Excellent | Worth a Detour
Review by: Maggie Rosenberg & Trevor Hagstrom
At first glance, Peking Restaurant seems like just another neighborhood American-Chinese joint. You are greeted with Chinese Zodiac placemats, tin kettles of jasmine tea and a fairly standard menu of wok-fried classics. A closer look reveals a tiny specials board communicated in wallet sized photos of signature dishes. At the very top of the must-eat list are Chinese beef rolls. These are tender slices of braised beef rolled up in a fried Chinese pancake with hoisin sauce and herbs.
Chinese beef rolls are a popular Southern Californian snack that is also considered a Taiwanese specialty. The origin of the rolls is disputed between these Eastern and Western points, but the Los Angeles area has a robust beef roll scene. They are something like a cross between a chimichanga and moo-shu beef. These days, the beef roll is as much a Los Angeles regional specialty as the French dip once was. However, few Angelenos would consider coming down to Westminster for one. That is their loss.
The “lu-ee” beef roll at Peking Restaurant comes out crisp and nicely browned, but with parts that remain chewy in the creases. This coats the oversized appetizer in a variety of textures. The hoisin slather is generous and ensures that dryness is never a problem. The braised beef comes in deli-thin shavings. The hearty cross-cut slices of the roll come speared with tiny toothpicks. They help you visualize out just how big this thing is.
Besides beef rolls, we can’t imagine coming here without getting the house special handmade noodles and pan-fried dumplings. The noodles combine the old-world demand for fresh artisan noodles with the oily American lo-mien preparation. It’s just a quick wok sauté with every meat in the house, plus shrimp and some stir-fry veggies. The hand made noodles are just about perfect: resistant and chewy with the flavorful oils of the dish penetrating through. The pork and leek dumplings are robustly onion-scented. They have a dark corn starch pot-sticker crust. While the bottom crust is solid and crisp, the steamed skin on top is thin and delicate.
A meal of a beef roll, potstickers and a huge portion of noodles will be a lot of food for up to four, and quite a starchy meal at any table, but we couldn’t imagine coming here and not getting all of them. For a bit of color and some vitamins, green beans are good, too. They arrive nicely blistered, still with a slight snap and with a zingy ginger aroma.
Like all Chinese-American restaurants, the menu is large and covers the classics. If you ask one of the regulars what to order at Peking Restaurant, they will probably recommend their favorite take-out classic, such as fried rice, sesame chicken, or walnut shrimp. The kitchen here doesn’t miss much.
Directions & Hours
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