SGV update: Jackpot, Muse re-born
Trying to keep up for a change. Signage up on San Gabriel Blvd., just past the railroad tracks, for Jackpot Restaurant, "coming soon!" Surprise!, it's a hot pot place. This will be replacing Crazy Crab. Prior to that it was the oyster bar (My Friends?).
Muse Tea House, located in Hilton Plaza in the space that was formerly Hao's Kitchen, Strawberry Cones, etc. has been re-modeled and re-born as Muse Kitchen. Woman who operates it came out and chatted with me while I gave a look to the menu. She said she (or her family) also own and run Sugar & Spice and have for the last five years. Odd, I thought Sugar & Spice recently changed hands?
yup, signage is finally up. I just can't help but feel they opened months too late, and will barely get the end of the cool season.
The management of that location does not seem to know what they are doing. They've opened numerous restaurants there and it just never does well. That, and the type of people they attract always seem to cause trouble.. on the other hand, indian restaurant just 1 block away does significantly better. This knee-jerk reaction to jump on the hot pot craze just seems like another bad decision in a string of bad decisons.
As far as muse, my first (and last) visit there told me it was just another tea house.. shooting for a "classy" high-tea feel.. but ended up being small (small=/=cozy), noisy and expensive. I doubt that including food will change anything.
thanks for the updates!
Have not tried myself but a friend tried it and said the soup base was bland, but the actual pot was packed with ingredients. Will try this weekend?
I hope its not the same management as the previous places, because that spot seems to just not do very well. (ever since vinos, my friends, crazy crab, etc)
Ok ended up trying it today.
I actually ended up getting the laksa hot pot, and while it doesn't taste like laksa, it wasn't bad. However, it was closer to the curry they cook the "curry fishballs" in hk with. That, sprinkled with some other chinese peppers. Anyways, it is nothing like laksa, and nothing close to singaporean. So just go with that mindset and it should be ok.
Tried their "indian pancake", which appeared to be roti, it wasn't bad, but not particularly good. It doesn't come with it's own curry sauce like malaysian spots.
Also tried their chef special beef fried rice, similar taste and execution to green islands beef rib eye fried rice, except they use the hot pot meat.
The owners are local cantonese, are not related to the previous owners (which is great), and have prior experience opening long standing restaurants in the area. The chefs in the back speak mandarin. I asked the owner if it is hk style of tw style (even tho hk doesn't really have this stuff), and he said taiwan style. I wanted to ask him directly if the chefs were from taiwan but decided not to be so straightforward.
They lacked sauces, and when I asked, the owner said they only set 3 types of sauces on the table, and you'd need to request other sauces that they have in the kitchen (did not specify).
The drinks actually weren't bad. The honey green tea is better than the trash they give out at most restaurants/tea houses, with enough sweetness and no bitterness or aftertaste. Same for the honey milk green tea.
At the end of the meal, the owner asked us if there was anything he could improve on. So they seemed considerate enough.
However, it was kind of pricy for dinner. Ordered 1 hot pot, 1 beef fried rice, 2 drinks, 1 roti, and the total was $35 before tax. Mostly because drinks aren't included with dinner, otherwise it would have been a sub $30 bill.
I'll go again to try their stinky tofu or lobster one next time, but if you're someone that is used to boiling point, it may not be enough to stray you.