Restaurant: A-1 Chinese BBQ
Location: 2014 Pacific Coast Hwy. Lomita, CA 90717. (310) 325-6709
Date: May 19, 2012
Rating: Great Duck
I recently joined a meetup.com foodie group and I noticed in the feed that people were talking about this place for great Peking Duck. I’ve long been a fan of the crispy foul, to the tune of eating it three nights in a row in Beijing, and it is scare represented on the Westside, so I thought a pilgrimage was in order.
If you decide to go you must call ahead to reserve/prep a duck. It takes too long for them to do to order.
This establishment is not about looks. It makes Din Tai Fung look like Cesar’s Palace.
Although, I do have to say the inside is one step up form Totoraku, and that is a high end joint!
Another great thing is: no liquor license, which means no corkage. Bring your own cork screw. This is a reliable (although not awesome) negotiant 1re cru. We had to drink it out of plastic “pizza hut style” glasses, so that didn’t help either.
NOTE: big menu, so keep scrolling for the food!
The menu is grungy and enormous.
We started with these “prawns with spicy salt, headless.” This is generally called “salt and pepper shrimp” and this particular version was one of the best I’ve had. I particularly appreciated the lack of head.
Then out rolled our feathered friend. He was carved back in the kitchen.
And served with the usual Hoisin sauce and the often seen in China but not as often here doughy buns instead of pancakes.
You put some sauce, some scallions, and some duck on the bun and enjoy. This was definitely some of the best duck I’ve had in California. The skin was perfectly crispy, and there was some, but not too much fat.
After this we switched it up to this awesome Rosso. “The 2009 Rosso di Montalcino is totally beautiful and elegant in its expressive bouquet, silky fruit and understated, harmonious personality. This is a wonderful, impeccable Rosso from Le Potazzine. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2017.”
This is “Chow Ma Mein” (I think). A spicy soup with noodles, shrimp, beef, chicken and various vegetables. It was good.
“Orange peel chicken.” Fairly typical of the type, but not bad.
“Dry braised string beans.” I like this dish when I usually have it, but this wasn’t the greatest version. It was too oily and lacking in garlicky punch.
“Sweet and sour pork.” The pork was a little tough, but flavorful. The sauce a bit goopy. Just so-so.
The check was awesome. $20 a person all in with tip.
Overall, the duck was fantastic, the shrimp and soup were very good, and the other dishes a bit mediocre. It was a very nice meal, and with a little more trial and error ordering probably could be totally first rate. I’m curious if any of you readers know any other places with great Peking Duck in LA. I’d love to find one that was 40 minutes from my house!
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