Restaurant: Grand Harbor [1, 2, 3]
Location: 5733 Rosemead Blvd, Temple City, CA 91780. (626) 280-2998
Date: October 14, 2018 and June 27, 2021
Cuisine: Cantonese Chinese
Rating: Very good Cantonese
It has become traditional for the Dirty Dozen (our blind tasting group within a group) to do white wine lunches over dim sum — but this time we mixed it up slightly and combined with Sunday night dinner into a Cantonese banquet Dirty Dozen White dinner. I think this was originally white Burgundy themed, then opened up lightly to some “other” (aka lessor) Chardonnay. Mostly it was White Burg.
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.
We had a private room — pretty much a necessity given the crowded main room.
From my cellar: NV Drappier Champagne Rosé Brut Nature Dosage Zero. BH 90. The color is paler than that of the regular brut rosé. A pretty and slightly more elegant nose features a similar aromatic profile but with more evident yeast character. There is fine intensity to the delicious and vibrant flavors that are supported by a firm and definitely finer mousse, all wrapped in a bone dry and youthfully austere finish where a hint of bitter cherry pit appears. This won’t be for everyone as the dryness is pronounced; I happen to like it but it would be fair to say that this is not a charmer. With that said, a few years of bottle age should serve to round off the austerity and add a bit of depth as well.
Crispy taro chips. Like crunchy French Fries.
Marinated cucumbers. Very good, nice crunch and a bit of heat. These were so good we ordered them again.
2008 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos. VM 95+. Pale yellow-green color. Manages to be both explosive and reduced on the nose, offering strong notes of lime peel, seashell, spices, mint oil, white flowers and smoky, flinty minerality. Extremely backward on the palate, showing hints of smoked ham and dusty stone. Less silky and tactile today than the C o te Bouguerots but this will ultimately be the more complex wine. The extraordinary palate-saturating finish is like chewing on rocks today.
2004 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos. BH 95. Stylistically, this closely resembles the Valmur with its ultra elegant and pure aromas featuring white flowers, oyster shell and subtle spice notes that perfectly complement the round, powerful, rich and full-bodied flavors that coating the mouth and culminate in a saliva-inducing, incredibly intense finish that reminded me more than a little of a great Corton-Charlemagne. This just oozes minerality and the texture is minerally to the point of this resembling a block of stone. A great Les Clos.
Suckling pig. Really nice one with crunchy skin and great piggy flavor.
Sandi, Stefano, and the manager.
Cantonese style peking duck (with the buns). We’ve had a rash lately of these Cantonese ducks. Good, although not as crispy and delightful as the real Beijing style.
Scallions and hoisin for the duck.
2014 Marc Colin et Fils Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru La Garenne. BH 92. Discreet touches of reduction and wood still allow the ultra-fresh pear, white peach and lilac-inflected aromas to shine. There is both good volume and richness to the solidly well-concentrated medium-bodied flavors that possess a textured mouth feel before terminating in an energetic, balanced and mouth coating finish that exhibits a bit of youthful austerity. This chiseled and citrusy effort is definitely in need of at least a few years of bottle age first as it’s presently quite tight.
2002 Jean Boillot & Fils Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Mouchère. VM 94+. Lemon, lime, spring flowers, nut oil and minerals on the vibrant nose. Dense and sweet, with penetrating flavors of peach, spice and minerals lifted by a captivating floral character. Broad, classy and extremely long on the back end. Already showing terrific personality, but this will be even better for five to seven years of cellaring.
Duck, second way, chopped up with veggies.
With the lettuce cups.
And nestled inside one. Way better than PF Changs!
2011 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières. VM 97. The 2011 Meursault Genevrieres is emotionally moving. Deep, layered and explosive, the Genevrieres bursts from the glass with an utterly beguiling combination of fruit, minerality and structure. Layers of rich, vivid fruit flow to an effortless, kaleidoscopic finish of exceptional grace. Pierre-Yves Colin makes a number of fabulous wines, but none goes straight to the heart like the Genevrieres does. The 2011 is another spectacular version. Readers who can find the 2011 should absolutely not hesitate.
From my cellar: 2011 Domaine Roulot Meursault Les Tessons Clos de Mon Plaisir. VM 92. A statuesque Burgundy, the 2011 Meursault Les Tessons Clos de Mon Plaisir is all class. Nothing in particular stands out, so impeccable is the wine’s balance. The depth and intensity of the fruit is apparent, but readers will have to give the 2011 at least another year or two before the elements start to truly come together. The 2011 is impressive for its depth and stuffing.
agavin: a bit corked. sigh. Second time I’ve tried to use Roulot to just power through to the win and had a corked bottle. sigh.
Salt and pepper shrimp. Eat the shells!
2014 Kongsgaard Chardonnay. VM 94. Kongsgaard’s 2014 Chardonnay is a crescendo of aromas, flavors and textures. Expansive, rich and super-expressive, the 2014 is surprisingly accessible at such a young age. I am not sure how well the 2014 will age, but it is exceptionally beautiful and inviting today. Slate, candied lemon, vanillin and a hint of reduction infuse the striking finish. This is a terrific vintage for the Napa Valley Chardonnay.
agavin: Grr. fake chard!
2015 Raymond Vineyard & Cellar Chardonnay Generations.
agavin: two of them in fact!
Chicken Knees — yeah little cartilage bombs. Really yummy.
Ultimately fried fish. All crispy and delicious.
Greens. Colon sweeper.
2008 Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Pruliers. VM 91. Good bright medium red. Enticing, very pure aromas of cherry, raspberry and flowers. Quite juicy and precise; not a fleshy wine but intensely fruity, taut and pure. Impressively long, rising finish. Gregory Gouges told me he finds most of the family’s 2008s to be agreeable now and probably best drunk early for their youthful fruit. He’s not convinced that the wines have enough dry extract for extended aging.
2006 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape. VM 93. Vivid ruby. Spicy, finely etched red berry and cherry aromas are complicated by fresh lavender, herbs and minerals. The palate offers tangy raspberry and cherry skin flavors, with gentle tannins adding shape. Impressively pure, even delicate, with outstanding finishing clarity and length. This beguiles rather than brutalizes; I underestimated it last year.
Fried sweet and sour pork chops. All sticky and chewy and delicious.
Shrimp fried rice. Bits of pork in there too.
Compressed noodles with beef — looks like barf but tasted great! Really interesting chewy texture to the noodles too.
Sweet mysterious Chinese dessert soup.
Sweet buns. From the dim sum collection and pretty good.
Pecan Pie Gelato – Tahitian Vanilla Bean Base with Mom’s recipe Pecan Pie Filling layered in — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato.
In the bowl.
My lousy notes.
Overall, Grand Harbor had really nice Cantonese banquet — color me impressed. Lots of fabulous dishes.
Service here was amazing too. 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.
Very fun night as always.
June 27, 2021, right after the lockdowns
So we came back to Grand Harbor again in June of 2021 and they were still — as many places are — in a weird transitional state after the disruptions of 2020 and 2021.
They have this much reduced menu which we had to order from, and even to get the live seafood we had to call way ahead.
Pork belly and Jellyfish — Jellyfish was spicy, pork salty but good.
Here’s our reserved live seafood, squirming in the bucket.
Live Crab Typhoon Style.
Lobster w/ Ginger and Scallion and noodles — noodles were fabulous.
“Flounder” Sichuan Hot Pot style — not really spicy, maybe not our flounder. Really wouldn’t matter what kind of fish you spiced up this way.
Roast Quails — good.
Scallops with Snow Peas — great texture.
Cantonese Roast Duck.
Walnut Shrimp — Delicious.
Stir Fried Beef with Egg and Tomato.
Salt and Spicy Pork Chop.
Yangchow Fried Rice.
Bok Choy with Garlic.
Buko Pandan Gelato — Infused the milk with fresh Pandan Leaves and then crafted it into a dairy coconut base as my take on the Filipino favorite. Unusual and soothing. — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #buko #pandan #coconut
Thai Red Curry Sorbetto — I made a version of this in 2017 and it was a dismal failure, but haunted me since and so this one is redemptive. Made a (no salt) red curry paste from scratch (chilies, lemongrass, galangal, cilantro roots, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, Asian shallots etc) and then cooked it into a pure Thai Coconut Milk base. Sweet and Spicy! — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #sorbetto#Thai #red #curry #spicy
Honey and Almond Sponge Cake.
Today’s meal was not Grand Harbor at its best. Although execution on the dishes they did have was pretty good, and service was excellent, the limited menu and near empty dining room was a touch sad. Still and great kitchen and hopefully they bounce back quickly.
For more LA Chinese dining reviews click here