Ever since Chengdu Taste came into my life a few weeks ago and the idea of sampling every dish on the 100+ item menu took hold, I’ve been returning to the restaurant anytime anyone requests a Chinese food outing. Or at least I try to.
On a recent Saturday afternoon, The Astronomer and I veered from our spicy standby due to a standing lunch date with Sichuan-averse friends. Instead, we headed to Tasty Noodle House, a highly respected Dalian spot famous for its clean flavors and cooking finesse.
The dining room is tiny, bright, and modern, while service comes with a smile. My last two restaurant outings in the neighborhood have boasted notable hospitality and atmospheres. I’m sensing a sea change in the San Gabriel Valley, so we’ll see if this streak continues.
To start, we shared a platter of sliced jellyfish head marinated in chili and black vinegar ($6.99). Chilled, snappy, and balanced just so, this starter was outstanding.
Since our friends lead more virtuous lives than we do, a plate of greens ($7.99) was in order. The garlic wok’d vegetables were impressively fresh and not the least bit bitter.
After bombarding our palates with Sichuan peppercorns and chilies on the regular, The Astronomer and I treated our senses to a mellow bowl of cold noodles with sesame sauce, julienned cucumbers, and poached shredded chicken ($5.99). Slurping without burning—what a novel concept.
The scallion pancakes’ ($3.99) buttery flavor and unparalleled flakiness dazzled the entire table. These babies were something really special.
Our friend Miri was interested in a whole fish preparation, and after some back and forth with our lovely waitress, we selected the home-style, slow-cooked fish with tofu and glass noodles ($12.99), a specialty from her hometown.
Imbued with ginger, scallions, and soy sauce, the fish was devoured until all that was left was a pile of bones. Our waitress beamed with pride.
And then came a duo of dumplings. Our friend Andrew, a dumpling lover and connoisseur, declared these pan-seared specimens some of the best that had ever passed his lips ($6.99). The filling was juicy and crammed with pork, while the skins were pliable and crisp. Look at the sear on those things!
And finally, pork-filled puffs that really hit the mark ($6.99). While vinegar and soy sauce were available for dipping, these tasted perfectly great straight up.
After bidding our friends farewell, The Astronomer and I remarked on how relatively light we felt after such a grand feast. I’m not sure how they do it at Tasty Noodle House, but the food is on point, while the amount of oil used is kept in check. Now, that’s a win-win in my book.
Tasty Noodle House
827 West Las Tunas Drive
San Gabriel, CA 91776
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