On a recent drive up to the San Gabriel Valley, we arrived earlier than expected, and found that our choices for that day weren't open yet. The Missus suggested checking out JZ Restaurant, a place that has seemed to be here forever. The Missus is always pointing out this place, and I guess it's has a bit of an odd attraction for Her.
We had wanted to try this place out on previous visit, but the parking lot very small for a stripmall containing a couple of restaurants, including a Popeyes. On this morning there were a couple of open spaces, though folks were still double parking in front of the bakery.
The interior of the restaurant is clean and screams "I'm a Chinese restaurant"......
The menu was a study in Shanghainese standards. Since this was "breakfast" for us, we ordered two cold dishes, and some Xiao Long Bao.
We started with one of the Missus's favorite dishes, the Smoked Fish ($4.95):
We both thought the flavor was "spot on", the deep sweet-soy flavor was excellent. The texture was not so great as the fish was terribly hard and almost stringy. Good flavor, unpleasant texture.
I ordered the Salt Cured Duck ($4.95):
The Missus couldn't eat this....I think the grey pallor of the salt preserved duck really killed Her appetite. As for the flavor, it tasted a bit "off", with almost a stale refrigerator flavor. It wasn't very salty, and didn't have that wonderful cured flavor that the version at Wok and Noodle had. Come to think of it, the Missus couldn't bring Herself to eat that either......
And of course, to top off our breakfast, we had to try some Xiao Long Bao ($4.95):
The wrappers on these were okay, not too thick, and not too thin, but on the brittle side. There wasn't enough "soup" in the bao, and the overall flavor was less sweet than what I'm used to. Just medciocre overall, but another XLB to add to my collection. BTW, one of these days I'll return to Din Tai Fung to do a post..... I was just a bit underwhelmed by the XLB there.
The women working here were very nice, and came to check on us a couple of times. The place is very clean, and as you can tell, the prices are quite inexpensive! That parking lot can be a horror though.
727 E Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776