One of the dishes I really enjoyed during our trip to China was the Yang Rou Pao Mo from Tong Sheng Xiang in Xi'an. Dense, heavy, bread, which folks call "pita" but is not like any pita I'm familiar with is broken into edible pieces by hand. Once you've filled your bowl with enough of it, they whisk it away and fill the bowl with a gamey and flavorful mutton broth. It is heavy enough to keep you all day long and I really was looking for it when we returned from our trip. We tried the version at Beijing Restaurant in San Gabriel which was disappointing. So when I read about Shaanxi Gourmet on Dylan's Blog I got quite excited and a couple of days later we were driving up the I-5, headed to Rosemead.
The restaurant is of course, located in a strip mall off of Valley Boulevard, but is hiddn from the street. Though once you enter the parking lot, you can't miss the Terracotta Soldiers guarding the front door. The dining area is clean, the walls lined with photos of various dishes, and the restaurant is a bit smaller than it looks from the outside. You probably would only need two Terracotta Warriors to guard the place.
The service was kinda, well, slow and a bit disorganized, impatient, and let's just say, suited for the SGV. The menu, at least when we visited is interesting, it seemed that the vast majority of it was not translated into English.
Before making any big decisions, She had already gotten us some cold dishes to ward away our rising hunger.
These were adequate, but you can get better elsewhere......
Meanwhile, the Missus had already placed our order and in a matter of minutes our first dish arrived. The weather at that time had been pretty cold so we started with the spicy and sour soup with hand pulled noodles, the meatless version.
I loved the broth, which was light in viscosity, but full of flavor. There was definitely some Sichuan Peppercorn in this as we got some of that wonderful numbing sensation along with a bit of heat. The sour, was just enough to keep you wanting the next sip. The noodles were lovely, with a decent pull to them......I really enjoyed the noodles.
Still, I was waiting for my Yang Rou Pao Mo.....a part of me was hoping that the bread would be provided first for me to tear into bite sized pieces, but I guess practicality ruled here and the soup arrived with the bread diced into small pieces.
The broth was right on, a soulful, hearty, mutton soup. The bread was kind of strange as it was slimy and didn't really absorb the flavor of the broth. The pieces of mutton were pretty tender and had that wonderful flavor of the pasture.
It didn't quite take me back to Xi'an, perhaps as far west as New Guinea, but not quite there. Still this was pretty good and quite filling.
For our final dish, the missus looked over the menu and found something interesting......
I don't recall seeing Fen Zheng Yang Rou, lamb steamed with rice powder. But since we usually enjoy the various versions we've had of the dish, why not give it a try?
What we got this time around was some really tough lamb covered with gritty, grey colored powder. It was super bland and just not to our taste. For some reason, this reminded me of once when a bunch of us went camping at the beach and the guy assigned to cook ended up spilling the lunch into the sand and still tried serving it to us.
Overall, not a bad meal. I'd come back for those noodles and everyone seemed to be getting the Biang Biang Mian, which I think is Ku Dai Mian, super wide noodles the size of a sash/girdle. The service was spotty, one of the young women was really on top of things, but everyone else seemed to be walking in sand. Typical "A-B" (all business) SGV for us.