A weekend back in Pasadena with the parents pretty much always means going out to eat some Chinese food. My dad decided on Mama’s Lu on Garvey. Along the way we passed by another Mama’s Lu that had apparently just opened but wasn’t advertising yet. We proceeded to the original location, found a wait of ten parties ahead, and went back to the new location.
Inside it’s a lot less cramped and a lot cleaner. The menu looked to be about the same prices-wise, and just about all the same items were available.
Chicken soup. We got two of these to share among the three of us. Chicken’s a bit dry, but the soup is very herby and probably makes your nails grow faster or increases electrolyte production in your blood.
This was interesting – I believe it was cappuccino pork chop? Basically pork chop with coffee flavored sauce. Kinda tasty, but I tired of it after eating too much.
Tofu, mushrooms, and veggies. I really should have written down the names of the dishes. The tofu in this was cooked perfectly, and had a lot of flavor.
The sea bass was perhaps my favorite dish. Extremely tender, the fish just sort of fell apart when I poked my chopstick into it.
I’ve never understood what all the rage is with Din Tai Fung in Arcadia. I’ve been there once – waited way too long for dumplings that were extremely mediocre and overpriced. Din Tai Fung’s become my benchmark – basically if you think their dumplings are amazing and that the place is worth the wait, then I no longer trust your reviews on dumplings and possibly even Chinese restaurants.
The dumplings (aka Xiao Long Bao aka XLB) at Mama’s Lu are way better. Perfectly juicy on the inside and the skin isn’t too doughy. Mama’s Lu gives you ten dumplings for $5.99. Go back and try the ones at Deng Tai Jiu if you want (that’s right, I’m making jokes in phonetic Chinese Mandarin now), but it’s all hype if you ask me, and you’re crazy if you don’t think the ones at Mama’s Lu are better.
Damage for the entire meal was a measly $37.46. Wish I could find a place as good and as cheap as this in the Irvine area.
501 W Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91754