Saturday, June 23, 2018

Longo Seafood (Rosemead, CA)

Longo Seafood Restaurant
7540 Garvey Ave, Rosemead, CA 91770
Sat 06/23/2018, 07:00p-10:00p

Longo Seafood Exterior

Some friends and I had been wanting to do a Chinese banquet dinner for a while now, and we finally made it happen recently. Our venue of choice was Longo, which opened last September and is one of the more talked-about Hong Kong-style seafood restaurants around. As far as I know, the place isn't affiliated with the popular Toyota dealership in El Monte. Rather, the name is based on the restaurant's Chinese moniker: Hong De Pinwei.

Longo Seafood Interior
Longo Seafood Interior
Longo's probably one of the nicer-looking Chinese joints around town. The main dining area features a showy chandelier replete with an awkwardly placed column that I'm assuming is meant to evoke a tree trunk. The space also boasts an almost comically large television screen and is flanked by a number of private and semi-private dining rooms. We were fortunate enough to be seated in the fanciest of the PDRs, one featuring built-in karaoke equipment as well as its own bathroom. Note that this address has been home to a number of restaurants throughout the years, and former residents include Sunshine Seafood Palace/New Sunshine, Crown Palace, The Sun City, Sun City Seafood, LA Bistro, King Palace, New Capital/Seafood King, and Seafood City.

Longo Seafood Menu: Buy One Get One Free Longo Seafood Menu: Live Seafood Longo Seafood Menu: Appetizers Longo Seafood Menu: BBQ & Soy Sauce Longo Seafood Menu: Soup / Abalone & Sea Cucumber Longo Seafood Menu: From South to North
Longo Seafood Menu: From South to North Longo Seafood Menu: Fish / Shrimp / Scallop Longo Seafood Menu: Clams & Oysters / Frog / Squab Longo Seafood Menu: Pork • Chicken • Beef / Vegetarian Longo Seafood Menu: Vegetables / Tofu Longo Seafood Menu: Congee • Noodles • Rice / Desserts
Above we see Longo's menu, which is about par for the course, listing your usual Cantonese favorites in addition to some more unexpected choices. Note, however, that we didn't actually order from said menu. Instead, the organizer of our dinner had his uncle arrange everything ahead of time, and we paid an agreed-to price of $139.75 a head--not including 9.5% tax and mandatory 20% gratuity--for our party of eight. Click for larger versions.

Chicken Feet
Duck Parts in Soy Sauce
When I arrived, I found that our table was already set with a couple complementary appetizers: chicken feet and assorted duck parts in soy sauce.

2002 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut
We were able to get corkage waived, so I brought along a bottle of 2002 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut. Very appealing bouquet of apple with traces of minerality and light citrus. Its palate was fresh, bright, smooth, with massive amounts of pome fruit backed by a trace of toast. The wine really had a vivaciousness that belied its age, and was drinking very well this evening.

Longo Suckling Pig (Half)
1: Longo Suckling Pig (Half)
We commenced with half a roast pig, one featuring tender, juicy, richly flavored flesh and, more importantly, a wonderfully thin, crisp, "shatter-y" layer of skin that seemingly broke apart at the slightest bite. It was certainly delicious alone, but I didn't mind a dab of the sweet-ish, hoisin-like sauce on the side either. Probably the best cui pi shao zhu that I've had, and a very promising start to the meal.

Live Giant Clam
2: Live Giant Clam | Sashimi
A raw presentation of xiang ba bang worked as a welcomed contrast to the meat above. Texturally, I found the geoduck somewhat crunchy, but still supple, with a fresh, mild sweetness at first transitioning to a growing, persistent brine. Great with a dip into the paired soy sauce (which also contained a dollop of the strongest wasabi any of us had ever had).

Salt-and-Pepper Giant Clam
The innards of the clam were prepared salt-and-pepper style, which was a hit as well. I loved how the soft, creamy internals worked with their fried exteriors, while the salinity of the clam just made sense alongside the aggressive S&P notes and heat present.

Live Scallop
3: Live Scallop | Steamed w/ Garlic
This was another table favorite, and one of the best preparations of shanbei that I've had in recent memory (Chinese or otherwise). I was a huge fan of the scallops' thin, crisp "skin," which worked wonders texturally. Meanwhile, flavors were subtly sweet 'n' oceany, and a great match with the dish's exquisitely herby, eggy sauce (we eagerly supped up the remainder).

2015 Kistler Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard
Next to imbibe was the 2015 Kistler Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard. Lovely aromas of peach and flowers, with a definite sweetness. The palate was very enjoyable too, showcasing rich, concentrated tropical fruit and herb, all leading to a slight nutty character on the finish.

Black Truffle & Bird's Nest Thick Soup
4: Black Truffle & Bird's Nest Thick Soup
The soup course was another standout. Its aromas were really quite heady, displaying an almost cheese-like funk intermingled with a mushroom-y umami note. The taste was similarly intense with its aggressively earthy, barnyard-y, but super comforting flavors, while the yanwo contributed a silky, gelatinous consistency to the broth.

Braised Fresh Abalone
5: Braised Fresh Abalone
Baoyu had a meaty, satisfyingly substantial texture that almost reminded me of an especially firm tofu. Its taste, meanwhile, was rich and robust, with tons of umami backed by a layer of marine sweetness. Great counterpoint here from the paired pea shoots.

Braised Sea Cucumber
6: Braised Sea Cucumber
Along with the abalone came a whole haishen, with its slippery, jellylike consistency. As expected, it didn't have much flavor on its own, but instead took on the dark, savory flavors of its sauce. And again, the slight bittersweetness of the pea pod leaves really worked for balance.

2010 Château Sixtine Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Red wine duties were handled by the 2010 Château Sixtine Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which we decanted for about an hour. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I got an intense nose brimming with dark fruit, meat, earth, and olive. On the palate I detected more savory nuances, more olive, along with eucalyptus, mint, and berry fruit. Superbly balanced overall, and a beautiful pairing with some of our more darker-toned dishes.

Fried Squab
7: Fried Squab
Deep-fried ru ge was as good as any I've had. The bird came out properly juicy, with an immensely gratifying savoriness cut by the sweet spiciness of star anise. The best part? That ultra thin, crisp skin that broke apart perfectly.

Live Boston Lobster
8: Live Boston Lobster | Ginger & Scallion
Next was a prototypical Hong Kong-style preparation of lobster. This one hit the mark as well, its springy, spongy flesh displaying a sweet 'n' savory flavor profile that really sang with the zestiness of those scallions.

Lobster Porridge
The miscellaneous bits of the lobsters above were incorporated into a soup. For me this was cozy and homey, with a refreshingly robust vegetal component and a great textural element from all the rice.

Live Coral Trout
9: Live Coral Trout | Steamed
Our final savory course brought out steamed dongxingban. I found the fish utterly tender, with an almost pillow-y consistency, while flavors were decidedly delicate, really taking well to the soy and scallion.

2011 Château Guiraud Sauternes
A half bottle of the 2011 Château Guiraud Sauternes served as our dessert wine. It smelled delectable, conveying super concentrated notes of pineapple and dried apricot, along with a bit of floral character. The palate was thick, round, and loaded with honey, stone fruit, and raisin, but also backed by a balancing acidity. Delightful.

Homemade Walnut Sticky Rice Ball
10: Homemade Walnut Sticky Rice Ball
I found our first dessert somewhat reminiscent of Nesquik (a childhood staple of mine), but diluted. Think chocolate-y and nutty, with soft tangyuan-like glutinous rice balls adding further interest to the dish.

Longo Crepe
11: Longo Crepe
Next up were thin, savory, somewhat cong you bing-esque pancakes, wrapped around a sweet, nutty filling.

Osmanthus Pudding / Imperial Green Bean Cake / Coconut Milk Red Bean Cake
We ended with blocks of fragrant, tea-like Osmanthus Pudding; classically sweet Coconut Milk Red Bean Cake; and cool, nutty, minty Imperial Green Bean Cake.

Paderia Bakehouse Chocolate Walnut Cookie
One of my fellow diners happened to be an investor in Paderia Bakehouse in Fountain Valley, one of the buzzier OC openings of the past year. To supplement the desserts above, he brought along a box of the bakery's signature Chocolate Walnut Cookies. Weighing in at six ounces each, they were certainly the heaviest cookies I've ever tried, and rather tasty too: crisp on the outside, soft and oh-so chocolate-y on the inside, with walnuts plus pecans for a nutty contrast.

It'd been way too long since I'd last had a banquet-style dinner, and I'm really glad we finally got around to organizing one at Longo. The meal was basically flawless, and the food was executed with level of precision and finesse that I frankly wasn't expecting. In fact, many of the items were among the best (if not the best) examples of their respective dishes that I've tasted. Service, meanwhile, was pretty exceptional, though this was probably because we were in a private dining room. Overall, one of the strongest Chinese meals I've ever had, no doubt.


Blogger Charlie Fu said...

No King Crab!? One of the best spots in town for it!

Thursday, July 05, 2018 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Right Way to Eat said...

Dude, you hang with the Paderia group?

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 2:48:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dear comrade Charlie fu
Thank you for ur fake news , on your comment of majordomo . Tell ur PR firm bad job . U can't save that dump

Wednesday, July 11, 2018 5:00:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This place is still much more interesting than majordomo aka majordamage

Wednesday, July 11, 2018 5:01:00 PM  

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