I’ll be the first to admit that I’m geographically biased when it comes to Chinese food.
My reaction when someone suggests Chinese outside of the SGV:
I know, I can be kinda snobby about it. But hey, when when presented with the opportunity to track a good one down…
My discovery: The Palace in Los Feliz. The decor, menu and service are utterly Americanized. The Chinese flairs (wooden poles, bright red paint, zodiac signs) were over the top and the lunch menu was a sad selection of options like kung pao chicken and fried rice (the elusive “white man” menu).
Note: The management is conscious of this. The waiter admitted to me that their main clientele is not Asian and that they don’t try to be “authentic.” But the chef comes from Guangdong and no MSG is used in their dishes.
I ended up inquiring about their specialities and ordering off menu. Needless to say, we were pleasantly surprised.
I know I’m going to cause a mini-controversy around these statements..but this is actually comparable to the version over at my all-time fav, Yunku Garden in Monterey Park. It’s not overwhelming oily and the fish is cooked to a tee.
Eggplant:The eggplant was the only thing on the Americanized lunch menu that we ended up ordering. Nicely done, sauteed with a garlic sauce and veggies.
Jielan (Chinese broccoli): Tender and served with oyster sauce.
I only tried three dishes so I really don’t have that broad of a feel. The prices are higher than the SGV but that’s understandable. My conclusion? Even though The Palace is utterly “Americanized,” they make good Chinese food. (I wish the same concept applied for the Chinese joints in New York City. Grand Sichuan on St. Marks…I’m looking at you)
You just have to ask for it.