Mar 2017

Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant – Arcadia

Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant - Arcadia - Santa Anita Mall

The Astronomer and I went on a double date to the Santa Anita Mall. And no, our parents didn’t drop us off. ūüėČ

Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant - Arcadia - Santa Anita Mall

We met up with Will and Louise for dinner at Meizhou Dongpo, the second U.S. outlet of a Beijing-based Sichuan restaurant. Without our little gals in tow, we were able to fully take in the polite service, fancy atmosphere, and numbing peppercorns.

Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant - Arcadia - Santa Anita Mall

Even though the restaurant¬†isn’t know¬†for its dan dan mian¬†($3.60), I couldn’t resist ordering a bowl¬†anyway because they are¬†my favorite Sichuan specialty. The version here¬†was perfectly slurp-able, but nothing extraordinary.

Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant - Arcadia - Santa Anita Mall

The bang bang ji ($11.80), on the other hand, was certainly something with its tender chicken bathed in chili oil. The balance of spice, both heat and numbing, was right on point.

Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant - Arcadia - Santa Anita Mall

With a vegetarian at the table, we made sure to order a number of meatless dishes this evening. The bamboo shoots ($13.50) were the first to arrive. Simply seasoned and ideally snappy, the bamboo shoots offered a welcomed change of pace from the more assertive dishes at the table.

Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant - Arcadia - Santa Anita Mall

Hands-down, my favorite dish of the night was the sliced Meizhou Dongpo sausage ($19.80). We were presented with¬†three varieties, each with different degrees of fat and spice. The best of the trio¬†fell in the center of the spectrum—neither too lean nor too fatty and spiced just right.

Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant - Arcadia - Santa Anita Mall

Also on deck was the “Classic Dongpo Pork” ($6.90)—a sweetly braised hunk¬†of belly dressed to the nines with crispy skin and soy-caramel sauce.

Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant - Arcadia - Santa Anita Mall

The pork¬†buns ($4.80) were alright, just alright…

Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant - Arcadia - Santa Anita Mall

… as were the vegetarian potstickers ($5.50) with sweet and sour sauce.

Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant - Arcadia - Santa Anita Mall

Louise’s favorite dish from an earlier visit was the Sichuan-style fried chicken ($18).¬†While the¬†la zi ji¬†wasn’t as good tonight in her estimation, we liked the crispy chicken nuggets, lightly glazed¬†and punctuated with¬†salt¬†and Sichuan peppercorns, quite a bit.

Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant - Arcadia - Santa Anita Mall

The¬†“Eggplant in Garlic Sauce” ($13) was homey and satisfying; the eggplant soaked¬†up the sauce like a sponge.

Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant - Arcadia - Santa Anita Mall

The final savory on the scene was the vegetarian mapo tofu ($15). Heaped atop steamed white rice, this dish was as comforting as the one that preceded it.

Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant - Arcadia - Santa Anita Mall

To finish, we shared the sugar-dusted “Crispy, Sticky Rice Cakes” ($7.80)—a sweet finish to our Sichuan feast.

Meizhou Dongpo sets itself apart from the Sichuan pack with its swanky dining room and savvy service. While the¬†food was very good this¬†evening, especially the sausages, it wasn’t as exceptional as our¬†Sichuan standbys¬†Chengdu Taste and¬†Szechuan Impression. Still,¬†I wouldn’t hesitate to return for a bite the next time I’m at the mall and hankering for numbing spice.

Meizhou Dongpo Restaurant at Westfield Santa Anita
400 S Baldwin Avenue
Arcadia, CA 91007
Phone: 626-538-4580

One¬†year ago:¬†Trois Familia ‚Äď Los Angeles (Silver Lake)
Two years ago: 
‚ÄúJonathan Gold‚Äôs Scouting Report #5: Mariscos El Cristalazo‚Ä̬†
Three years ago:
Martha Lou’s Kitchen – Charleston
Four years ago: 
Allumette ‚Äď Los Angeles (Echo Park)
Five¬†years ago:¬†Mirak ‚Äď Los Angeles (Koreatown)
Six¬†years ago:¬†Dynamo Donuts and Coffee ‚Äď San Francisco
Seven¬†years ago:¬†Church & State ‚Äď Los Angeles (Downtown)
Eight¬†years ago:¬†Veggie Life Restaurant ‚Äď South El Monte
Nine years ago: Eating in Bangkok I
Ten¬†years ago:¬†Pico de Gallo ‚Äď San Antonio

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