Embassy Kitchen: Several Dinner Visits
Sure, I've talked about Embassy Kitchen several times about its lunch offerings, but how about dinner?
Dinner is a bit different than lunch. Other than it being more expensive, you also get different items which aren't featured on the lunch menu. During dinner it also gets very crowded as well, which is very weird as the lunch menu offers way better deals compared to the dinner menu!
A nice way to start off dinner is a hot piping bowl of soup. And the soup we usually order here is the Fish Maw and Corn Soup which costs 11.50.
Unlike Phoenix Inn's corn and fish maw soup, Embassy Kitchen's rendition is much more flavorful. There is plenty of fish maw as well as corn, and the soup has a creamy yellow color, compared to the almost clear color that Phoenix Inn serves. Red vinegar and pepper is also available on request, but sometimes they give it out automatically.
Occasionally, we'll order the X.O. Pork with Veggies ($12), which isn't fairly consistent. Once, we got a overall sour feeling of the dish (not in a good way), but this time we didn't. Plenty of sliced pork, as well as bell peppers, peppers, and mountain yam in this dish. I'd say it is a good combination with rice, which costs 90 cents per person (sometimes coming in a small bowl per person, and at other times as a big bowl with refills), as there is plenty of heat and flavor in the dish.
Another occasional order is sea cucumber, which has a very light flavor. It is topped on a bed of lettuce, which seems more like a filler than a good component- although it provides a textural contrast, it is crispy, while the sea cucumber is tender with a slight bounce to it. No weird flavors from the sea cucumber found here, unlike some places. And plus, it was very well cleaned, which doesn't happen at all places we have been to. Sea cucumber is not easy to clean!
The servers recommended us their French Style Beef Tenderloin with Green Beans ($14), which was a great combination of sweet honey and spicy black pepper. The beef tenderloin was very tender, and the green beans had a shriveled exterior with a crisp finish to it. In addition, there were pieces of diced onion and thinly sliced carrot in the dish. Again, this was another great dish with rice due to the great bold flavor.
Another dish we like is their Oysters with Honey($11.50 for 4 people), which consists of lightly fried oysters, tomatoes, and a black pepper/honey sauce which is tossed with the fried oysters. The textures are great- from the lightly crisp exterior of the oyster to the tender and flavorful interior. This is yet another dish that is good with rice.
This dish, their steamed eggplant, is one of their specialty dishes. But we didn't like it as we wanted to. Why? Well, at first, they never gave the dish to us in the first place. And when we asked them to hurry up with the order, they didn't. And then at the last minute, they said "it would be coming". And it seemed as if this dish was prepared in a rush. The eggplant was fried and then steamed, and you could definitely taste the fry oil flavor. However, everything else was fine- there was a meaty broth that came out, as well as plenty of ground pork and dried scallop in the dish- still pretty light though with the flavors. Due to the fact it was slow, we got free rice. But still, only if that eggplant wasn't fried...it would have been tastier!
A dish we do like and have ordered for a long time is Oxtail and Lotus Root ($10.50). There are many tender pieces of oxtail- the meat falls out easily from the bone. The lotus root is tender and slightly crisp. And the sauce is a concentrated flavor of both items. Very good with rice!
This dish was something we ordered here at Embassy Kitchen for the same time. The dish basically is a base of steamed egg, and then on top is a mix of seafood tofu.
See the layers? It was plenty to feed for 4 people- you could do 8 if everyone got a smaller serving. If you look closely, there is also some shrimp roe in the dish. With that said, this dish was a light dish with many yummy flavors. The steamed egg was cooked perfectly- a bit firm and very tender. The top portion consisting of asparagus, shrimp scallops, mushroom, and tofu was very flavorful and again, great with rice (how many times am I repeating this statement?)!
If you have been following reading my comments on other restaurant's steamed fish, you would know that I personally think Embassy Kitchen does the job the best compared to all the other Chinese seafood places in the area. And really, it is excellent and very consistent. Sometimes, the only choice available is tilapia, but usually red cod is also available, and that is what we like best (we do tilapia at home frequently so ordering at a restaurant doesn't make that much sense, and plus fresh red cod (live) isn't available all the time at our local supermarket).
The meat of the fish is always firm, but tender. It's always fresh- no added weird ingredients. And the soy sauce pairs very well with the fish- not too salty or sweet, so that it doesn't overpower the flavor from the fish.
And to go along with the food, we sometimes order a vegetable. These peatips were good, but we don't always order them as veggies in a Chinese restaurant for dinner seem to cost a lot compared to if you cooked them at home!
Every dinner ends with a free, complimentary bowl of red bean soup. Sometimes, the owners have given us extra too as they think we like it a lot (which we do). Also, a reason for giving extra away is that like a buffet, they throw away any left over dessert soup. It is better for the customer to enjoy it than to throw it away right?
Their red bean soup is sweet with hints of aromatics, and lots of broken apart red beans. The last visit, it smelled and tasted like it was burnt. I don't expect that to encounter that again!
Embassy Chinese Restaurant
218 South San Gabriel Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91776