Restaurant: New Bay Seafood [1, 2]
Location: 203 West Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA. (626) 872-6677
Date: January 20, 2014
Cuisine: Cantonese / Chiu Chow Chinese
Rating: Really on point!
New Bay Seafood is a fairly elaborate (big with multiple private rooms) Hong Kong and Chiu Chow palace that took over the late Sham Tseng space in 2013.
The interior is typical of Inland Empire Chinese restaurants. We had a private room (there are several).
On the table to start were the traditional peanuts.
2006 Schafer-Frohlich Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Spatlese. Parker 92. The Frohlichs- 2006 Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Spatlese came from significantly botrytized grapes and was yeasted to assure a reliable fermentation. Licorice, honey, black currant, and pineapple dominate the nose and palate, where an almost buttery texture and high residual sugar do not prevent juiciness and vivacity, thanks in part to the acidity having gone ever higher here than in the Felseneck. Irresistibly luscious, subtly honeyed and saline, smoky, and tingling mineral in its finish, this, too, should be a long (15+ year) keeper, although Frohlich is convinced that the Felsenberg will have an edge in complexity thanks to the effect of spontaneous fermentation.
This roast BBQ pork was tremendous. It’s that red skinned variety that I used to get growing up in Cantonese dimsum houses, but was tender, not too fatty, and delicious.
Next up was a roast BBQ duck served with a sweet orange colored sauce. No one does duck as well as the Chinese and this was a delectable example.
From my cellar: 1994 Bollig-Lehnert Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Auslese. 92 points. The sweetness had pleasantly faded, but it had extremely nice petrol notes.
We called this the cheese lobster, because there is actually a bit of cheese mixed in with all that fry. And, yeah, it’s pretty darned fried, but it was really tasty. The lobster itself was succulent and not over done and it was easy to access big chunks of it.
2003 Louis Latour Bâtard-Montrachet. Burghound 92. This too is quite aromatically expressive and while this is no model of finesse either, both the aromatic and flavor profiles possess stunning complexity and in contrast to most big, sappy and muscular white, this manages to retain an unusually fine sense of balance and delivers a palate staining finish. It’s dramatic but there’s substance behind the size and weight.
Our bottle was a little closed and tired, although it opened as the evening progressed.
Some of our party had dietary restrictions and they asked for this steamed tilapia with pepper. They seemed to love it, although for me, the whole thing sort of ignores the point of Chinese food.
House special lobster. This version of the lobster was even better. The sauce had quite a bit of black pepper and scallions in it. Lots of flavor and very tender.
From my cellar: 1995 Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques. 94 points. Smells of creamy blue and black fruit, and earth. It’s powerful on the palate, the fruit tastes young, and deep. There are layers to the palate that reveal bramble, minerals, and a seemingly weightless power. Finishes with a tarry, meaty, wild side. Excellent wine that is beginning to show.
Chinese chicken salad. Haha. I have no idea how authentic this is, but the flavor profile was actually more Vietnamese (which really isn’t that far from Chiu Chow). There was a sweet/savory thing, a little bit of zing, and cilantro.
Salt and pepper shrimp. Nice tender version of this too with a lot of salty garlic flavor.
2006 Marcassin Pinot Noir Three Sisters Vineyard. Parker 94+. The 2006 Pinot Noirs that are just being released include the 2006 Pinot Noir Three Sisters Vineyard. While it has closed down since I tasted it last year, it does reveal a dark plum/ruby color as well as a smoky bouquet of Asian plum sauce, soy, forest floor and sweet black cherries. Like many Marcassin Pinots, it possesses a Morey St.-Denis-like character. The Three Sisters cuvee will benefit from another 1-2 years of bottle age and drink well for a decade or more.
In my opinion, this was a nice new world pinot, but as usual, too oaked and young. I’m certainly not drinking 1re cru Burgundy (which would be the analog here) from ’06, more like the late 90s.
Roast BBQ chicken. I’m not that much of a chicken fan, but this was a darn tasty one. The meat was moist and perfectly cooked.
Chiu Chow crab. Super tasty again, and sleeping on a bed of giant garlic cloves. The owner warned us that this baby might gift us with a bit of a surprise in the middle of the night — in the form of excess gas! LOL.
Sautéed greens (pea tendrils?). A top flight version of the Southern Chinese style greens. Lots of garlicky goodness.
2001 Noon Shiraz Reserve. Parker 99. The 2001 Shiraz Reserve is a riveting example of what is so exciting about old vine Shiraz. Produced from a 35-40-year old McLaren Vale vineyard, it possesses amazing aromatics, purity, texture, and richness. This 2001, which tips the scales at a lofty 15.8% alcohol, is intense and full-bodied as well as remarkably elegant for a wine of such mass and intensity. Its impenetrable inky/black/purple color is accompanied by explosive aromatics, and is bursting with deep, rich, well-balanced flavors revealing seamlessly integrated wood, alcohol, acidity, and tannin. Profoundly deep, rich, and intense, it will hit its peak in 3-4 years, and should last for 15+. This is truly compelling old vine Shiraz!
Eggplant with pork. A slightly spicy eggplant with bamboo shoots and pork. Really really tasty and I love that kind of stringy sweet pork.
Sweet and sour pork. Sort of the real version of those Panda Express fried pork balls in red sauce. Quite good as this dish goes.
Fried fish. Tender salty fish and chips without the chips — Chinese style.
Shrimp over crispy noodles. I love this kind of mild dish. The white sauce soaks into the noodles and makes for a sort of comfort food.
Overall, New Bay Seafood was really good. Being Southern Chinese, it’s not the most exotic of the Chinese sub-regions (foodwise, since so much American Chinese is Cantonese derived) but their execution is really very very good. Every dish was tasty and more than half of them fabulous. If you want an approachable entree into the wonderful world of San Gabriel Valley Chinese, you can’t go wrong with New Bay. And, besides, the owner treated us like kings. They served the dishes one by one, hung out, and we’re generally fabulous.
Afterward, we walked next door to the awesome Sabu Dessert and get some light fluffy “snow.” If you haven’t tried Taiwanese style snow, you are really missing out. This one above was coconut snow, passionfruit sauce, with egg pudding, almond jelly, and blackberries. Yum!
Someone else’s slightly different snow.
For more crazy Hedonist meals.