Restaurant: Paradise Dynasty
Location: 3333 Bristol Street, BLM, 1 Bloomingdale’s, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. (714) 617-4630
Date: February 17, 2022
Cuisine: Chinese XLB
Rating: Way better than DTF
I went twice to branches of Paradise Dynasty in Shanghai and really enjoyed it. This chain is like a much more interesting Din Tai Fung. Frankly, I don’t exactly get why DTF is so popular except perhaps that it’s a “gateway drug” to more modern Chinese food and is just “easy” for Americans.
Somewhat annoyingly Paradise Dynasty’s first US branch is in Costa Mesa. Well it could be worse, at least it’s in driving distance but I don’t go down there that often. In fact, it’s in the South Coast Plaza mall. I hate malls.
Build out is nice but it’s spoiled by that whole mall atmosphere.
The menu is epic with quite a bit of variety.
White is “signature” (classic pork). Delicate and excellent. The skins on all of these are very thin and lovely.
Red is Szechuan Hot Pot and it actually tastes like hot pot broth!
Grey is Garlic pork, and it’s pretty garlicky.
Yellow is Cheese. Interesting.
Green is Luffa Gourd with Chinese Wine (and pork of course). Mellow.
Orange is Crab Roe (and pork). Lovely briney flavor.
Tan is Foie Gras (and pork). Tastes like foie.
Black is Black Truffle (and pork). Probably my least favorite actually, but not truffle oil.
Ginger for the XLB. One adds soy sauce and vinegar to the dish for dipping.
Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp. Top notch.
Radish Pastry. Lovely flakey (probably from lard) texture.
Prawn and Kurobuta Pork Wonton in Chili Vinaigrette. Classic, light, and delicious.
Noodle with Prawn and Kurobuta Pork Wonton in Signature Pork Bone Soup.
A single portion. The broth was basically like Chinese Tonkotsu.
Stir-fried Shredded Pork in Black Bean Sauce served with Chinese Crepe.
This is the “Crepe” (Spring Pancake). This was an excellent version of this very salty/savory dish.
Ma Po Tofu with Pork. First rate version actually. Not super numbing, but very good.
Scrambled Egg White with Fish and Dried Scallop.
Breaking the egg. I really liked the soft texture and mild but very savory flavor of this dish.
Stir-fried French Bean with Minced Pork and Preserved Olive Vegetable. Nice version of this classic too.
Kung Pao Chicken.
Overall, Paradise Dynasty is very good. I wouldn’t really consider it a dinner restaurant where one would go to get hearty wok classics. Yeah, they have a few, but that’s not their strong point. However, the flavored XLB are unique and absolutely first rate and the noodles and other dimsum like dishes are really good. Only downside is having to walk in a mall. Blech. I haven’t walked inside a mall in years (probably over a decade) to actually shop.