Early this November, I ate nothing but Asian food for three days straight. It’s shocking, I know. Couple of the restaurants were along SGV’s Southern Edible Corridor, (read: Garvey Ave). One was in the strip mall capitol of OC, Anaheim. The winner of the Garvey Ave visits was clearly Curry & B.B.Q. Plu$ 新穎美食, South El Monte.
Curry & BBQ Plu$ used to be Hong Loi Deli, a decrepit shack of a banh mi/steam table Vietnamese joint. It exuded the feel of a Banh Mi Che Cali that never had any visitors. Despite driving by dozens of times (usually enroute to Pho Huynh or Kim Hoa Hue), the closest encounter occurred when I walked in and walked out. There are just too many viable options to suffer steam tables full of petrifying Vietnamese food. A month ago, a Guangdong chef (and apparently his Indonesian wife?) took over with the new Curry & BBQ Plu$, and his friends started slowly trickling in. A few people have noticed, but there are hardly any diners in this clean store front.
With the death of Tay Do Quan Hy, S. El Monte’s culinary strength significant weakened. However, Chef Sam single handedly changed the landscape of the battling Vietnamese/Chiu Chow resaturants. He, from Jiangmen city (Guangdong province) is Cantonese through and through. He’s not even a Hong Konger. The staff is tri-lingual, and the menu reflects the desires of the the heavy Sino-Vietnamese population in El Monte/Rosemead. This restaurant should be packed. There is no MSG, the 5-hour stock for the pho ga is sharp, a bit salty, and could serve as the best base for a bowl of insipid matzah balls ever to be found in LA. Mexikosher seems so fun, but how about VinaKosher? Pho ga re-imagined as chicken noodle soup?
Beyond the few carefully curated Sino-Vietnamese dishes (the Cantonese-Vietnamese beef stew is heavenly, and just about 200% more soulful than the discount version found at various Banh Mi Che Cali), what’s impressive are the low and slow braised curries and roasted proteins.
Last week was Thanksgiving, and despite all the pretty photos on Instagram, certainly cooks were out there fucking up turkeys. No, I didn’t say fuck a turkey. It’s unfortunate no one knew Curry & BBQ Plu$ existed, because judging from their wondrous roast duck (two different rubs exist), the BBQed turkey was probably a winner for $35. The “regular” BBQ duck was well seasoned, carried fantastic texture and is available as part of the $7.50 3-meat BBQ combo bento seen below:
The roast suckling pig had tender meat carrying an appropriate but not obscene amount of fat,, while the lean char siu (and I’m not even a big char siu fan) was nearly perfect with a scented bark and well roasted meat in between a pleasurable sugar glaze. Apparently the curry roasted duck is also available as part of this fabulous combo, but other times I’ve been told the curry duck is only available as a half bird ($9) minimum. The only weakness in this BBQ platter was the offering of boring cucumber crudites as accompaniment.
Not sure what else Curry & BBQ Plu$ needs to do to get more customers except to use a stupid character substitution in its name. O wait, they’ve got that already.
Curry & BBQ Plu$
NB: this is probably the most poorly spelled, grammatically incorrect post of 2012. It was also written mostly in bed under the influence of whiskey.