Welcome to Meanwhile in the SGV, a regular update of San Gabriel Valley restaurant updates from Eater’s roving reporter, Jim Thurman.
Rosemead— Fans of touted Chongqing-style eatery Best Noodle House were disappointed to discover a closed restaurant and a note on the door. The note announced a closure from August 21 to October 15 for “re-branding.” It’s unclear what that means exactly, but the message has regulars concerned. Best Noodle House opened in December 2016, garnering praise for its Chongqing-style noodle dishes, though the chef soon left to start his own place (Chongqing Special Noodles). Since the folks who owned and operated Best Noodle House turned over the various Chung King restaurants, this development wasn’t a surprise to keen SGV observers. 9329 Valley Blvd.
El Monte— Cantonese-style Auntie Ping Kitchen is a new restaurant with a 17 item menu that includes wonton soups and noodle soups, though they are really pushing their Hainan chicken. They also feature rice noodle rolls that are distinctly crinkly, like those found at E&J Yummy Kitchen in Monterey Park and Arcadia’s Mr. Champion. The menu mirrors those places, though much smaller and minus the congee. It replaces Wok Inn, which was an Americanized Chinese steam table takeout. 10472 Garvey Ave.
Temple City— New to Camellia Square is The Dive SKC. The restaurant, which has a location in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, is a Cajun-style seafood restaurant using steam kettle cooking (hence the SKC). The great success of Ritter’s Steam Kettle Cooking in Alhambra was probably the impetus behind The Dive entering the SGV market. The restaurant currently has a limited opening menu. 5708 Rosemead Blvd., Suite 100
San Gabriel— In a year lowlighted by closures of several long-time favorites, it’s great to report a comeback. Shen Yang, arguably the best Dongbei-style restaurant in the SGV, has returned as Shen Yang Tasty. Located just a short distance up San Gabriel Boulevard from their old location, the same extensive menu of Northeast Chinese dishes carries over into the new location. The space sat empty for years, but the last tenant was Hunan Restaurant. 127 S. San Gabriel Blvd.
San Gabriel— One Vietnamese restaurant replaces another, as Pho Hai replaces Pho Mai. Pho Hai specializes in beef pho, with twenty different beef options on the menu. The menu also features a good number of rice plates, along with a small selection of rice vermicelli and noodle dishes. Pho Mai opened late last November. Prior to that it was Chinese Sichuan chain Chuan Ren Bai Wei, though some still remember it fondly as Beijing Duck House, which despite its name, was a Shandong-style restaurant with dishes rarely seen in the SGV. 6420 Rosemead Blvd.
Monterey Park— Noodle Harmony, which features Sichuan and Hunan-style noodles, has opened in the Ranch 99 Plaza. 16 of the 47 item menu are noodle dishes, served either dry or in soup. 9 of those 16 are rice noodles, which are experiencing somewhat of a boom in the SGV. Hot dishes include steamed rice flour beef or intestine, and crunchy fried intestine. And, of course, there are appetizers and cold dishes. It replaces My Way Deli, a Taiwanese place that was around for more than a decade. 735 W. Garvey Ave.
Arcadia— Ludingji continues to expand their Yunnan-style rice noodle empire. Their third location in just 13 months has opened in the Ranch 99 Plaza in Arcadia. Look for the same menu, featuring one’s choice from five flavored soup bases with beef brisket or angus, fish or pork — rib or intestine — as options. It replaces hot pot place Duo-Pot. 1228 S. Golden West Ave.
Arcadia—Speaking of empires, Qin West Noodle continues to grow theirs. They’ve opened their fourth location, and first in the San Gabriel Valley, at the Westfield Santa Anita Mall. From their 2014 opening in a pre-hip Chinatown, they’ve smartly expanded to Westwood and near USC. The Arcadia location features a small menu of nine entrees, though liang pi, Shaanxi-style mo, Lizhou-style soup, and Guilin noodles are among them. 400 S. Baldwin Ave.
Hacienda Heights— New to the east SGV is Hao Jing Seafood. The restaurant features a fairly standard menu of Cantonese favorites. It replaces 310 Kitchen, which opened in late March and only lasted a short time. 2111 S. Hacienda Blvd.