Restaurant: Bistro 1968
Location: 402 S San Gabriel Blvd Ste A, San Gabriel, CA 91776. (626) 766-1968
Date: December 30, 2022 & January 4, 2023
Cuisine: Chinese Dim Sum
Rating: One of the current best
Bistro 1968 opened with considerable fanfare (for the SGV) at the tail end of 2022. It serves up a large but focused menu of Cantonese dim sum and unusually is not two restaurants in one like most of the Cantonese places. Instead they have the same (dim sum focused) menu for both lunch and dinner.
The underground parking lot here sucks. Upper level was full and the lower level had this mechanical gated “resident only tow zone” that was poorly labeled and easy to get trapped in.
Escaping the parking lot involved this endless corridor.
Double-sided order sheet
The long form menu.
The main dining room. Several private rooms spawn off the sides.
At first we were in this claustraphobic interior room, but then we moved.
Into this much nicer (and larger) room. It had a window!
Holds a good sized group.
Chili oil is always better than paste.
Bean Curd Skin Roll in Soup. Great texture but very mild in flavor.
Shrimp Har-Gow. Fairly perfect textbook har-gow. Shrimp was delicious and skin was light.
Golden Har-Gow. I think these had a little bit of truffle inside plus the dark (squid ink?) skin. Normally I don’t like these “amplified” classics but these were excellent.
Pork Siu-Mai. Awesome version. Light, meaty, tasty. We had 5-6 orders.
Abalone Tart. A “lard short crust” pastry with shredded pork and abalone. Gorgeous. The tart was very crumbly. The pork itself was sweet and very nice, the abalone was great, not at all chewy — well it was abalone but it wasn’t too chewy.
Pumkpin Dumplings. Seasonal. Very mild and pleasant.
Leeks and Shrimp Dumpling. I really liked these. I’m not sure the wrapper tasted different, but the interior had a nice leek and shrimp (big surprise) vibe.
Shanghai XLB. Usually at dimsum houses the XLB are heavy and just “kinda nice.” These were delicate with fabulous pork soup flavor inside, arguably better than at specialty places like DTF. Really great.
Spicy Minced Pork Dumpling. Chewy and a bit sweet with that sweet porky filling. I’m not sure what was spicy about it but it was good. Sometimes this dumpling type, which is normally light brown, is underfilled. These were generous.
Stuffed Morchella Elata Fungus. They spelled it Fungas. Lol. This was one of the best dishes. It was a nice shrimp paste ball with a “fungas” wrapper” and a sweet soy sauce. Delicious.
Shrimp Noodle. The shrimp were large and succulent and the chow fun texture was excellent. The sauce could have used slightly more punch.
Wagyu Beef Noodle. I’ve never had chow fun with wagyu. It was silky soft, a touch sweet, and did pack quite a bit of flavor.
Sticky Rice Wrap. This is the usual lotus leaf wrapped sticky rice. It was fabulous though with all sorts of flavor goodness and perfectly sticky rice.
Pan-fried Turnip Cake. I didn’t try because of the carbs.
Crabmeat Egg-Roll. I didn’t try but everyone else toasted them in two seconds.
Seaweed and Shrimp paste cake. Nice firm shrimp cake with an interesting spongy texture and a bit of crispiness from the seaweed. The mayo complemented.
House Special Crispy Lobster Roll. Very fluffy and crunchy texture stuffed with noodles and tiny bits of lobster. Interesting.
Steamed BBQ Pork Bao. The bun was a bit soggy and the filling overly sweet.
Deep Fried Taro Puff. Pretty but carb on carb — plus I hate taro. Anyway there were some little bits of pork in there too.
Ground Minced Pork. Not a very descriptive label but these were delicious pan-fried pork patties. Nice and greasy.
Wonton w/ Chili Oil Sauce. This was one of the weakest dishes. The wrapper was soft and pillowy, but the chili sauce was weak, and the filling was shrimp (would have been better as pork). Mostly it just didn’t have the chili oil punch this dish deserves.
Lobster with Ginger and Scallions. Pretty nice lobster in the “wet” style.
Soy Sauce Chicken. A bit sweet, but very aromatic and juicy so a lovely chicken.
Hongkong Style Roast Duck. This was probably the best Hongkong style roast duck I’ve had. It was extremely juicy with fabulous skin and lots of great flavor.
Smaller sized portion of the same dish.
Sauce for that.
Barbecued Iberian Pork w/ Honey. Classic sweet red Chinese BBQ pork. Very sweet sauce but pretty damn tasty!
Deep Fried Quail with Spicy Salt. Yummy, but extremly salty and mostly bones with little bits of meat on them.
Roasted Squab. Leave it to Yarom to order every bird on the menu. These were solid, but not in the top tier.
Crispy German Pork Knuckle. Very piggy, nice crispy skin, succulent meat. I enjoyed these.
Oxtail Stew with Wine Sauce Clay Pot. There was the oxtail bone factor, but this did taste great. Moderate amounts of tasty meat clung to the tail bones and the whole thing was drowned in some sort of gravy.
Poached Watercress w/ Fish Ball. Basically a nice light broth with lots of greens and fish/shrimp balls. I actually really liked this dish, particularly given the nasty rainy weather. It was very soothing and provided needed carbs.
Creamy Egg-Yolk Bao. Tasty and the yolk inside almost exploded out. I just nibbled for dietary reasons.
Macau Egg Tart. A classic. Nice and eggy.
I love this flavor — Peppermint Bark Gelato — Base is pure peppermint milk (subbed the sugar with crushed peppermint candies) and it’s laced with house-made double-sided peppermint bark, Valrhona Dark Chocolate and Ivoire White! — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — The Peppermint Bark recipe was developed by a famous pastry chef and author, the mum of a Naughty Dog Alum @nancy_baggett — this year I added the two layer thing which is awesome — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #dessertgasm #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #peppermint #bark #Valrhona #chocolate
Yarom and the owner and the manager.
The whole gang.
They collect all the steamer trays in rolling huskee’s!
Overall, I thought Bistro 1968 is currently one of the best dim sum places in the SGV — and therefore in SoCal. Not every dish is perfect but they have a big menu, many interesting dishes, and an overall standard of execution that is just higher than most of the older places. Sure, there are a lot of good (and even great) options in the SGV but you totally can’t go wrong with this one!