Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Dinner at Green Village - CLOSED

After hearing all the raves about Green Village, I finally made it out to dinner there last month. The "fanciness" of the restaurant interior with its gold and orange color scheme lost some of the elegant feel with the addition of flat screen TVs on the walls. What is it with flat screen TVs at Asian restaurants? Shouldn't the experience be about enjoying the food and the company as opposed to watching various Asian variety shows? Oh well, I digress; let's get on to the food.

After being seated and having settled down a bit, we were given the menu. This menu was no short story. It was an epic saga. Endless pages and pages of dialogue or in this case, various columns of Chinese characters on one side and maybe, an English translation on the other side listing the various menu items available for ordering. This was the time when I wish we had a native speaker in our midst to help decipher those items that didn't have any translations.

But we made do and proceeded to place an order for 11 different dishes. For this particular meal, there was definitely more "Yays" than "Nays," more "Oooohs" than "Boooos." Our delectable sojourn into Shanghai cuisine started with a cold appetizer, the Nan Jing Soya Duck. The duck had a soy sauce glaze that was very thick and amazingly enough, its flavor had a duality of sweet and salty. A little surprising, but quite delicious nonetheless.

After the duck came the Shanghai Sautéed Shrimp, which was a hit, but it was the Preserved Vegetables with Bean Starch Sheets that captured my interest next. When looking at the dish, the sheets looked like wide-shaped pasta noodles, but they had a light-chewy texture that really made for interesting eating with the vegetables they were mixed with.

From the Bean Starch dish, we went on to another unique-looking dish, the Hang Zhou Steamed Pork with Sweet Rice. Looking top to bottom, you see square chunks of pork (including the fat), surrounded by peanuts flattening a mound of brown rice. It was a very pretty dish although none of us had a clue as to what the dish was initially when it arrived at our table. Finally, one of us braved a forkful of meat, nut and rice and what was experienced was a first bite of both sweet, salty and savory – a wonderful melding of flavors. That first bite was soon followed by a second one, a third one and more.

After the Hang Zhou Pork dish, out came the Shanghai Fried Crab, Eggplant with Garlic Sauce and the Fish Fillet with Sweet Wine Rice Balls in quick succession. I didn't try the crab, but I sampled the other two dishes. The sauce for the eggplant was bursting with flavor between the garlic, green onions and red chili peppers while the fish fillet was mild and had a nice buttery texture, although for the life of me, I don't know where the wine rice balls were in that bowl because I certainly didn't see them.

Our tasty Shanghai travels ended with Sautéed Eels, Shanghai Style Fried Flat Noodles, Shanghai Pork Spare Ribs (House Style) and the Deep Fried Yellowtail. The eels didn't interest me and the fried noodles reminded me of Filipino noodles, so I skipped over those two; however, the pork ribs and the yellowtail were absolutely delicious.

The glaze for the Shanghai Pork Spare Ribs was spicy-sweet and the meat was cooked just right and the Deep Fried Yellowtail was amazing in that the batter was very light and yet, even with a more delicate batter, the fish meat was tender and moist and didn't get over-fried. This was dish our waiter actually recommended to us and we're glad he did.

This culinary adventure to Green Village was definitely a trip worth taking and I look forward to making a return visit so that I can taste even more unique Shanghai dishes from their extensive menu. Hopefully, you'll visit Green Village soon and see yourself that it's a restaurant being worth being "Shanghaied" to.

To see pics, go to:

Green Village Restaurant
250 W. Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA, 91776

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