For a “duck house,” Beijing Duck House sure has a lot of seafood. And it’s not as if they’re good at it, either. The family decided to come here on Christmas day for lunch, like most Chinese families in the SGV who don’t abide by American traditions. I was actually really excited about coming here, because I haven’t had peking duck in a LONG time, and I had read a positive review of the restaurant by Jonathan Gold in LA Weekly months ago. My grandma ordered a set meal, where an order of duck came with numerous dishes and a soup made from the duck leftovers. Sounded very promising.
After waiting for an extended period of time (even though we came early and the restaurant wasn’t packed yet), the dishes started rolling out. First came a sauteed squid dish. Then a sauteed vegetables dish. Then a sauteed fish dish. All three of these dishes seemed to be prepared the same way, and said way wasn’t very good unfortunately. Just a bunch of stuff sauteed in a salty sauce x3. Following these was a spicy sauteed fish dish of sorts, but the fish was just terrible in this one. There were also a couple of side dishes in the form of duck liver and smoked fish. Both were surprisingly unspectacular.
Then came the main attraction: the duck. Although the duck tasted fine, it appeared to be pre-cut and prepared far in advance, so it wasn’t very hot coming out. Also, the skin had no crisp whatsoever. Taste itself was decent though, and pancakes were nice, but factor in everything else and what you have is an okay peking duck with a poor supporting cast. If I wanted to nitpick even further, I could mention that some of the meat was a bit over. Even the soup made from the duck felt lifeless. And the shredded duck with bean sprouts was like all the other sauteed dishes :(
I was really looking forward to this meal, and sadly it didn’t live up to any expectations. Maybe it was just an off day, but if I were to visit a peking duck restaurant, I’ll err on the safe side and visit Duck House or Ji Rong next time. My peking duck cravings have since grown exponentially due to this meal, but for all the wrong reasons.
Chris Hei grade: C
Beijing Duck House
6420 Rosemead Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91775