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Jun 27, 2010 05:14 PM

Need an OUTSTANDING non-Cantonese restaurant!

Party of 11 people for a birthday dinner in San Gabriel Valley somewhere. Birthday person is SUPER PICKY, so I'm hoping to find a really excellent restaurant that isn't Cantonese just because we mainly go to Cantonese restaurants and would like to have some other type of Chinese cuisine. Since it's a birthday dinner we'd prefer not to go somewhere divey, but not necessarily fancy-expensive either.

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  1. Chang's Garden on Baldwin in Arcadia. Reserve the private room. Order "The Last Chinese Chef" by Nicole Mones and have Henry sign his recipes as a b-day gift.

    Yu's Garden also great. We don't order, we just have them cook for us, but it's divey and with the lines, it's hard to camp.

    Chang's Garden
    627 W Duarte Rd, Arcadia, CA 91007

    3 Replies
    1. re: revets2

      I don't find it that divey (re: Shanghai Yu Yuan) - I think it's fairly nice inside, if only because it's fairly new.

      You could also consider Hunan Chili King on Valley.

      1. re: will47

        Your right. By Chinese standards, it's quite nice. To others less accustomed to the SGV, less so.

        Another fantastic meal there on Saturday. We call Raymond and have him order for us. In the last half dozen trips, our dishes have been 95% different. Half our group of 8-10 come from OC, some as far as Dana Point. It says something they drive and return again and again.

        Will try Hunan Chili King. Thanks!

      2. re: revets2

        I had no idea -- despite many meals at Chang's and having read the book -- that the two are related! Thanks.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            Agreed. To make it extra-special, order other duck-related dishes. Not just the roast duck with the crispy skin and pancakes, but ask for the remaining meat to be stir-fried with bean sprouts, ask for the bones to be made into soup, ask for the webs to be steamed and chilled and served with mustard (jie mo ya zhang, sorry, no Chinese on this keyboard), ask for the liver to be made into sausage (run chang).

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              Unfortunately it says the Duck House closed in January 2009. The site looks like it's only catering now. Dang! Why does every Peking duck place close? Will I ever get Peking duck cooked 3 ways?

              1. re: SeaCook

                That's the San Gabriel location. The location on Atlantic near NBC and Elite is still open; I just went two months ago and elmomonster reviewed it recently too.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  Do you have a street address Ubergeek?

                  1. re: SeaCook

                    Duck House is at 501 S. Atlantic in Monterey Park. For several months workers were readying space at the old Newport Seafood location in San Gabriel for a new branch of Duck House, but the work stopped and the space is for lease again.

                    Newport Seafood Restaurant
                    4411 W 1st St, Santa Ana, CA 92703

                    1. re: Chandavkl


                      Is that the Newport Seafood that's in the same shopping center as Golden Deli? If that's the case awwww. I liked that restaurant. Thanks though for the Duck House address in Monterey Park.

                      1. re: SeaCook

                        That is the old location. Newport Seafood has moved a few blocks east to the old Marie Calendar's on Las Tunas (near the San Gabriel Medical Center).

                        1. re: raytamsgv

                          Thanks for clarifying rayamsgv. I moved a few years ago and things seem to have changed.

                          1. re: raytamsgv

                            And Newport Seafood in its new location, aka former Marie Callendar, is packed every night from 5pm until nearly closing. Insanely busy, I mean to the point that there may be more people waiting in the lobby and parking lot than dining in the restaurant, by a factor of 2.
                            Have someone get there early, grab a number at the host/hostess station, and try to find a parking space whereever you can, then sit back and wait, and wait, and...zzzzz.

            2. Hunan Seafood in Rosemead or Newport Seafood in San Gabriel on Las Tunas, but reserve ahead in either case.

              Hunan Seafood Restaurant
              8772 E Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

              8 Replies
              1. re: carter

                Newport (while terrific in its own right) is Cantonese-Vietnamese ... just in case that makes a difference for the OP.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I know friends who drive there for their food, because it is so different from any Cantonese restaurant they are used to, and that means from area codes not dubbed 626, meaning even 949, 818.310.

                  1. re: carter

                    I accidentally discovered this restaurant while fleeing "Ranch 99" in Monterey Park.

                    Simply called "Shanghai". My mom is Shanghainese, so I'm pretty picky about that region's food.

                    It's not a fancy place, but not a dive either.

                    1. re: Liquid Sky

                      Fleeing 99 Ranch? Why or is the tale to terrible to tell. Is it on Del Mar or Valley?

                      1. re: SeaCook

                        If I can recall correctly, the one on Valley. The only good thing about that outing was discovering "Shanghai".

                    2. re: carter

                      Hey Carter, were you referring to Hunan or Newport in regards to people going there from all over?

                      We can't handle food that's too spicy, does Hunan Seafood have a fair amount of non-spicy dishes?

                      1. re: chowchow12345678

                        There are smokey bacon dishes and mild lamb (or beef) with greens in Hunan cuisine (and both are great at Hunan Seafood, despite its name) that are very good and not spicy at all. But that's really about it. If you don't like heat, Hunan is not really what you should be looking for. Same with Szechuan and Yunaan...spice is the star of the show. Go with Shanghai/Hangzhou or Beijing cuisines for milder flavors.

                        Hunan Seafood Restaurant
                        8772 E Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                          The smoky ham dish at Hunan is sensational, as is the lamb/cilantro dish, as is the A vegetable side dish, none of which are spicy, just fully flavored.
                          You can always address the spicy/heat issue with your server to tone it up or down, depending on preferences. The people I am generally with come up from Irvine, and we like our spice, so have no issue with heat.
                          The clams appetizer dish at newport Seafood is truly wonderful, and has no spice at all, btw.