Come dinnertime, Golden Soup is a sprawling Chinese language seafood restaurant like so many others — a large banquet corridor with many giant spherical tables, and seats occupied by prolonged household teams consuming a variety of wondrous dishes.

As is the model of so many San Gabriel Valley eateries that transport you to Hong Kong along with your first chew, Golden Soup gives a alternative of 4 “Feast Menus,” ranging in worth from $298 to $468, with 10 dishes per feast, stretching from fried prawns with honey walnuts and fish maw soup on the $268 degree…as much as prawn & jellyfish with XO sauce and baked lobster with salted egg yolk on the $468 prime.

For dinner, in case you’re going à la carte, there’s a hardbound 16-page menu, lavishly illustrated with colour images, with two sections of home specialties — 18 Particular Dishes and 20 Chef Particular Dishes.

Lots of the seafood dishes are marked as “Seasonal Value,” with a alternative of cooking strategies — within the case of the reside native thorny fish (the picture of which is fairly menacing!), there’s “steamed, French-style, and boiled in creamy rice soup two-style (head in soup, tail steamed).” Spectacular. However they’re removed from distinctive among the many multitude of choices that stretch from Monterey Park to Rowland Heights.

However what does set Golden Soup aside is the lunch menu, served from 11 a.m. to six p.m. each day, it brings in crowds which may be much more appreciable than those that flock to Golden Soup for dinner.

The lunch menu is outsized, and greater than slightly overwhelming — by way of decisions not less than. However not by way of worth. For lunchtime, there are 69 dishes priced at $9.95 apiece — and that features a soup of the day and steamed rice. It’s a throwback to the Chinese language eating places of my youth; all that’s lacking is the requisite egg roll, together with loquats and fortune cookies for dessert. Golden Soup takes me again to New York’s Chinatown, the place I found there’s extra to life than chopped liver and pizza.

Curiously, the 69 $9.95 lunch dishes usually are not segmented underneath culinary headings, as they usually are — and certainly are come dinnertime. And truly, as you start to determine your meal, you understand there are way over 69 dishes out there. On the prime of the menu, as an example, there’s “rooster or beef or pork with broccoli” — which by my rely is three totally different dishes. Choices like which can be everywhere in the menu.

However there are basic areas of division — with nearly all of rooster dishes on the prime, adopted by quite a few beef or pork creations, main into the large center part of seafood, and ending up with a number of vegetable dishes.

It’s a great factor there’s a paper take-home lunch menu, permitting you to determine your meal earlier than you are available in. Since there’s additionally a six-page hardbound lunch menu; you may sit there from lunch to dinner, attempting to determine what to feed to your more and more hungry desk of heavy forks. (Although in its protection, the hardbound lunch menu additionally has a full-color {photograph} of each dish, which actually helps.)

What to get? When in a Chinese language seafood restaurant, I lean closely towards — what else? — the seafood. Starting, on this case, with the baked shrimp in pepper salt — a strikingly giant portion for the cash, of well-cooked shrimp, considerably overwhelmed with crunchy pepper salt. Subtlety and understatement usually are not hallmarks of the kitchen right here, or at just about any Chinese language seafood home I’ve been to.

Dishes are sauced with abandon, flavors are intense, and just about hit you over the pinnacle with their directness. It’s not a grievance; an excessive amount of subtlety is usually a little bit of a bore. I like dishes that loudly announce themselves. That’s what garlic is all about. And it’s actually what the garlic within the spiced eggplant in garlic sauce, and the spinach with entire garlic accomplish.

For another set of flavors, I inhaled a big plate of clams with ginger and scallions. Plenty of ginger! Plenty of scallions! Loads of clams too — a dish additionally out there with the clams in black bean sauce, which is, if something, even much less delicate than the ginger and scallions.

It’s straightforward to see these dishes as sauce, with quite a few elements added to fill the plate. How else to explain a creation titled “4 delight & vermicelli in XO sauce” however as a number of sauce, with a number of stuff?

There are 33 extra dishes on the lunch menu, a few of which go for $9.95, a few of which go for costs that stretch as much as $17.95 — for dried scallop and egg white fried rice. However I do have to say that it is a restaurant that consists virtually completely of huge tables — and huge teams. Present up with one, two or 4, even six, and it’s possible you’ll be stored ready. And roundly ignored. The employees right here is an train in perpetual movement, in between the massive tables, and the sizable take-out orders.

I even have to say that I needed to do a little bit of trying to determine easy methods to get into Golden Soup. It’s clearly seen on the second ground as you drive into its residence in a Valley Boulevard mall. However I needed to stroll across the mall until I discovered the staircase that led to the second ground — and to the restaurant’s entrance door.

However as quickly as you step by the door, you allow one world for an additional. As I stated, Golden Soup is loopy busy, noisy and stuffed with households fortunately inhaling a number of meals. For $9.95 a plate at lunch. Count on to have sufficient left over for a meal the subsequent day. And possibly the day after as effectively.

Merrill Shindler is a Los Angeles-based freelance dining critic. Email

Golden Soup

  • Score: 2 stars
  • Tackle: 1039 Valley Blvd., San Gabriel
  • Data: 626-312-9586
  • Delicacies: Chinese language banquet corridor with dozens of dishes at impressively low costs
  • Drinks: Tea and comfortable drinks
  • When: Lunch and dinner, each day
  • Reservations: Essential for teams — and it’s virtually all teams.
  • Environment: Large, chaotic banquet corridor, catering to giant teams in an upstairs house that includes discovering a staircase in the midst of the mall.
  • Costs: About $24 per particular person
  • On the menu: For lunch: 69 Dishes, $9.95 every (with steamed rice and soup!); 33 Noodle and Soup Dishes, $9.95-$17.95. For dinner: 10 Soups, $14.95-$24.95; 29 Seafood Dishes, $14.95-Seasonal Costs; 21 Cantonese Dishes, $13.95-$24.95; 2 Clay Pot Dishes, $12.95-$24.95; 18 Particular Dishes, $12.95-$13.95; 20 Chef Particular Dishes, $9.95-$55.95
  • Bank cards: MC, V
  • What the celebrities imply: 4 (World class! Value a visit from anyplace!), 3 (Most wonderful, even distinctive. Value a visit from anyplace in Southern California.), 2 (A superb place to go for a meal. Value a visit from anyplace within the neighborhood.) 1 (In the event you’re hungry, and it’s close by, however don’t get caught in visitors going.) 0 (Actually, not price writing about.)

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