What was just another good strip-mall noodle joint has become a food-lover’s destination in recent months, ever since Jonathan Gold discovered that it had a new chef who is quite serious about his cooking. It’s still a little strip-mall joint, but it’s now more attractive and comfortable than most, with booth seating and friendly service. As for the food, well, Gold is right once again. We’re still working our way through the most popular dishes on the menu, but we can tell you that the beef noodle soup, with handmade noodles and a rich broth, is a class above most, as are the thin, crisp scallion pancakes, and the dumplings and bao are works of doughy art. The surprise is the quality of the Sichuan dishes, given that this place specializes in Shanghai dumplings and northern-style cooking; try the Sichuan eggplant and you’ll see what we mean. And how many mini-mall cafés in the south San Gabriel Valley have chefs who seek out organic, quality ingredients and eschew MSG? We rest our case.
827 W. Las Tunas Ave., San Gabriel, 626.284.8898. L & D Mon.-Wed. & Fri.-Sun. Chinese. No booze. Cash only. $