Friday, December 24, 2010

Geoduck Saved My Christmas Dinner

My parents dragged me out to dinner tonight with some friends. To be honest, I wasn't in the best of mood today because of some personal things. It wasn't a big deal, just was a bummer. But I decided to go just to get out of the house and have a good dinner. Fortunately the friends had a kid who is possibly the happiest and most talkative kid I have ever met who managed to make me laugh and cheered me up. The kid was non-stop laughter. Laughter is truly contagious.

The restaurant was pretty busy on this Christmas Eve night. I suppose a lot of families like to do Christmas Eve dinner at home, but we ended up doing it at at East Gourmet Seafood Restaurant in Rosemead. My family's doing our big family dinner tomorrow night at home with everyone. I'm definitely going to blog about that one. We came here because we had Dim Sum here yesterday and got a coupon for a free lobster.

(Ginger and Chive Lobster)

The lobster was small given the fact that it was free. But it was still fresh and the meat came right off the shell. You can tell if a lobster is fresh when they are cooked in this style by their meat coming right off the shell. It wasn't a spectacular dish, but I can't complain since it's free. The quality is pretty much what you would expect your cut-of-the-mill seafood restaurant. Good but not memorable.

Lobster was one of the deals they had tonight. They also had a special for geoduck for $4.99 a pound. Geoducks are clams with a giant trunk that looks like the trunk of an elephant. They are the largest burrowing clams in the world. Naturally the shell was weighted as a part of it so we had to order about 5 pounds worth to be enough. But geoduck is usually over $10 per pound so this is definitely a deal not to be passed. There are a couple ways geoducks are usually served: stir fried, boiled or sashimi. I recommend either the boiled option or the sashimi option to retain its original flavor. We ordered the boiled version since my father doesn't eat sashimi. Actually my mother doesn't like geoduck served as sashimi despite the fact that she likes a lot of other kinds of sashimi. I always worry about eating sashimi in second rated restaurants because of freshness anyways. The head of the geoduck is typically served deep fried, otherwise it would be much more difficult to chew.

The geoduck that was served was actually pretty sweet and had a good crunch to it. It was topped with a little bit of chilly pepper, parsley, green onions, all of which is placed over a plate of sprouts. The sprouts complemented the rest of the dish since it's served sort of like a cold appetizer even though it was just freshly cooked. Even though I had better quality geoduck before, this was still well worth the money, especially since we get two plates for one item.

(Boiled Geoduck)

The meal actually started off with a soup like most Chinese meals. We ordered the corn and egg flower soup. It's a thick starchy soup. The flavor was decent and edible. I'm not a big fan of corn based soup. I suppose a lot of it has to do with the fact that nearly half of the things we eat have some sort of corn in them. I will eat corn, I just don't find them all that interesting. But my mother ordered it so I wasn't going to object.

(Corn and Egg Flower Soup)

We did order one of my favorite dishes at a Chinese Seafood Restaurant: walnut shrimp. This is also one of those items that is almost a guarantee at most Chinese wedding banquets. I don't think I've ever had a plate of bad walnut shrimp, but it's hard to make them amazing. This wasn't amazing. This was your average walnut shrimp. I think the temperature was just not hot enough for it to be amazing. For me, the shrimp needs to be much hotter so that the dressing feels like it's melting when you eat it. When the dressing just taste like paste, it's just that. It's not bad as it is, but it isn't a version that I would say I have to come back to this restaurant to have. I can't recall where I had a really good version of walnut shrimp. I'm just hoping one day I'll stumble across an amazing version again.

(Walnut Shrimp)

We also had the Egg Plant with Cod Clay Pot and the Filet Mignon French Style. I'm not a big fan of eggplant so I actually managed to forget to even taste it tonight. Some food critique I am. Actually by the time I got to it, the kid ate all the egg plants. Kudos to him for eating his veggies, but then of all things he ate eggplant. We did also have an order of sprout leaf too on the table which was devoured pretty quickly. The cod that I did manage to get a bite of was descent. The Filet Mignon was mediocre at best and simply forgettable. It's not even worth my time blogging about it.

(Eggplant with Cod Clay Pot)

(Filet Mignon French Style)

Dinner ended with a complimentary Red Bean Sweet Soup. This one was more gooey whereas I prefer mine to be more grainy. That's just a matter of preference. However it was on the sweet side so my diabetic mother had to pass and I only ate half a bowl.

(Red Bean Sweet Soup)

Honestly the dinner food here was just average. I was hoping for more on Christmas Eve but I didn't pick the restaurant. We came because of the free lobster and that some of the items at Dim Sum were pretty good. Dinner however wasn't spectacular enough to warrant me to come back except for the price point of the geoduck. The competition is tough for these Chinese Seafood Restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley. There are quite a few of them and they are all very good; some better then others.

So if you are looking just to get the geoduck while the special is still going, I say go, go now. Having had that geoduck did brighten what would otherwise be a bummer of a day. But if you are looking for a really good Chinese meal, I would say pass this one up and try Newport Tan Cang Seafood Restaurant in San Gabriel instead. I had an amazing but more expensive meal there in October of this year.

Well Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you are all having an amazing time with amazing foods.


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