the old location were comfortable, but only if you were not, let us say, "physically challenged", so the tables in the backroom handled the "spill over" well for us.
The new room is smaller than the old. During constructions, we popped in several times to watch the progress. Mr. Wang told us the plan was to eventually spread out into the old Scoop's space and the current dining room would become the cocktail lounge. There is room for about 50 diners in the room now with 4 booths, 3 semi booths, and 3 or 4 tables. We dine with a wheelchair person much of the time and there is only the full booths that would not work for that.
It's a more modern design than the old Wang's.
II really love reading your post about Wang's. Your respect for this place is shown by your list of what to order and you seem to add items every time you make a list.
I lked the old location also with the two major rooms and the private room for small groups. The new location is just one big room with many tables for two in the center which can quickly be put together to create a long table for a large group. The chairs for these tables are very pleasing to the eye and made to last for many years. There are a couple of very deep and comfortable booths set-up for six but they may be able to seat eight. There are several more tables near the front window and a number of booth/tables along the east wall.The cool ambiance of the room comes from several textures including brick, glass, stained woods and wall paper. The light fixtures on the ceiling are awsume.The thick glass shelves behind the bar appear to be floating on air with soft blue and green lighting coming from them which sets the mood. After having one of those strong drinks while sitting at the bar I felt as if I was floating myself. The city parking lot is right next to this new location on Lemon one half block east of Myrtle and there is also parking at the curb in front. Accross the street from Wang's is the south side-exit of the Krikorian Cinema. So park next to Wang's, go to the movies and stop at Wang's for that long list of great menu, and off menu items, on your way back to your car. I have a feeling we are all going to be eating together soon..
Jeet, you are not the first person who has commented on the decor of the new location. I was very happy with the decor in the former location, as I remember what it was like before they had the "make over" of that location, years ago. So I am a bit intrigued about what the new location may feel like.
My mobility is currently non-existent, so if anyone wouldn't mind maybe snapping a few photos of the new Wang's interior and posting them here, it would be appreciated. (I'll have to console myself with the Mrs. picking up take-out from Wang's and then shlepping it out here to the old homestead in Chino.)