New Shanghai restaurant opening in Temple City (SGV)
A new Shanghai restaurant, called Golden House, just opened today in Temple City. I didn't eat there, but the prices on the menu start from $4.99 for lunch specials and go up from there. They definitely spent some money on the decor--it's pretty nice. It's located on the south side of Las Tunas just east of Temple City Blvd.
This may be one of the few times I've beaten chandavkl when it comes to a new restaurant. I walked in just as the doors opened. I'll give a better report when I've actually eaten there.
I'd give them a couple more weeks before trying. I went today for dinner because it was close to where I live. Their xiao long baos were decent, with a thick skin, juicy broth, and fall-apart meat. Unfortunately, the waitress brought it out with a dipping dish of salt and pepper. Like the salt and pepper you get in the tempura-fried fish. I asked for vinegar and she looked shock at the request, but brought out a small bottle of vinegar. No slivers of ginger anywhere to be found.
The rest of the dishes I had (stir fried rice cakes, a scallion oil taro dish, and tofu and wild weed appetizer) weren't anything to write home about.
The decor is certainly fancy and there are two semi-private rooms each with a table for 12 off to the side. May be nice for a private party.
This probably fills the local void for Shanghainese food after Shanghai Bamboo had to vacate to make way for the bank and move to Monrovia. For some reason I usually don't traverse Las Tunas past Temple City Blvd., so this is a great catch.
Las Tunas Restaurant
3603 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90020
I must confess: I actually ate there on the same day. The XLB were decent, but not great. My wife wanted the water boiled fish, and it was the spiciest water-boiled fish I've ever had in a non-Sichuan place. It was pretty good. The sesame bread was similar in taste to those you might find in some Muslim restaurants but much smaller. Overall, the food was decent. It was not terribly sweet like some other Shanghai restaurant.
The decor was a non-Chinese but very nice. One wall has a large painting that I do not understand. I think it might be post-Picasso.
The menu has average translations--a bit too generic to be helpful. I had to look at the Chinese characters to figure out some of the items. Lunch specials start from $4.99, so it's relatively inexpensive. They have some Sichuan and Taiwanese items. The guy I talked with (presumably the owner) said assured me that 80% of the menu consists of Shanghai dishes.
Service is spotty, which is pretty normal for a new place opening up. Some of the staff spoke very little English. Others spoke pretty decent English.
Up the street, there's another Shanghai restaurant called "Shanghai Kitchen", but my sources did not like that place in the least.
Here's an update, albeit a very sad one.
Our most recent experience at A Golden House was one of the worst meals I've had probably in 2010.
Tea ... it could've passed for warm pasta water, anyone that could taste tea in that pot we got must be one of those super-tasters.
Braised tofu ... a plate of cold tofu cubes dressed with soy sauce and some black bean paste and in no way was it "braised" because the tofu was still cold.
Beef with bean curd ... sorry, but you need to do more with the beef than just cook it in big chunks -- like maybe slice it in uniform length and size? and the bean curd? tasted and looked like bricks.
Braised beef tendons ... this was the last dish served and by this time we were fed up and simply rejected the dish
This got the ire of the manager who came over and asked us what the problem was ... we said the entire meal (tea incl.) was total sh!t. flabbergasted he was in complete disbelief until we said, "here go ahead and try some of your 'braised' tofu and your beef and then try washing it down with the 'tea'" ... well, lo and behold he saw the light ... and (get this!) comped our meal.
I would be wary of going back, even for free food ... because even if the food is free, your time probably isn't.
With Shanghai Kitchen just down the street, Kang Kang / Shau Mei next door, and old standbys like Seafood Village, Green Island, and Bull Demon Cafe, unless they get their act together I think their days are as short as my mom's fuse was when served this "meal".