Restaurant: Grand Harbor
Location: 5733 Rosemead Blvd, Temple City, CA 91780. (626) 280-2998
Date: May 20, 2017
Cuisine: Cantonese Chinese
Rating: Solid B+ dim sum and Cantonese treats
It has become traditional for the Dirty Dozen (our blind tasting group within a group) to do white wine lunches over dim sum — which is by far my preference given some alternatives because despite the timing problems with wine tasting and Chinese Food, I just always love good Chinese food.
Grand Harbor is a relatively new Hong Kong place in Temple City from Jackie Zhou.
The dining room is huge and opulent in that chintzy Chinese way. I would have thought from all the overzealous cove lighting that the space was built out in the 80s, but apparently it’s only a year or two old!
Real marble blends non-so-seemlessly with faux-alabaster. They have wine too like many of the new high end places. Mostly big young red wine like Bordeaux which totally fails to pair with Cantonese Chinese, but it’s the thought that counts.
XO sauce on the table to start, which is a nice touch.
2007 Delamotte Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Le Mesnil. 91 points. Good, low nose, crisp and good structure, some yeastiness, med+ length. Good, not great.
The theme today was White Burgundy served blind in flights, but this Champagne was a started (not blind).
Chicken feet. How do feetless chicken cross the road?
Starch sticks. Probably taro. Needed salt as they had next to no flavor.
Marinated cucumbers. Very good, nice crunch and a bit of heat.
Macau style pork belly. Great stuff. Nice balance of fat and flavor.
2014 Kirkland Signature Chablis 1er Cru. 91 points. shiny pale green hints; chalky, rocky, clean, lemony, high acid, good classic chablis character; stainless steel feel to it. Very good and opened up nicely! Killer deal if you can find it.
This was a ringer that Albert sent in with someone else. It did surprisingly well (finishing 2nd or third).
NOTE: tasting notes are mostly by Peter (one of our gang).
2006 François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre. BH 93. A gentle touch of wood highlights airy yet slightly riper high-toned and admirably pure aromas of white flower, pear and quinine that gives way to supple, sweet, mouth coating and impressively concentrated flavors that exude a marvelous intensity on the long, powerful and driving finish supported by a solid acid spine. Definitely worth a look if you can find it but unlike most ’06s, be prepared to have at least some patience as this is unusually firm for the vintage.
Shu Mai. Shrimp and pork dumplings. Nice version of the classic.
Shanghai style XLB. solid little bags of goodness. These are the classic soup dumplings stuffed with pork and hot broth. The garnish reminded me of gefilte fish.
Har gow. Crystal shrimp dumplings. Nice.
Pork rice noodle. Known in my household as “pork slime.” I usually love this dish but this particular version was heavy and short on flavor.
2014 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent) Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos. Peter 90. This had bright crisp minerality with good concentration on the palate, but a very soft entry. Decent, but kind of straight forward at this point. I suspect very closed, young, and needs a year or 2 to express itself a little more.
2007 Dauvissat-Camus Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos. Peter 94. Golden color; rich, powerful nose, golden apple, bags of rocky minerals, some delightful reduction going on, super long, this has it all. My WOTN and #1 wine overall. Killer.
2006 Dauvissat-Camus Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses. 91 points. Medium yellow. As was the case a few years ago, this had a lot of sulfur to accompany ripe yellow fruit and just a bit of seashell. Lush texture but inadequate acidity and shortened by the sulfur. Hardly recognizable as Chablis at this point, and a totally disjointed wine that is going nowhere. A major disappointment as I had hoped that somehow this would be spared from the flabbiness of the vintage, but there is no escaping it, even if you tried to mitigate that characteristic with excessive manipulation.
Roast pork bun. Nice rendition of the classic baked sugary bun. Very soft breading.
Sticky rice with seafood. I had hoped for more depth of flavor as the white sauce soaked into the rice.
Fried “crab salad” roll. These have a crab and creamcheese? filling and a nice crunchy exterior. They were delicious, I ate about 8.
Tofu in tangy sauce. Nice soft fried tofu with a delicious tangy, hot, sweet sauce.
2014 Louis Jadot Corton-Charlemagne Domaine des Héritiers Louis Jadot. BH 93-95. This is presently sufficiently reduced that it is impossible to fairly assess. The rich, powerful and beautifully delineated big-bodied flavors exhibit almost painful intensity as there is a plenitude of mouth coating extract that buffers the very firm acid spine that allows all of this size and weight to remain exquisitely well-balanced on the chiseled and moderately austere finish. This is not quite as complex or persistent as the Montrachet but it’s not far off and note well that this too is going to require extended cellaring.
2012 Louis Latour Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet. Peter 90. Kind of a disappointment, this was golden color (a bit too much gold for a 4.5 year old), had red apple, a bit loose knit but still quite powerful, medium acid, long, with what seemed like slightly elevated alcohol. Slightly disjointed. Still a good wine, but I expect a lot more from this.
2012 Paul Pernot et ses Fils Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet. Peter 91. This initially had a hint of caramel, apple skin, a little earthy, seemed just a little older than it was; tasted 1 hour later and it really showed nicely, with some of the funk blowing off–more red apple, floral, good concentration and with long finish.
2014 Domaine / Maison Vincent Girardin Chevalier-Montrachet. Peter 93. Precise, with a touch of pineapple, pear, green and yellow apple, a hint of reduction, rocky chalky minerality, tight with plenty of zip, super long tangy finish. Killer. Girardin is making great some wines these days.
One of the managers really pushed these roast pigeons on us. I was skeptical, as I came for dim sum, but these were excellent birds. Juicy, with a lot of flavor and a nice crispy skin.
Fried fish. He pushed this too. It looks awful but it was actually delicious.
Dumplings with dried roe. Good stuff continues. All these regular steamed dumplings were quite good.
Pastry with BBQ pork. Good too. Can’t beat buttery pastry with sweet BBQ pork in it!
Marcassin Chardonnay. Fake chard!
From my cellar: 2002 Louis Jadot Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles Domaine des Héritiers Louis Jadot. Peter 92+. gold amber color; this was somewhat earthy with a slight nuttiness, showing the most age of the group (more than the ’02 Marcassin) which gave it complexity; good lift, quite long.
2004 Jean Noel Gagnard Bâtard-Montrachet. Flawed. Our bottle was corked.
Bean curd with vegetables and pork. Yummy.
Seafood with crispy chow mein. I love this Southern Chinese dish. This was an okay version but not nearly as good as some (like Elite).
House special fried rice. With the Chinese sausage. Yum.
“Shark fin” (I hope not) dumpling or similar. Delicious. These were really good.
Floral jelly. Yeah, had to try it based on that name. Had the nice jelly texture. Tasted like… chrysanthemum tea or something!
Mango pudding. Okay, not as intense as I like.
Milk bun. Sweet and milk. Very nice though.
Macau egg custard. Solid if not exceptional.
Walnut bun. Very nice. Nutty. A touch dry.
The line up. Wines weren’t the most impressive, but were enjoyable.
Yarom and the manager.
Overall, Grand Harbor had very solid dim sum, at the level just below Elite where a lot of good but not perfect places stand. I’d certainly happy chow down on it again. They did seem to use a lot of MSG because I was HAMMERED by it about 45 minutes later. Non dim sum dishes were excellent and they have a VAST menu of them. Worth coming for an evening banquet.
Service here was fabulous. We should have requested a private room as we really needed it, but we didn’t. Still, they really took care of us. They kept trying to bring us more stuff, which is how it should be in good “Chinese” service. We controlled the flights by filling out 4 different dim sum cards and handing them in one at a time. Worked well.
Wines showed decently. Most bottles were in good shape. Amusing that the Kirkland did so well blind. This group has only 1-2 other Burgundy collectors and so people have to buy and there are a lot of bottle short cuts: too young, lame producers like Latour, Chablis (which is nice but cheap). No pile of good vintage Ramonet here. Still, dim sum makes everything great.
Overall, a super fun afternoon!
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