Restaurant: Grand Harbor [1, 2]
Location: 5733 Rosemead Blvd, Temple City, CA 91780. (626) 280-2998
Date: May 20, 2018
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. And so one year exact to the day after our last visit to Grand Harbor we return.
The wine theme today was New World Whites — ick.
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.
This time we had a private room — much better. Today was a small crew too, only 7 of us, probably because of the lame New World White theme.
From my cellar: NV Ruinart Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. VM 92. Light yellow-gold. Smoky citrus and orchard fruits on the deeply perfumed, mineral-tinged nose. Offers broad, toasty orange and pear skin flavors with an undercurrent of dusty minerals. Picks up floral and ginger nuances with air, along with hints of iodine and tarragon. Rich yet lively blanc de blancs with powerful back-end lift and finishing grip.
agavin: my favorite wine of the day. lol. and it wasn’t even part of the official set.
Marinated cucumbers. Very good, nice crunch and a bit of heat. These were so good we ordered them again.
From my cellar: 2011 Domaine Roulot Meursault. JG 90. All of the vineyard plots for this new villages bottling hail from the former Domaine Emmanuel, with the lion’s share having been the old Clos de la Baronne bottling. This is a very deep and classy AC bottling and a welcome new addition to the Roulot lineup, wafting from the glass in a blend of apple, tangerine, nutskin, a very pretty base of soil and just a touch of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and quite classic, with a very pretty blend of soil and pure fruit, nice framing acids and very fine length and grip on the open and classy finish. This is not a particularly minerally example of Meursault, but it has all the charm and early generosity one would like to see in a villages bottling, and this will delight right from the start, but I would be inclined to give it at least a year of bottle age to allow its secondary layers of complexity to emerge.
agavin: Jen allowed me to slip in a ringer because I hate new world whites (and barely have any) and because I had the theory that even a village Roulot would blow them away. Unfortunately, the bottle was mildly corked and therefore very short on fruit. Even so it came in #4 (middle of the pack) despite being corked. Sigh.
Brian brought: 2013 Aubert Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard. VM 95+. The 2013 Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard is one of the most tightly wound wines in this range. White pepper, crushed rocks, smoke, mint and lemon peel gradually open up, but only with great reluctance. Today, it is the wine’s energy and tension that stand out above all else. A vivid, mineral-drenched finish rounds things out in style.
agavin: the winning wine (Brian again taking the title). Today turned out to be an Aubert tasting.
Scallop & shrimp dumplings with dried roe. Nice dumpling with a bit of a different vibe.
Har gow. Crystal shrimp dumplings. Nice.
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.
Larry brought: 2013 Aubert Chardonnay CIX Estate Vineyard. VM 96. The 2013 Chardonnay CIX Vineyard is another reticent wine, but there is plenty of depth, volume and raciness. With time in the glass, deeper, soil-inflected notes, graphite, chamomile and honey open up, adding considerable complexity and nuance. Bright, saline notes punctuate the finish. The CIX starts off slow, but then really accelerates with air.
Yarom brought: 2013 Aubert Chardonnay Larry Hyde & Sons. VM 95. The 2013 Chardonnay Larry Hyde and Sons is gorgeous. Lemon curd, white flowers, white pepper and mint lift from the glass. Effortless, gracious and lifted in the glass, the 2013 impresses for its brightness and tension, but there is plenty of the trademark Aubert richness in the glass. The Hyde finishes with notable energy and subtlety.
agavin: ranked #5-6, oddly cloudy (storage in Yarom’s guest room?)
Jen slipped in: 2016 Kirkland Signature Chardonnay Signature Series Russian River Valley. Tasted like oak.
agavin: fortunately came in dead last, keeping the balance in the universe.
Crispy fried chicken cartilage. Always a favorite and really tasty.
Beef rolls. Good versions of this dish (which isn’t generally a favorite of mine). Not as heavy as some.
Pork inside a chewy fried skin. Excellent version with a good amount of meat and not too greasy.
Tofu in tangy sauce. Nice soft fried tofu with a delicious tangy, hot, sweet sauce.
Lightly fried dumping. Can’t remember the filling but they were good.
Golden batter pork buns. Spectacular with the sweet pork inside.
Shrimp rice noodle. Known in my household as “shrimp slime.”
Green onion rice noodle. I think, I can’t remember what was inside for sure.
2016 Ovid Experiment W3.6. 92 points. Light yellow. Fresh and vibrant nose. Multiple grapes, changes every year. Rhone varietals, and nicely put together. Interesting . As it warmed up the Roussanne seemed to be the emphasis.
agavin: I liked this slightly floral white.
Ron brought: 2002 Sine Qua Non Whisperin’ E. VM 94. a blend of 50% roussanne, 31% viognier and 19% chardonnay; 14. 9% alcohol. Pale-medium gold. Roasted, oaky aromas of peaty Islay scotch and smoke, with a strong mineral component. In the mouth, this offers a fascinating combination of a firm pear skin edge and lively acids on the one hand and superripe flavors of pineapple, peach nectar and honeysuckle on the other. The flavors suggest thickness but the wine’s phenolic edge keeps it brisk. Finishes very subtle, pliant and long, with excellent lift. A captivating, suave California white wine. I’d be more enthusiastic about Northern Rhone whites if they had the fruit of this one.
agavin: I don’t normally like white Rhones but I liked these two much better than the fake Chards
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. We had two halves each and were VERY full.
Pork chops causeway style. Never had pork chops in this style, with the crispy garlic and some chilies, but it really worked.
Crispy pan fried noodles with egg and beef and cilantro. Really good, you could cut it almost like a pancake.
Pea tendrils with garlic. Excellent green.
House special fried rice. With the Chinese sausage. Yum.
“Pineapple” buns. Basically a custard inside.
I also brought a pair of Sweet Milk Gelati (that I made). Mexican Cinnamon Chocolate Gelato with optional house-made chili caramel (not shown).
and Pure Sicilian Sweet Almond Gelato with Scorza di Limone (candied lemon peel).
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 to 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.
This second meal we didn’t have nearly as many people and so didn’t get to try as many dishes unfortunately. What we had was very good but the previous time was epic.
Service here was fabulous. This time we had the private room and they really took care of us. They kept trying to bring us more stuff, all of which was delicious.
The smaller group was a lot of fun. More relaxed, less craziness, and it was a very enjoyable lunch. I wasn’t a big fan of the wines. Shame my Roulot was corked — as I preferred the Ruinart Champagne to all the official whites!
Overall, a super fun afternoon!
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