First Impressions: Seafood Village

Recently Regina, Bennet, and I joined some good friends for another journey east of downtown to Monterey Park in search of excellent Asian grub. On the recommendation of Ping, we met her plus husband Stephen (Peace) and their two kids Phoenix and Aylee. On an unassuming corner of Garvey sat Seafood Village, basically a hole-in-the-wall Chinese banquet-style eatery. Garlic crab, we were informed, was their specialty. I’ve had crab and I’ve had crab and I’ve had crab. But this crab, lemme tell ya…wow!

Crab with garlic. Lots and lots of garlic.

Like virtually every Chinese restaurant I’ve ever eaten at, the menu is ridiculously large. After a brief scan, I surrendered ordering to Regina and Ping. Peace and I sipped our Tsing Taos and waited for the food. We didn’t wait for long; honey walnut shrimp, garlicky stir-fried pea tendrils, French style steak, and the House Special Crab hit the table in about six minutes.

Pea tendrils, honey walnut shrimp, House Special Crab.

My impressions: the honey walnut shrimp was tasty but lacked the pleasing crunch I usually associate with battered shrimp, even shrimp that’s doused in a mayo-rich sauce. The nuts were lovely though.
The garlicky pea tendrils were outstanding. Perfectly fresh, perfectly cooked. I love my greens and this hit the spot!
I don’t know what is so “French” about the French style steak. Basically it’s stir-fried sirloin chunks on a bed of iceberg lettuce with a few slices of underripe tomato slices, added like an afterthought. The beef is marinated in a slightly sweet, soy-based sauce and then wokked. It was nicely done, but overcooked for my palate.

What is so “French” about the French Style Steak? I dunno.

Ah, but the House Special Crab! That’s what you go for, and I boy did I go for it! I’ve never had anything quite like it. I’ve eaten crab steamed, stir-fried with sloppy sauces of all kinds, tossed with noodles, in cake form, cooked in every conceivable manner. This was dungeness crab lightly battered (probably egg whites, perhaps corn starch and cake flour) and fried. The whole thing is topped with about two cups of minced garlic, fried until crisp. You might think that this would be greasy. It isn’t. You might think that this would be dry. It isn’t. You might think that the amount of garlic is overkill. It isn’t. It’s fantastic.
The crab is moist, the batter flavorful. The garlic hits all the right notes. Sucking all the meat out of the shells is fun. It’s frankly delicious. Simple and delicious. I don’t know about the rest of the menu, but I do know that I’ll be back. For the crab. Only for the crab.

684 W. Garvey Ave.
Monterey Park 91754
(626) 289-0088

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