Restaurant: Shanghai #1 Seafood Village [1, 2, 3]
Location: 250 W Valley Blvd. San Gabriel, CA 91776. (626) 282-1777
Date: April 13, 2013
Rating: Very authentic Shanghai style
The San Gabriel Valley is a veritable treasure trove of Asian dining, particularly regional Chinese. Shanghai #1 Seafood Village is the LA branch of a high end Shanghai chain specializing in banquet dining.
The decor is Stark meets Chinatown. Interestingly, as cheesy as it is, it’s fairly authentic.
As this is a Hedonist/Foodie Club wine diner, we prearranged a banquet and reserved the usual giant table.
The menu is like a giant full color fashion catalog for food, but I thought I’d show a couple pages by way of example.
2011 Domaine Collotte Bourgogne Rosé Marsannay. This is one of my go-to roses, as it’s all Pinot Noir from Burgundy. A wonderful sunny weather wine, it paired very nicely with the sweet and sour tones of the Chinese. There were a few rose-haters as usual, but this really is a great wine, bright and full of strawberry flavors.
Marinated legumes (lima beans?). A very mellow sophisticated taste, and some of the best lima beans I’ve had.
Squid with a sauce not unlike eel BBQ sauce. Very tender and tasty.
Lotus root stuffed with sweet rice in a tea marinate. Very interesting texture and a lovely tea flavor.
2011 Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Riesling Eroica. IWC 88. Pale yellow-straw. Sexy aromas of nectarine, ginger and nutmeg. Moderately sweet but not at all cloying, with nectarine, apple, pear and brown spice flavors complicated by a saline quality and perked up by white flowers and CO2. Not particularly gripping and very easy to drink. Finishes just off-dry, with a menthol nuance and a suggestion of crab apple that brought my score down.
Marinated cucumbers (pickles) in a sweet soy vinegar.
Marinated turnips in a tangy chili oil. Really nice crunch.
Some kind of marinated mushrooms. Very earthly and delicate.
Classic smoked Shanghai fish. Smokey and crunchy.
Roast duck in a heavy sweet soy. Bony, but very tasty.
2004 Albert Mann Riesling Schlossberg. IWC 90. Very pale color. Highly aromatic nose offers underripe pineapple, flowers, mint, stone and flint, along with a leesy nuance that reminded me of Champagne. Juicy and moderately sweet (12.5 g/l. r.s.), with pure peach and nectarine flavors firmed by a stony underpinning. This is precise and detailed, and long on the finish-and not nearly as austere as some past vintages of this consistently excellent bottling. But it still calls for at least five years in the cellar.
Shrimp two ways. On the left, salt and pepper fried shrimp (extremely tasty) and on the right, white sauce popcorn shrimp (pleasant but mild).
Chili fried scallops, with a little heat.
2000 Denis Mugneret Père et Fils Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru. BH 88-91. Black fruit and spice just explode from the glass. This is Boudots at its best with abundant Vosne spice and solid Nuits character in a classy, medium weight package that offers good power, density and quality length. While it doesn’t offer the size of the grands crus and it’s not classically structured, it is deliciously complex and fine. I like this a lot.
Special Shanghai BBQ red pork. Oh so fatty and oh so tasty!
Chicken with scallions and soy sauce. It looked a little scary, but it tasted great (except for the requisite bone).
1995 C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Rioja. IWC 90. Good full red. Deeply pitched aromas of smoke, minerals, leather and truffle. Supple and silky but nicely penetrating, with ripe, intense flavors of cherry, minerals and oak perfectly framed by harmonious acids. Subtle, textured Rioja finishing with good grip and thrust.
Crab dry cooked with coconut? Hard to say, but it tasted great. A dry, slightly spicy crab that emphasized the flavor of the crab itself.
Chicken soup. Pretty much like moms’.
1985 Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Grésy Dolcetto d’Alba. I’ve never had an old Dolcetto, and wouldn’t have assumed they lasted, but this was brilliant. It tasted very much of Dolcetto, grapey and all, but had a real depth to it.
Shanghai style sweet and sour fried fish. This was one of those goopy straight up orange sweet and sour sauces, but it was awesome. Particularly dripped over rice. And the method of flaying the meat out and frying it created a much crisper effect, even if the appearance is a bit horror movie.
Fried rice. Simply one of the best fried rices I’ve ever had.
2007 Tenute Niccolai Rosso Di San Gimignano Uno di quattro. A very nice Italian Syrah. Yeah, odd, but it is.
Shanghai noodles. These are pan fried rice cake with scallions and sweet soy. Odd soft texture, but delicious.
Crispy meat buns. A really great film skinned take on the soup dumpling.
The inside. These were great with vinegar poured in.
2010 Montirius Gigondas Terres des Aines. IWC 91-93. Bright ruby. Spicy cherry and blueberry aromas lifted by mineral cut and a floral overtone. Nicely focused and pure, with very good energy to its dark berry flavors and seductive lavender and spice accents. Finishes spicy and long, with a late note of anise hanging behind.
Beef ribs (short ribs?), with garlic, green and red peppers, etc. Tasty, but certainly not the best dish of the might.
2003 Maculan Acininobili. Parker 96. The 2003 Acininobili is utterly mind-blowing in its expression of candied apricots, orange peel and cinnamon. Constantly changing in the glass, it reveals superb intensity and a stunningly gorgeous purity, with superb length and phenomenal poise. Acininobili is a selection made from botrytised Torcolato fruit. It is aged for two years in new French oak.
Mango or some other fruit in a coconut yogurt like sauce. Nice and refreshing, and and absolotely brilliant pairing (not by any foresight) with the Passito above. Really first rate combo.
Overall, this was a really great meal. First rate Chinese and quite authentic and typical of high end banquet meals in China. We didn’t have the totally tricked out menu with all the sea cucumber, shark fin, and the like, but I don’t love that stuff anyway. Nearly every dish was wonderful. Service was fine (for Chinese). They brought things a little rapidly, but it was fine. Great experience.
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