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Aug 17, 2009 12:39 PM

SGV Chinese Seafood for beginners, experts please advise

I am taking my parents ( cautious, no spicy) and nephew ( 3 years Mandarin student, and somewhat adventurous eater) to an early dinner Wed in SGV area. Price wise, we don't need any $45- shark fin, but will pop for fresh lobster, whole fish, or whatever. We can all agree on seafood, so I am thinking Newport Seafood in San Gabriel. Based on looking through recent posts here.
Any suggestions on what to order, thinking lobster special , steamed fish, stir fried fresh vegies??
Also any suggestions if Newport Seafood doesnt seem like the best bet? Thought about Lunasia, or Mission 261,
Thanks for all advice!!

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  1. AFAIK, Mission 261 is still closed for "renovation." They're owned by an Asian real estate investment company that wanted to expand the property into a small hotel. The city had been blocking the process. Unless someone has more recent news, I believe the restaurant is not operating.

    1. Seafood Village in Temple City. Get the house crab, the house special fish... well, anything in a picture up on the walls is a good bet, and you can just point. It is Chaozhou-style (Chiu Chow) so there should be no spiciness.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        Thank you Das U, This looks good!
        I lived in Pasadena for 6 years, and I didn't know exactly where Temple City was til I just now googled it !

        1. re: ciaolette

          Yeah, ditto Das 'Geek's suggestion for Seafood Village.

          Newport Seafood is fine, but it isn't exactly Chinese per se, it's more Vietnamese-Cantonese -- not that there's anything wrong with that.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            Seafood Village is a great recommendation. The food is excellent, and the menu is is fairly well-translated into English. There are plenty of pictures of menu items on the wall.

            Newport Seafood's decor is really nice, but as ipsedixit mentioned, it has a very strong Vietnamese influence in terms of flavors.

      2. Newport Seafood is fine, but you will pay market rate for lobster, whereas a lot of other places will have lobster specials (e.g., free with $50 of other dishes, $3.00 if you order two other dishes). You might want to try one of the larger restaurants for the ambience, such as NBC, Ocean Star or New Capital. Bottom line is that you really can't go wrong with any of the places mentioned on this board.

        1. No specific restaurant suggestions. May also add Elite to your list. Lobster for sure. Get the most expensive steamed fish they have. Boiled shrimp by the pound. And get an exortic crab (Australian stone crab comes to mind). Ask them what's in season for veggie and have that stir fried. Be mindful that the best seafood will be seasonal prices. Be sure you get to take a look at the fish/crab/lobster/shrimp when they are still alive. It's customery to bring that to the table before they are cooked, much like a wine service. Make sure the waiter does that. Have a discussion with the captain about what's the best method for preparing each dish. Do not, do not, do not get anything deep fried.

          Again, make sure they bring the live fish/lobster/crab/shrimp to your table before cooking.

          4 Replies
          1. re: PeterL

            Special deals notwithstanding, live seafood typically gets very expensive. Right now, market price on live lobster is pretty cheap - 99 Ranch market was selling it for $5.99 a pound (vs. your more typical $9.99) over the weekend, so restaurants are probably not too far off this target.

            Live fish, spot prawns, etc - ask first before splurging.

            1. re: PeterL

              Is Elite the Koi Palace of SGV, or the Asian Pearl, in your opinion?

              1. re: K K

                They are similar--expensive and a cut above average. The Koi Palace puts a greater emphasis on ambience whereas Elite probably has better dim sum. Of course, that is just an opinion.

              2. A lot of people have zeroed in on your mention of seafood, but as I read your post it seems like the seafood was more of a suggestion. The "requirement" of your post appears to be "non-threatening to the unadventurous while still appealing to the curious." By that criteria I'd say Din Tai Fung for xiao long bao, shao mai, chicken soup (or beef noodle soup), and garlic fried green beans would fit the bill nicely. (Yes, there's two of them... right next to each other). The whole spread will cost less than $50 out the door as most of the dishes are in the $5-8 range. The food they serve is a Taiwanese take on Shanghainese food, though some would say that it is a "Tung Lai Shun take" on Shanghainese food, because their representations of these dishes are not typically Taiwanese... sort of their own unique thing. Decor is find, up to western standards (no chipped formica tabletops and the owner's baby strollers lying around... Qingdao Bread Food, I'm looking at you!

                When you've finished eating your minimally intimidating (albeit delicious) meal, walk into the adjacent parking lot with the supermarket and look for the Taiwanese sausage specialist Sinbala.... show your parents the menu and watch their eyes bug out with the idea of a sausage and peanut butter plate. (Or sausage and chocolate, sausage and jam....) For more bug-eyed lao wai parent experiences, wander through the aisles of the Arcadia supermarket.

                Mr Taster

                Din Tai Fung Restaurant
                1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

                651 W Duarte Rd Ste F, Arcadia, CA 91007