Welcome to Meanwhile in the SGV, a regular report for San Gabriel Valley’s prolific and ever-changing restaurant scene. Reporting for the first time on Eater, roving reporter Jim Thurman finds all the latest highlights from America’s vibrant epicenter of Asian cuisine.
1) Alhambra: Contrary to reports, dim sum place Shi Hai has not closed, it has simply renamed itself as World Seafood Restaurant. We're told the chefs are the same and that the name change is all part of a rebranding and repositioning strategy, which is most obvious with a new menu and new pricing. 1412 S. Garfield Ave.
2) Monterey Park: De Cafe Baristas, a haven for specialty coffee lovers in the western SGV, has closed. Replacing it is Hexowl Coffee, which is part of the Boba Ave teahouse family. Look for a more ordinary variety of coffees, along with boba teas and snacks. Yelpers are not taking this change well. For the time being, Regent Coffee is the sole specialty/self-roasting coffee house in the western SGV. 500 N. Atlantic Blvd.
3) Monterey Park: In a surprising development, OK Café has returned from the dead. The Hong Kong-style café, which was last seen at Valley & Chapel in Alhambra in 2008, has re-opened in Monterey Park’s Atlantic Times Square in the space formerly occupied by Green Island. The menu is typical for a HK-style café, featuring a broad range of items — 207 in all (not counting beverages and desserts). Opening a matter of yards away from HK café powerhouse Tasty Garden is a gutsy move. 500 N. Atlantic Blvd.
4) Monterey Park: Shang Jie Kitchen, which used to be Liang’s Kitchen, has undergone another name change, to…Liang’s Kitchen. The menu of northern Chinese fare, heavy on lamb and featuring Shaanxi-style noodles, remains unchanged. 788 S. Atlantic Blvd.
5) Rosemead: Shanghai Bistro has replaced the well regarded Old Shanghai Kitchen. Old Shanghai Kitchen had Shanghai and Jiangzhe-style dishes, while reports indicate Shanghai Bistro leans more to Zhejiang-style (Zhejiang and Jiangsu being provinces adjacent to Shanghai). The sea cucumber with shrimp roe and cuttlefish with pork belly dishes remain on the bill of fare, along with other Shanghainese favorites. 7637 Garvey Ave.
6) Alhambra: Hunan Fire 'n Spice has replaced the short-lived second location of O Young’s Rock Pot (O Young's Temple City location remains open). The Hunan-style rock pots stay around, along with a menu of other Hunan specialties such as steamed fish head with peppers. 640 W. Valley Blvd.
7) Rosemead: Diep Thanh Thanh, a Vietnamese restaurant featuring pho, bun bo hue, broken rice (com tam) and churros, opened on September 6. To write that early Yelp reviews have been unkind would be a great understatement. It replaces Best One Restaurant, a Cantonese restaurant that was a popular tour bus stop. 8450 Garvey Ave.7637 Garvey Ave.