Wednesday, October 5, 2011
I know that a lot of people respect Jonathan Gold and his opinion on food, but to be honest... I don't really even know who he was or is. Many other bloggers have made fun of me about this but I don't really care. I eat the way I like and don't really care about what others say until I try it for myself. Everyone has different standards and experiences. As for me, I try to express what I had and it is up to the readers to decide if this place sounds like something they would like to try by giving an in-depth view. I was doing last minute research on what was opened late at night in Alhambra and not too pricey. To my surprise, I saw his name on many people's review about Gourmet Island and I thought to myself... this could be either really good or really bad... can I trust him to really know my "hood" and be authentic?
Well... this place is definitely cheap and they had the drink I like. For some odd reason I am super addicted to Hong Kong Lemon Tea. The best part is that at night they somehow regress to their lunch menu and the special prices! Score! You can add a drink from the selection given for only $0.99 more. Word to the wise, don't be shy to ask for a refill.
Since this was just really a late night snack before the long drive back home, I picked out a few dishes to reward myself for camping out in Alhambra just to accompany my aunt. I was hoping for more authentic Chinese food, but here it is more Cantonese than Chinese. Still, you can find a good hybrid of both cultures that you find at many Asian restaurants. There really wasn't anything that special here that I have not seen in a million other places. The good thing is I can always find something I like and for the low prices, I am okay with that. One of my favorite lunch dishes is Pan-Fried Sole Fish, $5.99. Fried and battered fish with some green onions and soy sauce to top it off. Most of the time, I like the green onion flavor to be infused into the soy sauce for more flavor. The taste was fine, but nothing that sets Gourmet Island apart from the hundred of other restaurants in this area.
After a long debate, I wanted to get something with intestines. I chose their Pork Intestines with Black Bean Sauce, $6.99. This dish was a bit on the disappointing side for me as it was mostly huge chunks of white onions and other veggies. If I had knew this ahead of time, I would have rather had another helping of the sole or the BBQ combo plate. Luckily I had others at the table who could finish all the veggies as I noshed on the intestines. Again, the flavors were fine but nothing that stands out.
For the same price as the intestines, you could get a decent plate of meat. I chose the BBQ Combo Rice plate with Roast Pork and Roast Duck, $6.99. This felt like a better deal for the same amount of money. The meats were flavorful. They even garnish with some Chinese broccoli, "gai lan". This would make a nice meal or a nice late night snack. I am a sucker for roast meat. Mmmmmmm.
All in all I don't think this place is that special but not a bad choice for a place that is open late and can satisfy my Hong Kong lemon tea craving. Out of all the years that I have been coming to San Gabriel Valley for my Asian fix, I have never come across this place nor have anyone I know ever mentioned about this place... that should tell you something. For me, personally, I like to get down and dirty with the authentic Asian cuisines in this neighborhood that are hard to find elsewhere. Gourmet Island was really just another typical Cantonese restaurant for me in this vast city. Prices are fair but for lunch, you can definitely find the same deal all over town. Not sure if you can find it for late night, but good to know that they offer it hear and $0.99 to add a drink.
203 W Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91801