鹿鼎記 duck house (monterey park)

November 27, 2008

鹿鼎記 duck house – 北京烤鴨專門店
501 s. atlantic blvd
monterey park, ca 91754
(626) 284-3227

(please excuse all the blur photos on this blog entry…these were taken with my iphone.)
i’ve always missed those crispy and delectable roasted peking duck dish from the famous “peking garden” (which has the best peking duck!) in hong kong where, growing up, my dad used to take us for dinner every once in awhile when he was back in town. for thanksgiving dinner this year, my friend suggested to try the “duck house” where he’s heard that they specialize in roasted peking duck dish. there are two locations, and we visited the one in monterey park…

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it was around 8:30pm when we arrived. the place was pretty packed, but there were still few available tables. the first thing the hostess asked was if we had reservations, and told us that peking ducks were sold out for the night. when we were about to turn around and leave, another hostess confirmed that their famous dish was actually still available, and so we got seated right away.  (we later realized that there’s usually a one-hour wait for the peking duck, and you’re supposed to make reservations if you want the peking duck dish.)  once seated, menu was handed to us immediately.  hoisin sauce, spring onions + cucumber (both for the anticipated roast duck dish), a cold dish appetizer of duck feet + sliced duck neck, and pot of tea were served soon after.  we ordered the roasted peking duck #3 on the menu, which is “烤鴨三吃: 荷葉餅夾烤鴨, 銀芽鴨絲, 白菜豆腐鴨架湯 roast peking duck in three ways (including stir-fried bean sprout with duck meats & duck bones soup)” priced at $47.95, and #20 under their “healthy konnyaku” section, which is the “麻辣豆腐蒟蒻魚片 stir fried fish fillet, tofu & konnyaku with spicy sauce, ginger & garlic” priced at $14.95. in case you’re wondering what “konyaku” is, this is how they described it on their menu…”the konnyaku is a type of plant similar to the yam, and it’s high fiber, no saturated fat, no cholesterol & low calorie.”  this dish didn’t take very long before it was served to us.  the color of the dish was beautiful, but we reached for the konnyaku first as we were curious of the taste.  these were thinly sliced, almost translucent, and tasted like chewy jelly fish…they were really good!  since “duck house” claimed to use “only the best ingredients”, we expected the filet fish to be fresh, but they tasted like they were frozen earlier.  i actually like the sauteed fried tofu, but my friend wasn’t too crazy about it.

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now to the main attraction (the reason we were there for!)…the roasted peking duck finally came (authentic peking duck dishes are usually being presented in whole, then the skin are carefully sliced by trained chef in front of the customers, so when i first had peking duck here in LA some years ago, i was surprised how the ones here are being served sliced ready.)  the presentation was beautiful (as shown in the photo), but at the sight of the dull color of the skins, and the steamed thin pancake (used for wrapping the sliced duck and skin, kinda like a taco or burrito skin,  but the ones they served were alot thinner and drier than the usual ones i’ve had…they were probably not steamed long enough), my excitement kinda stunk abit.  still, we couldn’t wait to dig in.  hehe, sure enough, after the first bite, we were greatly disappointed…the sliced duck were too dry, and the skin would’ve been more crunchy and tasty if they had roasted it more thoroughly (it tasted more like it was pouched)…it just wasn’t crispy enough to be called ‘roasted’ and was very blended.

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the sprouts dish with sliced duck was almost homemade style, and the “duck bone soup” with tofu and cabbage was a tad bit too salty for our taste.  but since i really craved and missed the roasted peking duck in hongkong, i was still happy and grateful to be able to have this dish, especially on thanksgiving.

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overall experience of the food was appreciative.  ambient was typical chinese restaurant with abit of upgraded modernized decor, perhaps in an attempt to catogorize themselves as ‘upscale’.  the food network channel was playing on the flat screen tv hanging in the corner on which we thought was abit out of place (after that first bite, whatever showing on the food network we were watching looked way much more delicious than our dishes :p)  service was okay (very polite, but not too attentive to customer needs as we had to ask for our tea refills twice, and i caught a server checking out the window right after a table of customers left, and overheard her replying to her colleague that she wanted to “check out what car they drove”!), cleaniness was fine on the surface, but our chopsticks were served to us wet.  they did, however, allow a customer to bring in her dog and dine with them in the restaurant.  while waiting for our check, we also spotted a little kid (i think he’s a family member of the owner or staffs there) chilling at one of the empty tables next to us ‘cleaning’ his nose for the longest time and wiping his fingers on the table cloth.  yikes!  i wouldn’t say the overall experience was a total bad one, but we were greatly disappointed and don’t think we’ll be coming back anytime soon.  although, we would like to try their san gabriel location before we totally cross them off the list. ;)

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One comment

  1. I am a regular at Lu Ding Gee since they started their first location in San Gabriel on Valley Blvd. I love their Peking Duck. They use the traditional way to make it. So the duck skin tastes tender and not too greasy. The pancakes that go with the duck are handmade. They are very thin and yet fluffy. They also have other dishes that I always order: Jelly fish with cilantro and shredded pork, spicy fish filet with tofu, deep fried fish with sweet and sour sauce (boneless), and the eel rice cake. For dessert, I like the passion fruit jello and mochi. They also have a wine slush tasted like 酒釀 (sweet rice wine). It was delicious too.

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