Restaurant: Sham Tseng BBQ
Location: 203 West Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA. 626-289-4858
Date: December 17, 2012
Cuisine: Cantonese Chinese
Rating: Awesome goose!
It’s time for the next Hedonist adventure, this time out into the San Gabriel Valley for some really serious Cantonese.
The interior is typical of Inland Empire Chinese restaurants.
We had a private room and (for a Chinese restaurant) excellent service.
The menu. Haha. You can find one in English here.
Parker 90. “This 100% Semillon made from relatively young vines in the Haut-Brion vineyard is crisp, steely, with plenty of grapefruit, lemon zest, and white currants in a medium-bodied, fresh, lively style.” Very youthful for a 15 year-old white, it had plenty of mineralogy and floral components.
These peppers were on the table in case things grew too bland.
The NV Brut Rose is a pretty, gracious wine. Freshly cut roses, red berries and spices take shape nicely in the glass as the wine shows off its understated, timeless personality. Billecart-Salmon’s NV Brut Rose is a reliably tasty wine.
A bonus wine from my cellar, “Incorporating fruit principally from Wehlener Nonnenberg, Graacher Himmelreich, and Bernkasteler Johannisbrunnchen, the generic Prum 2010 Riesling Kabinett displays an archetypal Mosel Riesling nose of fresh apple, lemon, and clover allied to faintly cheesy, leesy youthful “stink”; and comes to the palate bright and zippy, with hints of wet stone, and prominent cyanic piquancy of apple pit invigoratingly extending its mouthwateringly juicy, if tart and relatively simple finish.”
And another lovely Riesling, this one with more age and sweetness. As I’ve said before, Riesling pairs very nicely with Asian food.
Sliced suckling pig. The layer of fat notwithstanding, this was some delectable stuff. It had the plum based duck sauce on the side too which I love.
Another white, in the Sancerre style more or less.
A vegetarian dish combining mixed Chinese vegetables and this kind of spongy stuff I’ve had lots of times but have no idea what it is. It’s one of those textural Asian ingredients that is a bit weird to the American palette.
Crispy roast goose with sweet sauce. This stuff was awesome, like Peking duck, minus the pancakes, but even darker and richer. It went perfectly with the sweet sauce too.
Parker 92, “The 2002 Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard offers wonderful sweet raspberry and cherry fruit with a hint of framboise, a deep plum/ruby/purple color, medium body, and good vibrancy in a medium to full-bodied, feminine style.”
Not bad for a new world pinot, and in the Burgundy style. Of course it’s no Burgundy.
Parker 91-93, “Following the brilliant success of Kistler’s 2007s, Steve Kistler and his sidekick, Mark Bixler, deserve kudos for what they have achieved in the more challenging 2008 vintage. This is the first vintage in which 100% of the fermentations were indigenous, and, fortunately, all their Sonoma Coast vineyards were far enough south that they were not tainted by any of the smoke from the ferocious fires that spread through Mendocino. The 2008s appear to be slightly more fruit-forward, with a touch less minerality than the 2007s.”
Duck tongue in spicy oil. These looked disgusting. The idea is repulsive, but hey, they tasted pretty damn good. Sweet and very fried.
The last of the new world pinots.
Soy sauce crispy quail. Also very good, although there is that high bone to meat ratio that is always the case with small birds.
From my cellar, the first of the “real” pinots. Burghound 95, “A perfumed, complex and mostly still primary nose offers up earthy red berry fruit, underbrush and a touch of animale that can also be found on the generous and quite fleshy flavors that possess excellent volume as well as buckets of dry extract that almost render the firm and ripe tannins invisible on the massively long finish. Wow, this is a stunner of a wine with still plenty of upside potential remaining.”
Shredded potato with dried chili. It is what it is.
This Burg was my favorite wine of the night and, alas, I didn’t bring it. It had mellowed into that wonderful brick colored secondary flavor vibe that older Burgundy gets. Lovely.
Green Mustard greens with garlic in supreme broth.
From my cellar. This puppy was still a bit closed and the fruit was hiding. Nice, but it should have been better.
Deep Fried Crispy Intestine with Fruit Nectar. Okay, this stuff LOOKS nasty. It tasted so fried that you couldn’t really tell what it was. I’m still feeling a little queazy.
Another grand cru. Parker 91-93, “The Bocquenet 2005 Echezeaux – from high up in the Rouges du Bas section, adjoining Les Beaux Monts – exhibits abundant, nose- and palate-filling black fruits, prominent sweet spiciness, formidable though fine tannins, and a long, sweet, smoky, very lightly cooked and caramelized finish that is sumptuous even with the tannins. It will take years for them to round out, but some progress may well be made in tank prior to bottling.”
Goose intestine stir fried with green onions.
Parker 93, “Based on the strength of his 1994s, proprietor Roman Bratasiuk was named one of my “Wine Producers of the Year” in issue #108. His skill in turning old head-pruned vines into majestic wines of extraordinary richness and purity has been confirmed with the release of the 1995s. These wines are massive and rich as well as extraordinarily well-balanced and pure. I have never tasted an Australian Merlot that was more concentrated than Penfold’s Grange, a Shiraz-based wine. Clarendon Hills’ 1995 Merlot (250 cases available for America) is an opaque purple-colored wine with a knock-out nose of raspberry liqueur, chocolate, smoke, and spice. The wine is enormously extracted with a density and texture reminiscent of pre-1976 vintages of Petrus. Sumptuous, and almost over the top in its richness and density, this unctuously thick, full-bodied wine is fabulous to smell, taste, and consume. This is great stuff! As youthful as this Merlot is, I have no doubt it will last for 15 or more years. These are amazing wines.”
Crispy tofu with 3 ingredient. This stuff was pretty good. Very soft and fluffy, like tofu marshmallows.
Parker 90,”The 1999 Altagracia, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon cuvee from estate vineyards, is the debut vintage. The wine is medium to full-bodied, with low acidity, and plump, sweet, pure, black currant fruit intermixed with mineral and licorice notes. This delicious Cabernet is on a faster revolutionary track than its more profound sibling, the celebrated Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.”
Crispy fried frogs. They tasted like fry but had all sorts of little bones inside.
Parker 91, “Smoke, cedar, tobacco and earthiness are among the nuances that come to life in the estate’s 1999 Barbera d’Asti Vigna del Noce. Some of the primary fruit has melted away, resulting in a highly complex, engaging Barbera that is very rewarding to drink now.”
Honey BBQ Ribs with Black pepper. Good stuff. Another of my favorite dishes. A tad chewy, but very tasty (and fried).
Parker 93, “This is unquestionably a profound Grand-Puy-Lacoste, but it is excruciatingly backward. It reveals an essence of creme de cassis character which sets it apart from other Pauillacs. The wine is displaying plenty of tannin, huge body, and sweet black currant fruit intermixed with minerals and subtle oak. Massive, extremely structured, and with 25-30 or more years of longevity, this immensely-styled Grand-Puy-Lacoste will require 7-8 years of patience, perhaps longer. A superb, classic Pauillac.”
Goose webs (feet) in brown sauce. Ick!
Another new world red I don’t know much about.
Crispy fried fish. Good, and again, very fried.
One of those Rhone style new non-AOC French wines. Not unlike their Spanish counterparts, these are big, bold, grapey beasts.
Sweet and sour pork. Also really tasty, because of all that fry. There were little bones and gristle bits in here, so you kind of gnaw pleasantly on them.
A big, bold classic Saint-Joseph. A bit rustic, but full of flavor.
Black cod with Ginger, Green Onion & Dry Bean Stick.
This was way, way too young, but it is a raison/grape monster and actually fairly enjoyable. Imagine mixing Welches Grape Concentrate with a 1/4 the water you should.
Parker 94, “The 2009 Bone Rock is a round, enticing red laced with sweet, succulent dark cherries, plums, flowers and spices. It shows remarkable intensity and fabulous balance. Bone Rock is made from the first blocks planted in the James Berry vineyard and is predominantly Syrah, while the James Berry Vineyard (the wine) is Grenache focused. In 2009 the blend was 57% Syrah, 31% Mourvedre and 12% Grenache. The Syrah component was vinified with 100% stems and saw a maceration lasting 50 days. The wine was aged in 60% new oak. Smith bottled the 2009 in May 2011, earlier than the norm (around 30 months), as he wanted to preserve the freshness he had in the tannins.”
Red cod with soy sauce and green onion. Another fish. I think half of this one was actually our fried fish! Pretty typical Chinese whole fish in this prep.
Mango pudding. These were tasty little mango cups. There was some sweetened condensed milk on the side too one could add on top. A nice finish.
Overall, this was fabulous fun, food, and wine. There were a number of really outstanding dishes (like the goose, roast pig, etc) and everything was well executed — even if a few were a little squirmy for my taste (intestines!). Things were very fried, but that’s this cuisine. I actually like many other regional cuisines in China better than Cantonese. Szechuan for example, but that didn’t stop this from being a wonderful meal.
Umm, that goose was so good!
For more crazy Hedonist and Foodie Club meals.