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Red Chamber--SGV's First Herbal Sichuan Cafe?

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Following an oblique tweet by ClarissaW, I found my way to Red Chamber in Arcadia at the site of the former Park Avenue Restaurant. Park Avenue was best known for the excessive period of time it took to prepare the premises, plus their unique hipster wait staff. Sadly they have been replaced by an all Chinese staff of servers. Now my description of Red Chamber is herbal Sichuan cafe food, but who knows what it really is. It's cafe because they retained the Park Avenue layout and serve items like filet mignon, udon, and spam with instant noodles. It's Sichuan because the entire signature dish section of the menu appears Sichuanese. And it's herbal for dishes like Lady Nourishment Double Boiled Soup, and its counterpart Male Nourishment Double Boiled Soup, each of which will set you back 19 bucks. Also Red Chamber has the first cordyceps dish I recall seeing on a Chinese restaurant menu, as well as a number of gingko dishes. They also have something called fish marrow soup, but methinks they're referring to fish maw, but who knows? I had the fish in corn sauce and the bean curd sheets with gingko over Chinese vegetables. Both were quite good. Zero Yelp reviews, not surprising since the place was nearly empty during lunch hour. Red Chamber is at 855 S. Baldwin Ave., and is the seventh Chinese restaurant at that spot in the past dozen years (nowhere near a record).

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  1. Park avenue's food actually wasn't bad, it was their prices and the incompetence of their wait staff and management that was unbearable.

    Will try this weekend.

    8 Replies
    1. re: blimpbinge

      I actually ended up going for dinner tonight. It's a cantonese style seafood restaurant (big emphasis on seafood), but served has cafe style elements as well.

      Workers and owner/manager lady were all cantonese speaking when I went

      Ordered:
      -Male Nourishment Double Boiled Soup - Was a chicken feet, pork(?), and ox tail based herbal soup.

      -Prawn Stir Fry with Egg - Chose a somewhat generic (but tasty) tester dish, it was quite good and the prawns were abnormally large compared to other places.

      -Golden Shrimp Fried Rice (yea i like shrimp) - I was deciding between this and the drive scallop and egg white. I was about to get the egg white one when the waitress said it doesn't have much flavor. So i ordered my 2nd item of the night with prawn. I now realized she meant it isn't as flavorful as the prawn one, but still has flavor. Flavor was there, but I did not know that there was salty egg yolk in the dish, it made the rice kind of "chalky".

      -Squab - was about average for cantonese style seafood restaurants, not better or worse. I actually prefer the one from Dips Grill.. not kidding!

      -HK Style Iced Milk Tea, HK Style Iced Milk Tea & Coffee - both below avg, doubt they use different types of tea for this.

      -Complimentary Red Bean Tapioca Dessert - avg, but low on sugar.

      Overall I think all the food was avg and prices are higher than the lower key seafood places like seafood village. Their appetizers were all $4.95, and many of their dishes are still $13.95. However, it appears to have lowered a bit from the pricing Park Avenue was at, because they have more $9.95-priced entrees now.

      I may return try their higher end seafood, but there's nothing abnormally good to make me go back right away.

       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      1. re: blimpbinge

        I was hoping you would try the "fish marrow soup" ...

        1. re: ipsedixit

          sry I only went with 1 other person, and one of those soups would have filled us both up. They said the male and female nourishment soups were smaller in size.

          Will try more seafood when I go again.

          1. re: blimpbinge

            I was only joking ... "fish marrow" WTF is that??

            1. re: ipsedixit

              must be quite difficult to get haha

              yea but I was with my brother and he's quite picky about eating, so I wasn't able to order the more serious seafood dishes and ended up ordering sort of generic stuff. I'll go again when my guangzhou friend is free.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Yes, when you enter, after the cashier/counter, to the right, there is a wall of fish tanks similar to what you'd see at other seafood places, but I was sitting too far (and it's still kinda dark in there) to see what was inside.

                  They were really pushing the squab and the lobster btw. They had some kind of deal on it so I got the squab.

                  1. re: blimpbinge

                    so..cliffnotes version is Seafood Village > Red Chamber?