Sunday, March 29, 2009
Luscious Dumplings Inc., San Gabriel
Luscious Dumplings has been on my list of restaurants to try for almost two years and I decided it was time to try it out. We drove down to San Gabriel Saturday and after making a few wrong turns no thanks to my GPS, we finally pulled into the parking lot. Immediately we spotted the line for Luscious Dumplings. I dropped my fellow foodie off to get a number and drove around to find parking. There were seven parties ahead of us and the restaurant looked like it only seated about 20-22 people.
Each party was given a menu to order before hand and after much discussion we decided on two dumpling dishes and two noodle soups. After a 40 minute wait, the young man came out and called our number. We were seated at a four top next to the window and waited patiently for our food.
Immediately after we sat down, one of the two waiters brought us hot tea and cabbage salad. The hot tea was a perfect way to cool down from standing in the heat for 40 minutes and the cabbage salad had a perfect balance of sweet and sourness and a nice crunchiness. This was a nice start to our meal.
Chive, pork, egg and shrimp Dumplings
When the dumplings arrived, they were much smaller than I had expected. Although small in comparison to dumplings served at restaurants like 101 Noodle Express, these dumplings have a much thinner wrapper. The filling had delicate texture but a strong chive flavor which over powered whatever shrimp flavor there might have been in the dumpling. Cutting back on the chives a little and including bigger chunks of shrimp would have made the dumplings better. However, a dip in the vinegar, soy and chili mix did bring some life to the dumplings. The thickness of the wrapper is just right, but some adjustments to the filling is needed to give it the "xian" or delicious factor.
Flavors stewed beef noodle soup (medium)
When the noodle soup arrived, the aroma of the beef had my mouth watering. The beef had been cooked for just the right amount of time and was infused with the wonderful flavors of the broth it had been cooking in. The smaller pieces melted right in my mouth. The larger lean pieces of beef were slightly dry, but still had wonderful flavor. The beef had a nice balance of sweetness from the rock candy and the saltiness from the soy sauce. The noodles, however, were over cooked for me and the broth was ordinary. The dish would have been better had it been served with some of the broth the beef was cooked in. However, a spoonful of noodles, beef and brother did make a wonderful combination in my mouth.
Beef tendon with hot sour sauce noodle soup (medium)
My eyes opened wide once the waiter set the noodle soup down. I blinked to make sure the large pieces of beef tendon jiggling on top of the noodles were in fact real and not a figment of my imagination. The hot and sour sauce arrived separately as described on the menu and my fellow foodie poured the sauce over the noodles. Before mixing everything together, I took a piece of tendon to try without the sauce. Although slightly chewier than I like my tendon to be prepared, the flavor was wonderful. Some pieces had fat attached to the tendon and others had a little pieces of meat, which made the tendon even more flavorful. The sauce worked well with the tendon, but I preferred mine without. A little too much sauce could definitely over power the tendon. The sauce did work well with the noodles, cabbage and sambal. Had the tendon been cooked for just a little bit longer, they would have been perfect. If you are looking to satisfy your craving for hardy pieces of beef tendon, this is the place to satisfy that craving. I will definitely try this noodle soup again.
Pork with soup, steamed
These steamed dumplings arrived with a side of sliced ginger. The waiter warned us that the dumplings were extremely hot so we waited a while before we tried them. Once I took a bit, I was surprised to find that the dumplings were filled with more soup than I had expected. The star of this dumpling is definitely the soup. The sweetness of the soup enhanced the flavor of the pork. The soup did not taste greasy as sometimes found in other dumplings filled with soup such as a xiao long bao. I did try one dumpling with the ginger, but I thought they were better enjoyed without. The eight dumplings vanished and left me craving for me. Next time, I will have to order more.
The two waiters who worked the front were very attentive and friendly. One of the waiters made small talk with the customers and always had a smile on his face, which made for a pleasant dinning experience. The restaurant was small with many people waiting in line for the next vacant table, but we never felt rushed by to staff. The service was almost as memorable as the pork with soup dumplings.
Overall, the meal was enjoyable. I will definitely go back for the pork with soup dumplings and the beef tendon noodle soup. I would also like to try the fried dumplings as well.
3.5 out of 5 Stars
704 W Las Tunas Drive
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Mainly 10 minute max parking in the parking lot, but there is plenty of two hour street parking.