China Bean Like Dining in China
West Los Angeles
A small Chinese family-style restaurant recently opened in West LA, and it had a big "A" in the window, so I went in for lunch. It was intimate, and charming without clutter, in addition, it had unbeatable prices. The tables are glass topped over beige linens, with dark wooden padded chairs, ceiling décor, and a huge entire wall to wall mirror. It was unpretentious, neat and orderly without twaddle and glitz, but I felt it had lots of love in the pot. It's owned and managed by a young sister and brother, Jian Cong, and Bing Cong, with a chef from China, Tu Sinh. This is a good way to see how food is prepared and served in China before it gets Americanized. I thought my lunch was poetically expressed differently, but with excellence.
Lunch was priced from $5.95-$7.25, served from 11:00am to 3:00pm, and each entrée included an Egg Roll, Rice, Salad and Soup. Some of the main dishes were Shrimp, Beef, Chicken, and Pork; also about 7-Vegetarian platters. Their menu will assure you that there is no MSG, it's also low in sugar, salt, and fat. There's a bit of small town preciousness and quaintness here. When reading the menu, you will realize that this restaurant is into health, describing each item and what makes it good for you.
As an example, the menu lists Mongolian Beef, a rapidly cooked steak with scallions and garlic, ($8.75). The message follows with "green onions help build strong bones and contain powerful antioxidants and are-inflammatory antibiotics, and antiviral."
There are almost twenty of these specialties, Lemon Chicken is interesting, "lightly breaded filet of chicken breast meat topped with lemon sauce. "A great source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory agent and skin protector."
I think it makes the menu interesting, starting with the appetizers, (I enjoyed the Chinese Chicken Salad) also soups, and China Bean Traditionals, such as Egg Foo Young with chicken, beef, vegetables, or Chop Suey, ($7.55). There's also a section of Noodles & Rice, and a special China Bean special health menu. My choice was a fish dinner of "Sea Bass" over vegetables, and it was deliciously pre-sliced.
Other interesting dishes were Rainbow Bean, made with sauteed white corn, pine nuts, roasted sunflower seeds, and red Bell Peppers; also Seafood Pineapple fried rice.
Among the health drinks were mixed celery combinations, also Watermelon and Cucumber juice, even Banana juice, and other flavors including Strawberry. I'm not sure what an Ice Slush is, perhaps it's comparable to the coffee slushes, but here it's made with Taro, or Red Bean, Grass Jelly, Mango, Watermelon, Almond, Papaya and Coconut. There was a beautiful picture on the table of their "Smoothies fruit drinks." The usual flavors were shown, adding Hoeydew, and Green Apple.
Another feature at China Bean is Shaved Ice, remember how most of us had it at the beach. Be aware that we might be talking about two different items, the Chinese version or the American one.
There's a notice that was mailed to the homes in the neighborhood letting folks know that you always have 10% off the price whether you dine in or take out. Also for any purchase of $20 or more, you'll get a complimentary order of Honey Walnut Cookies or a drink.
This was an interesting experience with new concepts in dining, being served by lovely polite young people from China, and I'm sure I will be back. I must go back to taste the coffee! Other beverages were Hot Chocolate and Cappuccino(???),
China Bean, 10614 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064; (310) 842-8222; Open from 11:00am, and from Noon on Sunday. Street parking.