I haven’t been to Ding’s Restaurant (or as I know it, Ding Pang Zi – literally translated as “Fat Guy Ding”) in years, and even then, only to the bakery/deli side where they serve Taiwanese breakfast. Little did I know that the Szechuan restaurant next door shares the same name (and even a Yelp listing). We decided to come here last night because my friend Alan lives nearby and swears by the place. I, on the other hand, was skeptical, as I have experienced the decline in quality of the Taiwanese counterpart (a reason why my family and I haven’t gone back in years despite my grandparents living a few blocks away).
The place was near empty (only one other table besides ourselves), but it’s not like that affects the service for Chinese restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley anyways. Our group of four ordered four dishes: house-special lamb (sauteed with Szechuan peppercorns), beer-braised duck (served in a soup dish burner), sauteed eggplant and string beans, and a whole fish in spicy sauce with tofu. Don’t remember if these are the actual English names on the menu, but I’m sure that even if they aren’t, they’re still more technically accurate. I don’t believe I saw some of the more authentic Szechuan dishes on the menu like “water-boiled” beef, but don’t quote me on that (as I wasn’t really paying attention to the menu). I felt that the food was decent, but not for the price that they were charging (each dish was > $10). Everything was more-or-less just drenched in hot chili oil, and even then the dishes didn’t have that Szechuan heat I was looking for. Felt more like a lunch-special-quality Chinese food to me. I normally wouldn’t sound this mean, but I’ve been told that I’m too nice with regards to giving out grades/ratings, so someone will have to feel my “wrath.” I can probably get comparable food at my grandma’s.
Chris Hei grade: C
117 N Lincoln Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91755