Looking for Yummy Lobster

Newport Seafood (aka Tan Cang) is one of those restaurants that has been around forever.  In fact, when anyone wants to find delicious lobster a la Asian style in Orange County, it’s a good chance that Newport Seafood comes up near the top of the list.  The last time I had been to this place was at least 10+ years ago.  It has definitely come a long way since seeing that it’s been expanded and remodeled, and moreover, in spite of the cramped location in an old strip mall, it actually is a much cleaner than what it used to be.

On this occasion, my and Pdho’s family got together for dinner, because Pdho has been wanting lobster for some time now.  Normally, my family goes to Seafood Cove for our Chinese food cravings including lobster, but I think Pdho and his family like the lobster from Newport Seafood.

 

Braised Crab Meat w/ Fish Maw Soup

We started out with some soup which I always like, but much of family consider it filler food.  This particular soup of crab meat and fish maw is usually quite tasty.  I like the light flavor of the broth, even though it could probably have used a tad more salt, but it’s the interesting texture of the fish maw that I find most interesting.

 

Steamed Elephant Clam

I don’t think I’ve had elephant clam before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to think of it.  It kind of looks like squid, but it is much chewier with a more marine-like taste.  The dipping sauce was a soy-based sauce with a bit of scallions and ginger which made the elephant clam taste better.  It wasn’t bad, but I could do without ordering it next time.

 

Deep Fried Elephant Clam

I think this was the Deep Fried Elephant Clam, but I’m not totally sure. Unfortunately, I didn’t taste it and even though Pdho did, he’s doesn’t really remember much about it, so we’ll just have to enjoy the picture.

 

Steamed Fish

I can’t recall what type of fish this was, but it turned out to be quite unctuous which was surprising.  I want to say it was tilapia, but I’m not totally sure.  The fish was very moist (surely due to a higher fat content) and seemed to soak up the flavor of the sauce quite well.  I quite enjoyed this dish.

 

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken is the one dish that seems to be prepared this particular way at Seafood Cove and Newport Seafood and no where else.  Actually, maybe other Chinese restaurants in the OC/Little Saigon area…. but outside of that area, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to find it.  The chicken is lightly battered and stir-fried with peanuts, green onions, chili peppers and a sauce that is reminiscent of General Tso or Sweet and Sour, but it much lighter and better.  Everywhere else in the world that I’ve ordered Kung Pao Chicken never seems to come prepared this way with the battered chicken.  I don’t know.  Needless to say, it’s an H.o.P. favorite and we have to have it every time.

 

Newport Special Lobster

I think the lobster at Seafood Cove tends to be a little bit butterier, but both of the restaurants really do a great job with the lobster preparation.  Most of the time, the lobsters are of a decent size, so there is plenty of tasty lobster meat to go around.  It’s a definite must have.

Now it turns out that the Santa Ana location was the original one which the owners ended up selling before the moved to open up two other locations in Rowland Heights and San Gabriel.  In comparing the different locations, the menus look pretty similar, but the prices in San Gabriel and Rowland Heights are definitely higher.  Upon my visit to the San Gabriel location with Ckoh and Pdho, it turns out the restaurant is definitely newer, cleaner and looks like it use to be Marie Calendar before and more importantly, the food tasted pretty much the same.  The restaurant itself is definitely nicer in San Gabriel which is probably why it charges a slightly higher price tag, but seeing as the Santa Ana one is much easier to get to for me when I’m down visiting, I’ll probably just stick with that location.

All in all, the food is quite tasty and the lobster, in particular, is quite special and must definitely be ordered.  Neither place offers that much in the way of ambiance, but the Santa Ana location definitely looks more like the original location.

 

Newport Seafood
4411 W. 1st St.
Santa Ana, CA 92703

PAFO Ratings for Newport Seafood:
Price $$½
Ambiance 2½ stars
Food 3½ stars
Overall rating 3½ stars

Newport Seafood
518 W. Las Tunas Dr.
San Gabriel, CA 91776

PAFO Ratings for Newport Seafood:
Price $$$
Ambiance 3 stars
Food 3½ stars
Overall rating 3½ stars

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