Restaurant: Tong Tak House Seafood Restaurant
Location: 1265 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007. (626) 638-3388
Date: February 9, 2020
Cuisine: Cantonese Chinese
Rating: Really great execution
Our friend Tony Lau organizes the best Cantonese banquets.
He always manages to find new places that surprise. Tong Tak isn’t exactly new, but it’s new to most of us.
Classic “palace” interior. It was pretty empty too. Sure it was Academy Awards night, but hard to say.
After an initial foray into a private room that was way too small they set us up downstairs at this huge table with the awesome blue thrones.
The whole gang.
Spicy cold marinated cucumbers. Pretty good version of this typical Chinese starter. Nice crunch, garlic, and a bit of spice.
I ate a lot of these because oddly, they didn’t serve any real dishes for 45 minutes despite the place being deserted! Then the dishes came on like a storm.
Chinese Mountain Yams with Raspberry Sauce. Crunchy yam, not slimey (sometimes it is). The yam itself doesn’t have a lot of flavor. Raspberry sauce is a bit odd..
Beancurd wrapped mushroom rolls. Interesting texture.
Marinated wood ear mushrooms. I love the rubbery texture.
Beans. Not sure what kind. Very mild and I don’t love the pastey bean thing.
Spicy clam with vegetables. Very interesting spongy/chewy texture on the clam and very nice crunchy vegetables.
Fried oysters typhoon style. Really delicious. Probably the best fried oyster’s I’ve ever had with the crispy fry and lots of garlic.
Cheesy lobster. Nice tender lobster with a cheesy sauce. Very interesting combo.
Condiments for the duck and pig.
Suckling pig with buns. Nice small pig, actually a suckling. Nice crunchy skin and good flavor.
The pig head returns after a discombobulating encounter with the cleaver.
Beef with asparagus. Tony always orders a straight up beef dish like this. It was fatty and pretty tender with nicely cut asparagus.
Crispy roast pigeon. Very nice hot juicy pigeon. Not too dark, not overcooked at all.
Peking Duck (Cantonese style) with buns. Very tasty as always, but is of course much better with pancakes and cut a bit differently.
Duck part 2: Lettuce cup duck. The meat from the duck mixed with water chestnuts and celery.
Lettuce cups to go with the duck.
Packed lettuce cup ready to eat. These were good.
100 Flower Chicken. 2 ways. Pressed chicken with shrimp paste. This version was mostly shrimp paste. Almost no chicken meat under the skin. Still it was delicious.
Wok cooked vegetables and oyster mushrooms. I like the double texture thing.
Yin Yang Fried Rice. Two types of sauce covering fried rice. The lighter one was asparagus stalks and shrimp in a light sauce. Very savory and delicious. The red one was with chicken and a tomato based sweet sauce. A bit too sweet for my taste.
Dessert Buns. The yellow topped ones were filled with pineapple and egg custard.
Crackerjack Gelato – Smooth Peanut Base with homemade Dulce de Leche Ribbon, Toffee Peanuts, and Caramel Popcorn! — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — oh my! — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #peanut #caramel #DulceDeLeche #Popcorn #CaramelCorn
Raspberry Sorbetto — French Raspberries and a touch of lime juice — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — Unusual for me to go so “straight” with my flavors but I wanted a complement to a complex flavor — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #sorbetto #raspberry
Overall, another great night. Really, these Tony Lau dinners are always great. Despite the slow start to the food, service was very good and the execution of the dishes was excellent. Very nice plating and on point flavors. The kitchen’s command of vegetables was particularly impressive. They know how to cut them into the proper shapes and to wok them quickly so they are still crunchy and tender.
It just goes to show that just because a Cantonese place has that “dated” palace look, doesn’t mean the kitchen isn’t first rate. Somehow they have 3 stars on Yelp. I wonder if we just got the royal treatment of if it’s just Yelp haters.