For years, I’ve been passing by this place without a second thought about checking this place out as no one I know has ever dined here. Then I read the August 2016 blog post by David Chan, who is famous for having dined at over 6,000 Chinese restaurants around the world. It was his blog post that highlighted Embassy Kitchen’s special menu pages, which are only presented in Chinese and which feature dishes from Hong Kong that seems to be unique to them here in the Greater Los Angeles/Orange County Areas.
Last night, I had the opportunity to experience some of these amazing dishes with a friend who managed to get help from a Chinese friend to set up dinner here, ordering most of the dishes from the special menus. These dishes were unique, well executed, and definitely delicious.
Deep Fried Pig’s Feet
Baked Stuffed Chicken Wings
Baked Stuffed Chicken Wing (stuffed with chicken meat, shrimp)
Boneless Fried Chicken
Boneless Fried Chicken
Boneless Fried Chicken (thin layer of chicken meat with a layer of shrimp paste compressed over it)
Tilapia Rolls (thin fish filet rolled around pickled red ginger and 1,000 year old egg)
Roasted Squab (nice crispy skin)
Steamed Eggplant with Ground Pork
Braised Spare Ribs in Vinegar
Yang Chow Fried Rice
Pork and Mushroom Chow Mein, Hong Kong Style (with crispy noodles)
Bean Curd Skin Stuffed with Mixed Vegetables
Dessert Soup with sago, yam, taro, red beans
Special Menu Page 2
Special Menu Page 1
I read about Chengdu Impression’s soft-opening on EaterLA.com. Chengdu Impression (not to be confused with Chicago’s Chengdu Impression, which is unrelated) is a restaurant chain in China, that, like Meizhou Dongpo and Hai Di Lao, has opened its first location in the United States. CI is known for being a more upscale Sichuan restaurant, providing an elegant and tastefully designed and decorated space for diners to enjoy elevated versions of Sichuan favorites such as Kung Pao Shrimp, Ma Po Tofu, and Fish with Pickled Green Peppers.
The service here is very attentive and polite, with a majority of the staff being bilingual (Mandarin and English) and even trilingual (Mandarin, Cantonese and English). They have some issues to work on, such as the timing of the service of each course (at times they were ready to serve the next course just as soon as half of the table finished with the current course).
The food itself is a good representation as to the style of the Sichuan dishes they serve, and it was tasty, with some dishes packing a good bit of heat. At $45 per person plus tax and gratuity, it seemed to be a good bargain for those who are accustomed to tasting menus from having dined at the likes of Maude, Patina, or even Papilles. But for those who mainly dine at Chinese restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley, the price is a bit high for the amount of food served.
The tasting menu is being offered during dinner hours and on weekends. A separate lunch menu is available only during weekdays, and that’s where you have the ability to order a la carte as well as being able to try dishes that are not featured in the tasting menu. I will definitely go back for that.
Chengdu Impression, 21 East Huntington Drive, Arcadia, California 91006, Telephone: (626) 462-9999. No website as of this posting. Generally open from 11:30 am to 2:00pm and 5:3opm. Call for exact hours. Parking in the rear. Reservations highly recommended.
Course 2 – Sliced Spicy Beef (to stuff into the pancake to make a sandwich)
Course 3 – Chicken with Green Pepper Sauce (served in conjunction with the Sliced Beef & Pancake)
Course 4 – Chicken and Cuttlefish Soup
Course 5 – House Special Pork Belly
Course 6 – Oil Pouring Fish (with pickled peppers and mung bean noodles)
Course 7 – Special Shredded Beef
The accompanying spiced mix packed quite a bite that it gave me a good sweat and tongue burn.
Course 8 – Kung Pao Shrimp
Course 9 – Green Bean (Shishito Peppers) with Stewed Pork
Course 10 – Seasonal Vegetable (Baby Pea Shoots)
Course 11 – Pan Fried Sticker (Dumpling, think they meant Potsticker)
Complimentary Course – Fried Rice Cakes (provided to the table by management from keeping a diner at our table from waiting excessive long for her substitutions to the beef courses, as she does not eat beef)
Course 12 – Panda Rice Ball (Glutenous Rice Ball stuffed with Black Sesame Paste)
Lunch Menu Available during Weekdays Only for Now
Lunch Menu Available during Weekdays Only for Now
Upstairs rear dining area (seems to be perfect for warmer days)
Downstairs rear dining area
A look down the hallway from the front waiting area
A look down the hallway from the rear entrance
I organized 12-course Cantonese style banquet dinner to celebrate my big 5-0 with friends earlier this month, and I chose King Hua Restaurant in Alhambra because I enjoyed the food and the service in my previous visits to the restaurant both for similar dinners, as well as during dim sum.
While the service was very attentive, and the servers were extremely helpful in serving the 3 different cakes at the of the banquet, I found the preparations of many of the courses could have been done better.
However, what was most important was that everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves.
Scallops & Beef Cubes in Bird’s Nest – This was a good dish with the exception that the nest itself tasted like a fortune cookie. This combination of savory and sweet was not appealing to many in my group. I wished they would have done traditional preparation by creating a nest out of long strands of shredded potatoes and then deep fry it. Would have been lighter, just as crunchy, but without that sweetness.
Crab & Fish Maw Soup – This was the less expensive of the 2 versions on their menu. But even at $52 (I needed 2 orders per table), it was pretty much a disappointment. Sure, there was ample crab meat, but not as much fish maw. Worse was the fact the soup lacked any seasoning, and the fish maw pieces were just bland.
Steamed Chicken with Ham & Mushroom – This dish was hampered from the chicken, ham and mushrooms sitting in too much sauce. Traditionally, there’s only a little bit of sauce underneath to provide flavor. The ham and shitake mushrooms were too salty as well.
Seafood Palace (formerly Seafood Village) Style Garlic Lobster – Good flavor but lobster got overcooked rendering some of the meat dry.
Stuffed Deep Fried Egg Tofu with Diced Vegetables was not prepared as well as the last time had this dish. Some of the tofu was only hollowed out 1/3 way deep, so there was’nt enough room to stuff them with diced vegetables. I originally requested 2 orders of this dish so that each person can have a whole piece of the stuffed tofu, but that request was missed, so we had to cut these pieces in half in order to serve everyone at the table.
Seafood Chow Mein, HK Style with crispy noodles, but the preparation was lacking in that much of the noodles were not deep fried to a nice golden crisp, leaving a soggy mess in the middle.
During January’s DineLA Restaurant Week, I wanted to try Neal Frazier’s Fritzi in the Downtown LA’s Arts District, just east of Little Tokyo but wasn’t able to. Soon thereafter, it was reported that Fritzi was renamed Fritzi’s Coop, which focuses on fried chicken (buttermilk battered or skinless). One night, I realized that I was going to be passing by here and decided to grab dinner here.
There are options for a quarter chicken or a half chicken. At only $4 more, I opted for the half buttermilk fried chicken. This meal included a choice of starch, and a side dish. I chose tater tots and cauliflower. I added a side of gravy for $2.50 more.
Let me say, the chicken was huge, especially the breast piece. There was more than enough to feed 2 people with this meal. The chicken was nice and crunchy, moist, and seasoned well. Smothering the breast filet with the gravy adds extra depth of flavor. I’d love to go back and try the skinless fried chicken.
Also, since I’m discussing about fried chicken, I’m posting pics of places where my friends and I have sampled fried chicken.
JANUARY’S FRIED CHICKEN CRAWL:
Craft Pizza n Chicken in the DTLA Fashion District. Address: 735 East 12th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021
Family owned food stand at the food court located on the very top floor.
SECOND LOCAT ION: Birdie’s in South Park of DTLA. Address: 314 West Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90015
Unless you call to order in advanced, they may not have enough chicken brined, battered and ready to be cooked on the spot. That was the situation we encountered duringour visit. For a group of 8 of us, obviously we needed to order one piece per person. Unfortunately, they only had 6 pieces of chicken ready for deep frying – 4 pieces of white and 2 pieces of dark. In order to compensate for the shortage, we ordered some a chicken strips as well.
What was interesting was that we were not amazed by the regular fried chicken. We actually, preferred the chicken tenders instead as the batter was more evenly distributed. It was also nice and crunchy as well. The regular fried chicken wasn’t as crispy as it can get, and some of the batter separated from the chicken during deep frying
THIRD STOP: HoHo Chicken near MacArthur Park. Address: 2625 West 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90057
Located just east and outside of Koreatown is this KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) place that serves up solid fried chicken as well as offering a good variety of flavored/sauces wings. With so many to choose from, and being partially full, we opted to get only the original fried chicken along with the Parmesan wings, sweet chili wings, and curry wings (a flavor I’ve encounter here only, thus far.