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Prince and Princess Make Way For Royal Garden in Cerritos

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When Princess Garden opened up in Cerritos almost 20 years ago, it was truly unique. Yes, ABC Seafood in Chinatown still reigned as the best Chinese restaurant in the region and the newly opened Ocean Star Seafood in Monterey Park was packing them in day and night. But Princess Garden, with its high ceilinged main dining room and live cellist to entertain the guests dining on white tablecloths and high backed chairs seemed to thrive despite menu prices unheard of compared to the San Gabriel Valley. After five years, Princess Garden became Prince Seafood in what may have merely become a name change, and became the go to Asian wedding banquet venue in the area, despite a major fire about 5 years ago which upset many a wedding cart with the delayed reopening. However at my last visit there right after the post-fire reopening, something was wrong. I'm not sure if Prince went badly downhill or it was just that they were staying the same while everything else was improving, but the food seemed very average.

Now suddenly and without warning (such as to people holding their wedding events there), Prince Seafood has now become Royal Garden Seafood, and unfortunately the direction still appears to be going south, just like the name of the street where the restaurant resides. This is somewhat surprising since Royal Garden has branches in Hong Kong and London. The dining room still has its high ceiling and fancy chairs but the cellist is long gone, and the food is unremarkable. For dim sum today I had the beef rice noodle roll (which had a strange sweet taste), the shrimp and vegetable dumpling (pretty good), the curry chicken rolls (awful) and the deep fried shrimp dumpling. On the last item I'll give them an "A" for effort in making a deep fried butterfly having a fairly taste large core of shrimp, 3 for $4.99. However the butterfly portion was way over the top in size, and really was nothing more than deep fried won ton skin, so I'll say this dish was decently good. The downstairs dining room was only a quarter to a third full at noontime today so that tells you something. Also an informant attended a wedding banquet here last week and reports the food was awful. Since Royal Garden just took over the spot, perhaps they need some time to warm up. I certainly hope so. Street address 11828 South Street in Cerritos.

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