Ocean Pearl - rising from the ashes (right next door to the Phoenix Casino)
For a little while, Citrus Heights had a good Chinese restaurant. Culinary Wonderland Inc. (now the Asian Pearl Group) opened Asian Pearl, a traditional Cantonese and dim sum place in a seedy strip mall next to a downmarket casino. There was apparently a shakeup at CWI, the restaurant closed, and the choices in this part of town went back to steam table chow mein and sweet & sour pork.
On Friday, the restaurant re-opened as "Ocean Pearl." I stopped in for lunch today, and my first impression is that it's on a par with Asian Pearl. Maybe even better. They've installed tanks for live seafood, and today there were a couple of geoducks, lots of lobsters, some crabs, and a few fin fish.
The new owner is very friendly. He came over to my table and we chatted for a while. Apparently he just took over the space, and doesn't have any affiliation with CWI.
The menu is relatively short, but looks good. Prices are fair. No dim sum, though (sniff). I've attached copies of the take-out menu and the banquet menu (which is not available in English - any translation help would be welcome). Next time I'm in I'll snap a photo of the specials board (again, no English).
As far as the food goes, I've been on a beef chow fun quest lately, so decided to start with that. It's the best I've had in town, no contest. Dry-fried and very wok fragrant with a fair amount of char on the noodles. Nice balance of beef, noodles, and bean sprouts, with a few scallions tossed in for good measure. A bit oily, but not excessively so. Definitely a good start. Once again, for those of us in Carmichael / Fair Oaks / Citrus Heights, there's a viable option for Chinese food.
5948 Auburn Blvd Suite A, Citrus Heights, CA 95621
Well, after half a dozen visits, I'm disappointed. This place is better than the typical American-Chinese joints that populate the strip malls around here, but the food just isn't that good. Mediocre roast duck, bland congee, and cashew chicken that was just plain vile.
OTOH, they have a lighter hand with General Tso's chicken than most other places nearby. And the chow fun is still pretty good. Hopefully somebody will find dishes that make this place more than just the best of a bad lot.