Elite, Triumphal Palace or similar with fish/veggie eater and pork hater?
I happily eat anything. And any part of that thing.
I'd like to have a couple appetizers, maybe a soup and a couple entrees that all three of us could share. I know that the menus at these restaurants are huge. I'm sure there will be plenty of good fish and vegetable dishes. My question is this: what should we order so that I'll have no regrets about passing on all the delicious pork?
I'm definitely inclined to stick with one of those two places, but we could be convinced to go elsewhere. Chinese is negotiable. The main consideration is proximity to Pasadena.
These places are close to Pasadena, right?
Just a detail: Triumphal Palace is now Lunasia. The space is very calming and pretty. The food is good to very good in spots, but not as good generally as Elite.
If past experience is any experience (I've only been there for dim sum and for a banquet) Elite will do some vegetable dishes, and they will be good, but probably on the bland and slightly boring side. Fried long beans with preserved vegetables would probably be good (under their "Chef's Recommendations" section; make sure they leave out ground meat if they usually use it). There is a "soy shrimp with vegetarian duck" - while the duck is vegetarian, I believe that is real shrimp, despite the English description. Bai Cai (bok choy), maybe pea shoots or kong xin cai (hollow heart; "hollow vegetable" in the English terminology of their menu) if they're in season, probably a tofu dish or two that can be prepared vegetarian(ish). If the person who's fish / veggie is serious about their pescetarianism, I would ask about whether chicken base / chicken MSG or chicken / meat broths are used in anything you order. Since they eat fish, stuff with oyster sauce shouldn't be a problem. If you ask for it to be prepared vegetarian, it will be slanted towards Buddhist vegetarianism, so it will likely be bland (no onions, garlic, green onion, leek, etc.) and really heavy on the savory / slimy components. Maybe the rice noodles with enoki mushroom and minced fish, assuming there's no meat in there (check).
I don't eat fish, so I don't have a lot of suggestions in that area. Fish / seafood stuff I would imagine there's quite a bit of... shark fin soup seems like an obvious, though expensive, choice... I think the abalone would be a very traditional (also expensive) choice also; maybe the steamed bass? Probably someone else will have better suggestions in this area.
There won't be much variation between Lunasia (nee Triumphal Palace) and Elite in terms of menu variety. At either joint, for seafood ask your server what's fresh and opt for steamed fish, lobster, crab and/or prawns. If you want to go a bit exotic, geoduck, abalone, sea cucumber, fish maw (in soup or braised) are always good considerations. For veggies, again ask for what's in season and go from there, i.e., pea shoots, gai lan, etc.
As for alternatives, consider Malbec (in Pasadena) and/or Babita (in San Gabriel), both would suit your criteria.