Empress Harbor Seafood Restaurant (Wedding Banquet) - Monterey Park
The wedding banquet was held at Empress Harbor Seafood Restaurant in Monterey Park. Right across the street from Capital Seafood Chinese Restaurant, which I attended for another wedding slightly less than a year ago. Read that post for my discussion about Monterey Park's role as the first suburban Chinatown in the country and why American-style one-entree wedding banquets just don't cut it for most Asians.
In case you missed the previous post with all the wedding stuff, here's what the orchid centerpieces ended up looking like. OK, it looks more impressive when you see them scattered amongst all the tables but my family was everywhere, I couldn't get a people-less shot. And I forgot to get a restaurant shot for ya'll too. There were about 36? 38? tables. So at 10 people per table, with some empty seats, that's about 360+ people. Supposedly the restaurant can hold up to 500 people but I don't know where they'd all fit.
The food! That's all you really care about right? 11 courses and cake. There were also egg rolls during cocktail hour to feed all the prompt attendees because you know Vietnamese-Chinese weddings never start on time!
Cold appetizer platter of roast duck, roast suckling pig, char siu, head cheese, and jellyfish.
I was too distracted listening to speeches or something on stage so missed getting the shot of the shrimp-wrapped crab claw. I actually put my piece on the platter just so it would look pretty for you. :)
Shrimp, scallop, walnut, asparagus stir-fry. Asparagus was nice and crispy, seafood was fresh.
Empress seafood soup. This was good, but many of the guests said they wished for the more popular shark fin and egg drop soup.
Braised abalone and mustard greens.
Lobster with ginger and green onions. Luckily half the table wasn't keen on eating with their hands so I got my fill. :) The waiters also brought out wet towels for us to clean our hands.
Golden fried crispy chicken with shrimp puffs. I think I tried a piece, but really, by this point I was way over-stuffed.
Steamed fish with soy sauce and scallions.
Fried rice with scallops and seafood. I revived a bit to eat the fried rice. I never pass up scallops.
Chinese cookies. Eh.
Red bean puree with lotus seeds. The bride wanted a Cantonese menu so we got this Cantonese dessert, but I and several guests longed for the Trieu Chau mashed taro and gingko nuts we got at Capital Seafood.
Overall assessment of the wedding banquet? The restaurant was nicely traditional Chinese red and gold, food was good if not spectacular, and half-eaten plates were transferred to smaller plates to make room for more entrees. The restaurant met the request for a "cocktail" appetizer of egg rolls which held off hungry people who arrived on time. I liked the decor and more intimate feel (if you can call a wedding for 360+ people intimate).
But, and this is simply a matter of personal preference, food-wise, I liked my experience at Capital Seafood better because of the shark fin soup, bird's nest made out of chow mein noodles, and the Trieu Chau mashed taro dessert.
What's a wedding without cake? Wedding cake by Maxim Bakery in Alhambra. Top two layers were lemon and pineapple, third layer was tiramisu, fourth layer was chocolate.
Umm, I have no recollection which piece I got since it just tasted like wedding cake to me.
The wedding souvenirs were jasmine and rose tea in spice jars. Lovely aren't they? The souvenirs and centerpieces were quite a hit with all the guests.