In the months leading up to our wedding, The Astronomer and I worked closely with New Capital Seafood to plan an exceptional banquet for our guests. The restaurant has a dozen set menus that most brides and grooms choose from, but we insisted on selecting each of the ten courses individually. Food might be an afterthought for some couples, but we wanted our guests to eat ridiculously well.
When the big day rolled around, The Astronomer and I were so caught up in laughing, dancing, toasting, and reveling that we ended up not eating much of the feast that we had thoughtfully planned. We stole a couple bites here and there in between making the rounds, but the party superseded the meal that evening.
We recently returned to New Capital Seafood to celebrate our first anniversary. Since we missed out on the ten-course banquet the first time around, we decided to order the whole shebang to share between the two of us. It was an over-the-top endeavor, but also incredibly festive and quite romantic.
The kitchen here has a tendency to rush things a bit, so we ordered three dishes at a time to control the pace and to avoid eating cold food. To start, we shared a luxurious platter of cold appetizers. The “house special combination” ($29) included jellyfish, pork hocks, beef brisket, roasted duck, and cuttlefish. Our favorites were the cinnamon- and anise-tinged brisket, as well as the glistening pieces of fatty duck.
The next dish to arrive was a super-sized bowl of hot and sour soup ($8.99) that our waiter messily dished out into two smaller bowls. Brimming with soft cubes of tofu, snappy woodear mushrooms, tender pieces of pork, and wispy curds of egg, the soup was soothing, well-balanced, and true to its name.
Everyone at our wedding raved about the lobster with ginger and scallions, so we were stoked to dig into our three pounder ($1 per pound with a $30 purchase). To strengthen our grips and to maximize our meat extracting abilities, The Astronomer and I abandoned our chopsticks and dove in with our fingers. The lobster meat was tender and sweet, with the essence of ginger and scallions perfuming each chunk.
The original wedding menu included vegetarian fried rice for our herbivore friends. Since The Astronomer and I are both enthusiastic omnivores, we ordered the Chiu Chow-style fried rice instead ($12.99). In between the grains of rice were fried taro, toasted peanuts, scallions, scrambled eggs, and roasted pork. The seasoning was a little on the bland side, but eaten with the salty proteins it tasted just right.
The lone vegetable on our menu was a platter of deceptively virtuous braised string beans ($8.99). Each skinny bean was imbued with savory and spicy flavors from the ground pork, soy sauce, and chilies.
The problem with sharing an order of Peking duck ($22.99) with a table of ten is that everyone only gets one bun, which is never ever enough. The Astronomer and I didn’t encounter such a situation this evening—we were both able to eat as many buns as our hearts and stomachs desired.
We made the most delectable little packages by swathing the warm buns with Hoisin sauce, tucking in a few crispy shards of duck skin, and garnishing it with fresh scallions. I put away three of these, while my dear husband finished off two.
We rested a short while following the first six courses, but plowed forward once the French-style fillet steak ($12.99) arrived. A Chinese interpretation of Vietnamese bo luc lac, the irresistibly tender cubes of beef struck a delicious balance between sweet and savory.
The Szechuan-style sauteed prawns ($12.99) were prepared to perfection as well. Both the shrimp and broccoli retained their characteristic snap. The dish’s flavor wasn’t as tongue-numbing as we had anticipated, but still a delight nevertheless.
The final savory course was steamed Red Rock Cod with ginger and scallions ($26.99). Lightly steaming the fish kept its flesh supple and tender while imparting the most spectacular flavor. The fish was really fantastic, but the best part of this dish for me was spooning the sauce over rice. Oh, so good!
For dessert, our waiter brought over complimentary bowls of sweet red bean soup and mango pudding. Although we appreciated the gesture, we mostly left them untouched because we had brought along a very special sweet.
For our final bite of the night, The Astronomer and I giddily dug into a miniature replica of our wedding cake. From the yellow fondant dots to the layers of lemon curd and blackberry jam, our friend Sarah made the cake identical to the one we enjoyed at our wedding. It was the perfect conclusion to the awesomest spread ever.
New Capital Seafood Restaurant
140 West Valley Blvd #4D
San Gabriel, CA 91776-3786