Monterey Palace Spread

Monterey Palace Spread
Originally uploaded by jihfang.
Monterey Palace Restaurant in Monterey Park: A Lunch Time Winner

On one rainy noonish Monterey Park day, I joined Gena and some of her chinese tennis buddies on a lunch outing to Monterey Palace Restaurant. I was supposed to do some tabling for the Lunar New Year festival that morning but apparently electrical cords and messy tent setups don't mix well with wet weather. I invited one Alex S. out for the lunch affair and it was ON!

I was first impressed by the clean and friendly service. The place was packed, as it should be on a weekend lunch hour. The parking is not quite sufficient but there is always street spaces nearby.

There should be NO reason to order OFF of the lunch special menu because they cover practically everything. As you can see by the adjacent photo of the overall lunch spread we had the following items:

1. The "Koh" Meat with Sour Pickled Cabbage (see closer pic in entry below). This is a fatty pork classic in the Taiwanese gastronomy. I've had it momma's style so this restaurant type was far fattier (yet more tender) and much sweeter than our homemade version. Lots of sugar. But it makes the meat that much more succulent. I avoid the cabbage part but suffice it to say that you can still enjoy the meat sitting on top of the Taiwanese's answer to sourkraut if you don't like the particular flavors.

2. Roast Duck with Shrimp Chips. Self-explanatory. Chips weren't too greasy. The real star is the juicy and well-crisped skin of the chicken. I prefer to eat it without the dip in the salt but that condiment is available on the dish.

3. Beef Chow Fun. This was surprisingly good, given the fact that there is a lot of chow fun out there...often cheap and greasy. This had some subtlety in the taste. Been so long since I had it I can't recall the nuances. But trust me. Don't recall having been so pleasantly surprised by chow fun in a long time.

4. Seafood dish with Asparagus. Forgot its formal name but this was yummy too. Not too drenched with corn starch thickener. Flavors were light and the dish came with plenty of meaty chunky seafood...fish, scallops, etc. Great dish to get that's lighter and that will give you plenty of chunky asparagus to fulfill your well-rounded diet vege quota and stuff.

5. Fried Squid. Yet another dish often served, but rarely done with subtlety. This had a light batter that was nicer than most San Gabriel Valley cafe type places. There was more meaty substance to the squid chosen. A definite winner.

6. Tofu stuff with Baby Bok Choy. Uh. I didn't order this. Texture of the tofu roulades were weird but the others seemed to like it. Bok Choy is fresh and stir-fried. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Read below for info & directions.


Blogger illewminator said...

well-done... even though it took you over 2 months to post it.

ok, some comments/corrections just for the record:

1. i didn't know it was called "koh" meat in taiwanese -- the cantonese folk just call it good eatin'. this is basically thick slabs of fatty pork (think uncured bacon slabs) stewed in a sweet soy sauce marinade. eat a slice along with some steaming white rice and you got yourself a meal!

2. it was fried chicken, not roast duck.

3. beef chow fun, chiu chow style. this style, which we tried for the first time, was a surprising winner. instead of the usual soy sauce flavor, this version used that oily chinese bbq/satay sauce that comes in the big silver can. you know, the kind you use to make the dipping sauces when you have hotpot... good stuff.

4. scallops with asparagus. scallops were large, tender and plentiful, esp. given the price.

5. fried calamari... yum.

6. i believe i ordered this because they were out of the ong choy (a green veggie with hollow stems) that i originally wanted to order. we saw another table get this, so we got the same. i actually liked this despite the fact that the tofu "roulades" were different. i thought it was a good, subtle veggie dish to balance out all the other flavors on the table.

but jenny didn't mention THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of this meal... the bill for all of this food came to a paltry $32. and there were 6 of us and we were stuffed. Monterey Palace Restaurant is a great lunch spot -- an extensive lunch menu with a wide variety of choices, and all priced between $4.95 and $6.95.

a few weeks ago, my entire tennis team (and fans) came back for lunch after one of our matches, so we had a table of 14-15. our bill came to a total of $80 (or about $5-6 ea.)! amazing...

dinner prices are more expensive, which i guess allows them to make up for practically giving their lunch away.

4/12/2005 2:54 PM  
Blogger illewminator said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/12/2005 2:54 PM  

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