Lai, who cooked at the famed Peninsula hotel in Hong Kong earlier in his career
Anyone know if Sergio cooked at Spring Moon at the Peninsula hotel? That’s the famed Cantonese restaurant that’s typically associated with the hotel. And if he did, I wonder what his position was when he worked there.
They used to give FTC shoutouts but that seems to have changed.
Maybe Kristie hang don’t play that.
Went this AM at opening for a light breakfast as my wife and I weren’t exactly starving but we both thought it would be a good chance to see what all the fuss is about. after visiting, this is clearly one of the go-to spots for elevated Cantonese food and they have one of the more interesting menus in town. We only ordered 4-5 dim sums and the sticky fried rice and all of them were delightful and fully deserving of the hype here.
With that said, pacing and service were borderline atrocious. It probably took an 1.1-5 hours to be served all of the dim sum. After an hour we asked about a lo mai gai and the server said they make everything fresh to order and they were finishing prepping it. It didn’t come out until we finished paying close to an hour later. From what I saw the regular menu items were being churned out of the kitchen pretty quickly so we concluded that they must have been down a dim sum chef. I get that they’re different parts of the kitchen but maybe don’t offer dim sum if you haven’t prepped anything.
In any event, the lag in pacing allowed us to marvel at many of the main dishes already seen here and we want to go back. Hopefully the post-Eater hype train doesn’t derail the kitchen/service. In case you’re wondering, there were about 20-25 folks waiting before opening at 10:30 and the dining room was packed - including the outdoors in about 15 mins.
Overall a great preview. I would say the only thing holding it back is the space itself - it is spartan and tiny - not quite on the grand level of some of the other banquet style canto places. I’m also not sure if the space is going to limit the kitchen from churning out consistently good food with this level of demand. We’ll be back to see if they worked the kinks out.
Nobody makes them to order so that is guaranteed to be a lie. They probably meant that they steam them to order.
Oh we definitely knew that. The servers were pretty frazzled as it was so I didn’t feel like dunking on them. This was after we landed on the missing dim sum chef hypothesis so that just confirmed everything. FWIW, it was tasty when it finally landed with the bill but they forgot to melt cheese on it which might have actually been a positive.
For sure! They should pan-fry them instead.
Growing too fast too soon can be as detrimental as not growing fast enough. Glad food quality isn’t suffering.
it always felt frazzled even when it was slow. Not sure what it is. Every time I’ve gone they’ve missed a dish, from when it’s busy to when we’re one of the only tables there.
I’m guessing they need more kitchen staff?
For us, it’s the kind of restaurant we’d eat at often if it were nearby, but we wouldn’t drive to north Pasadena again to eat there. No complaints (or raves) about the food. We agree with others that the service is off (e.g., we shouldn’t have to remind the waiter that we ordered tea). But I could tell they were trying.
FWIW they put together a really nice tea list too.
Do they take reservations? I’ve been trying to reach out but their published phone number goes unanswered with no voice mail and I sent a message through the website with no response. Do I even need a reservation for lunch on a Friday? Need a nice Hong Kong themed full service restaurant for a celebratory business lunch and this seems to best fit the bill.
they take reservations. Try shooting em a message on IG?
I usually call around 4pm or so and always get through.
lunch - I dunno
No. There were only about 5 parties there when I went last Friday.
Sup, fellow food degens? Been a minute. I haven’t eaten anywhere new that either really excited or pissed me off. Going to brain dump with poor formatting, organization, grammar, and general absence of coherent thought:
Holy shit, YES. There are couple misses, IMHO, but the hits fucking hit hard.
Their kitchen is still overwhelmed on weekends, particularly for first service:
- First service is the worst time to go. There’s a line before 10:30. Specials sell out fast.
- If you’re not there early for first service, dim sum takes at least 45 minutes. Servers are kind enough to inform you of that now. They’ve repeatedly claimed that it’s all made on the fly, but like @moonboy403 said, nobody does that. (However, if it’s not à la minute; there’s something insane going on… not sure how they don’t have space to stack enough steamers. Would also be insane if it is actually made-to-order, but… what if?)
- Got a Sunday 4PM reservation today. FOH was ready to roll, seated us, took our orders, and served tea/drinks–but BOH was unable to operate until 4:30PM due to reasons.
- The reservation proved to be unnecessary. We were a 9-top and the only table in the restaurant until almost 5PM. YMMV.
- My good friend, who’s on this forum under a name he won’t tell me (you ass, I know you’re reading this), has been there multiple times during the weekday. He’s had zero issues getting a table, specials, or off-menu items then.
You can’t reserve dishes anymore. They put a note on our general reservation for the crispy chicken. When taking our order, they said it would take 1.5hrs before they’d be done prepping (due to selling it out during lunch service) and able to fire. They said they’d check in with us when it was ready, to see if we still wanted it. The dish was brought to the table, unceremoniously, as a surprise. The server seemed wildly alarmed when he put it down; I’m pretty sure it’s the first time he brought something to the table where everybody gasped, applauded, and screamed in delight.
- Chow fun: I hesitate to say this, but I’ve had better chow fun at American Chinese restaurants. Frame of reference: I think PRD serves the best chow fun in LA. Maybe the expectations of my youth misinform me here.
- Black pepper diced beef: I hardly remember this dish, but it may have been because it was surrounded by many other incredible things.
- Cola wings: great chew and crisp on the wing edges, which is a feat, but the flavor didn’t stand apart from any I’d had before.
- Garlic broccoli: almost put this into the next category, but while the crispy bits of garlic are a fantastic touch, for $18 I’d go with another veg.
- Soy sauce chicken (off-menu): a little too sauced for my tastes… no amount of steamed rice would help. To be fair, this arrived as the last dish in a huge meal, which was a lot to deal with.
- Lamb hotpot (off-menu): the gaminess of the lamb and even intestine are tamed by the broth itself. The mystery sauce (please inform me; hints of chinese mustard and soy?) cut through everything, but that balance was unnecessary given the stew itself.
- Crispy honey shrimp: inverse of how Bistro Na butterflies their prawns. Just as enchanting, visually. The sauce wins versus the crisp, eat it as soon as it arrives.
- Braised tofu with mushroom + golden yolk luffa: grouping these because I have nothing more to offer than what’s already been said above.
- C R I S P Y C H I C K E N: starting with the obvious. Explaining this to someone is almost like trying to explain turducken, except it’s actually GOOD. I’d like to say, “fuck you,” to whoever came up with this concept originally–it sounds like such a dumb thing on paper–but you are absolutely brilliant.
- Golden short ribs + Calamari + Faux Gras Shimeji: I’m grouping these solely for absolutely flawless fry technique and seasoning profile. These are the items that disappear from the table first. (Also note that the short ribs are pork. This was a point of confusion for us idiots.)
- Lobster fried sticky rice (off menu): thought this would be more of a rice dish. Using the relatively small amount of sticky rice as a flavor/seasoning is absolutely fucking brilliant.
- Seafood scrambled milk: I’m mentioning this with an extreme caveat… I recently discovered this is a polarizing dish. It is apparently, texturally reminiscent of snot. I have tried making this a few times before, and while not terribly difficult to pull off, it is terribly difficult to perfect (think: a proper omelette or Cacio e Pepe). This is the best version I’ve had. Couldn’t tell you if they actually import water buffalo milk here, but the flavor and balance between liquid vs. solid are on point. It’s probably not a dish that will change your life, but if you’ve ever liked it, please try their version.
- Well-done beef vermicelli: this may be the most perfect example of what they’re doing there with Canto food. Several people claimed this as their favorite of the night. We were stuffed by the time it arrived, and there was nothing left to take home. Sleeper dish that undeniably deserves a place in your order.
tldr: Holy shit, YES. Show up on a weekday or when they open for dinner service on the weekend. Great service. Kitchen stil overwhelmed. Come with as many people as possible to try and buy as much of the menu as possible. Not the kind of place I would go to every week, but I have been actively fantasizing about the meal I had today for about 7-8 hours. I’m terrible at photographing food and never do it, but I took a picture of the chicken because I was so overjoyed.
this is the most FTC thing ever
I get this dish to go every week ha ha so good with rice
" The few, the proud, FTC"
I know. Parts of it was like reading vintage @kevin.
Anyone know if they have a corkage policy?