Posts Tagged ‘Capital Seafood’

Today’s youth generally agrees upon a few select cultural cuisines to go crazy over. Other than the local tastes, people love Latin and Asian foods. The popularity of these cuisines have led to the surge of these types of restaurants all over, and that has expanded to food trucks and fusion styles. When thinking about going out to eat, people have to think about more than just what type of food to go look for – they consider convenience, location, ambiance, and a number of other factors. As a result, a typically sit-down restaurant may seem out of the question, especially for those with not as much time for that type of service, or on a limited budget. In these cases, perhaps a more casual approach would suit people looking for good food. When looking for a casual dining experience for Asian food, look no further than Capital Noodle Bar.

The line of Capital Seafood restaurants has a long history in Southern California of their traditional sit-down restaurants that consist of large dining spaces, large plates, and Dim Sum on the weekends. Today’s millennial population often craves something a little less intense, but with the same quality of food. Enter Capital Noodle Bar, a lighter version of their full-fledged restaurants. Capital Noodle Bar takes on a more casual approach with a menu consisting of appetizers, entrées, and various noodle dishes/bowls. Similar to the full restaurants, dishes served at Capital Noodle Bar can serve multiple people, although hungry individuals can still plow through one dish. Capital Noodle Bar also has a full bar just like the restaurants. The ambiance sets them apart because of the smaller, more intimate dining space, and the servers have a more casual approach rather than formal. The original Capital Noodle Bar in Irvine rose in popularity so fast that it paved the way for a second Capital Noodle Bar to open in Costa Mesa. Located across the 405 freeway from South Coast Plaza, this second Capital Noodle Bar resides in the same corner as that of Halal Guys, Anjin, and Creamistry, leading to a hectic parking situation at peak hours. If the parking gods favor you, you will discover perhaps your new favorite Asian food spot with dishes such as (shown below in order):

  • Crispy Shrimp Rolls
  • Canton Style Roast Duck
  • Duo of Beef (double filet mignon)
  • Black Pepper Beef Udon
  • Hong Kong Style Beef Chow Mein

Check out what else they have in store by liking their Facebook page!

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Summer has undoubtedly arrived, what with the heat wave and all. The weather does not seem that it will lose some degrees in the next month or two, so cool off with a nice cold treat. Some people may not have a sweet tooth like I do, but they have to treat themselves occasionally. Sometimes, your body just craves it – when you feel hot, your body tells you to go find something cold to eat or drink. If you plan on powering through this heat wave, I have some suggestions on how to cool yourself off in Southern California.

5. Café Lucca‘s Daily Gelato

Who can resist ice cream? I generally avoid temptation unless I cannot resist it. When presented with fresh gelato made daily, then my heart melts and gives in to the temptation to order it. Walking into Café Lucca in Orange, you immediately stumble upon a wealth of Gelato that they make daily. Flavors vary from traditional stracciatella or lemon to far-out combinations like the Melvis (pictured above) – banana gelato with peanut butter swirls, honey, and bacon bits. No matter what flavor you prefer, you will surely find a gelato that you would love to share, but will probably finish on your own. Small, medium, and large sizes cost $4, $5, and $6, respectively.

4. Capital Seafood‘s “Egg Pudding”

Making food taste good represents a primary challenge to all chefs and cooks, as every single person in the world has a unique palate. One particular food that a person likes may not resonate so well with the next person. In the end, everyone agrees that food that looks visually appealing will taste better than something merely thrown onto the plate. Capital Seafood understands this concept well, as they carefully administer the finest designers for all of their dishes. While Capital Seafood specializes in family-style servings, they can get intimate with some items, especially dessert. As a special treat, Capital Seafood has their own rendition of “Egg Pudding” unlike traditional egg pudding that looks like flan. The tops of brown eggs shells get carefully carved out to allow just enough room to insert a spoon, and those hollow egg shells get filled with a variety of special custard-like puddings. The list of flavors contains a strong amount of choices, such as strawberry, vanilla bean, green tea, and sesame. So far, I have only spotted this at the Irvine Spectrum location of Capital Seafood. Call ahead of time to ensure that they have this egg-cellent dessert available.

3. Flurries Shaved Snow Bar‘s Tropical Colada

Tropical flavors typically resonate well with people seeking a refreshing treat to cool off from the hot weather. Tropical treats exist virtually anywhere, but Flurries Shaved Snow Bar in Cypress does a great job at incorporating not only light refreshing flavors, but also richer and unique combinations. One cannot easily describe what shaved snow looks and tastes like. I describe shaved snow as shaved sorbet or gelato, but even that does not truly describe Flurries. To see for yourself, head on in and order the Tropical Colada, which contains pineapple snow, pineapple syrup, oranges, and coconut shavings. Keep in mind that each cup comes with two layers – snow at the bottom, toppings in the middle, more snow over that, and more toppings on top. One may immediately ponder that two layers means sharing. Allow me the pleasure of suggesting that you order your own, because you will not want to share upon your first bite.

2. Bruxie Waffles‘ Dulce De Leche Shake

When thinking about refreshing treats during the summer, people tend to stay away from heavy and/or rich treats. A piña colada will occupy more hands at a beach than a chocolate milkshake. Once in a while, you just get that craving that you must satisfy your sweet tooth, despite the weather. Luckily, you can both satisfy your sweet tooth and refresh yourself at your local Bruxie Waffles. Bruxie may have a solid lineup of waffle eats, but they also hand-craft their own drinks, such as their Dulce De Leche Shake. Caramel milkshakes exist all over the place, but this one has a more icy feel to it than a thick feel, resulting it a crisper, colder drink with just as much of a caramel burst. Add some zing to your meal by ordering this baby the next time you visit Bruxie Waffles for one of their yummy waffle sandwiches. This milkshake will bring YOU to the yard.

1. Tropical Shave Ice‘s Hawaiian Shave Ice

How can you go wrong with a classic? A large difference exists between shave ice and shaved ice. Shaved ice represents another term for a snow cone, simply ultra-crushed ice, resulting in a gritty crunchy feeling when eating the ice. Also, this ice does not absorb flavorings very well, such as syrups and cream. Shave ice represents ice shaved so finely resulting in a smooth and velvety texture, almost like eating ice cream. Tropical Shave Ice roams around Southern California providing authentic Hawaiian Shave Ice to the masses. Owners Rick & EJ come directly from Hawaii to show you not only the Aloha spirit, but shave ice so fine that you would swear upon eating ice cream. They make all syrups and flavorings at home using real cane sugar and natural flavors, without worry about preservatives or artificial ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup. A regular size costs $3.50, while a large costs $4.50. In the hot summer weather, prepare to eat this fast, because when this heats up, the shave ice loses its texture as it all melts together. For the best traditional shave ice, track this truck down!

When most of Americans picture Chinese food, they picture Orange Chicken, Beef & Broccoli, and lots of Chow Mein. What typical Americans picture as Chinese food relates as much to China as Taco Bell’s food relates to Mexico. In others words, we eat what Americans think people eat in the native country. Finding authentic food away from its origin can cause some irritations; for example, nowhere in California can anyone find a real Philly Cheesesteak – no one can get it right, as if the knowledge disappears when traveling from the east coast to the west coast. Asking the locals may help point you in the right direction on locating the real deal, so when asked about real Chinese food, I find myself at Capital Seafood.

While Southern California may have their clusters of Asian populations complete with plenty of Asian restaurants, Capital Seafood stands out from the pack. Historically, Capital Seafood locations settle in to Asian communities, such as Westminster and Rowland Heights. Now in the 21st century, an outlier now exists at the Irvine Spectrum, a massive shopping center in Orange County where the 5 and 405 freeways meet. For this location, the folks at Capital Seafood walk the line of serving traditional Chinese cuisine in a multicultural setting. If you seek out real Chinese food without the need to learn a new language, make it a priority to visit Capital Seafood at the Irvine Spectrum rather soon.

Following up with my recent dinner at Capital Seafood, our group received a communal dinner, where the servers placed the entrées in the middle of the table on a lazy Susan, and each individual could then serve up as much as they like on his/her own. Starting off the night, we received these Baked Mussels topped with Masago Aioli. These include roe in the sauce, which lends to the crunchy texture of this tapas dish.

Although not formally on the menu, Capital Seafood does carry Peking Duck, which they serve traditionally with a steamed bao bun, hoisin sauce, onions, and fried chips for texture.

At the same time as the Peking Duck, we also received Chicken Lettuce Wraps, with dried jicama, Thai basil, and hoisin sauce.

We jump right into the main event with the House Special Lobster. This specialty of Capital Seafood uses their own secret recipe for the sauce, and gives it a unique savoriness that one cannot easily describe.

My personal favorite dish, House Special Scallops, came out next. These scallops get lightly battered, fried, and tossed in the same sauce used for the lobster along with scallions, black pepper, and chili peppers. The resulting flavor carries a little of everything: sweet, salty, spicy, crispy, juicy, and savory. In fact, you can call this umami without overstating it.

Another classic done right, the Honey Walnut Shrimp came to us next. Fried shrimps comes with honey-glazed walnuts and a light cream sauce on a bed of cantaloupes and honeydew.

Those with seafood allergies need not fear, as they will love the House String Beans. Just like the aforementioned house specials, these string beans get stir-fried with garlic, chili peppers, and their lobster sauce to give it that full flavor found on the lobster, but without any worries of allergies getting in the way.

Our group also got to try a new dish coming soon to their menu, Sesame Shrimp. The flavor resembled the house special dishes, but with less spice and not fried. Imagine teriyaki sauce or eel sauce, but nowhere near as sweet. The onions and peppers helped to offset any extremes, leaving for a mild yet solid entrée.

Just when I expected dessert to roll out, out comes the Chilean Seabass. Chilean Seabass needs no introduction ever. At Capital Seafood, they serve it pan-seared with light soy sauce and scallions. Honestly, you do not need anything more than that, as Chilean Seabass already carries enough natural flavor that adding anything more would muddle it up.

At last, our dessert came to us piping hot. Each of us at the table received our own Baked Almond Tea. Upon first sight, these appear full. However, the puff pastry layer on top simply hides the steamed almond tea underneath, which carries soft almonds in the liquid bottom. To eat this, take the provided soup spoon and poke right into the pastry layer, revealing the almond tea inside. Spoon up the tea underneath, and rip out pieces of the pastry to eat with the tea. Describing this in words takes more effort than actually giving it a try, so I highly recommend leaving room at the end of your meal to order these for your party. If you feel like taking these to-go, the restaurant requires a $5 collateral for the cup. Should you return the cup, the restaurant will return your $5.

Capital Seafood does not deal with nonsense – they deliver authentic Chinese food as the world should see and taste. Visitors expecting to find Chinese fast food like Orange Chicken or Chow Mein will quickly realize that people do not eat that stuff religiously in China. Prior to visiting Capital Seafood, visitors should explore the menu and understand what to expect. Capital Seafood also has Happy Hour during the week, as well as Dim Sum in the mornings. They like to appeal to everybody, and everybody deserves to try authentic Chinese food!

Asian food is stereotypically deemed as America’s go-to to-go food. Nothing goes down for the least amount of money than Instant Noodles, something everyone who went to college is very familiar with. Add to that Chinese fast food all over America that is not even really authentic Asian, much like how Taco Bell is not authentic Mexican. Orange Chicken? Chinese citizens have never heard of it. Because of this old trend, and the trend to revitalize stereotypically bad foods, chefs are slowly introducing real authentic Asian foods into the mainstream culture. Much like the gourmet food truck trend that started in early 2009, authentic Asian food is coming back slowly. Many foodies are starting to see Asian food as a hipster thing now. These overzealous foodies think that anyone eating real Asian food now is simply following a trend that started a few months ago.

To them I say, just shut up and enjoy the food. We have no room for opinions at this table.

Capital Seafood is a REAL authentic Chinese restaurant that aims to show us all how people dine in the Far East. What started as one restaurant by founder Eric Soukaphay has branched off to a chain of restaurants in California, Nevada, and China. Dining in Capital Seafood is reminiscent of dining at a Chinese family’s home: each person has an individual plate, but the food is placed in the middle of the table for communal eating. Larger groups may sit at a table with a Lazy Susan to better facilitate sharing of the food. As a result, dining solo is not recommended, as most entrées serve at least two.

Dim Sum is also served at Capital Seafood on weekend mornings. I strongly encourage anyone who has never had Dim Sum to try it from Capital Seafood. At most traditional Dim Sum restaurants, the servers do not speak English well, so either you cannot easily order what you want, or the server cannot accurately describe the food to you. At Capital Seafood (at least the Irvine locations), all servers are required to speak English, so they will be able to describe what all the food is before serving it to your table.

To sum up what Dim Sum is, the food can be seen as Asian-style tapas – food served in small baskets or small individual portions. Instead of ordering from a menu, there is a stamp-paper on your table, and servers wheel around carts with the food on them. When they arrive at your table, you can see what they have to offer, and you pick the food from their cart that you want to eat. After choosing, they stamp on your paper what you obtained from their cart, and they continue their route to the next table. All servers have a predetermined route such that you should see every different food cart at least once before seeing a repeated cart again. This means that, depending on when you sit, you may be able to eat the moment your party sits down.

When I dine at Capital Seafood, I have a go-to dish that I ALWAYS order, no questions asked. This dish, the best of its kind that I have ever tried, is their House Special Scallops:

Sweet, salty, meaty, spicy, juicy, crispy… This is a masterpiece of a dish. If you are here for dinner, you must try this dish.

Here are some more of their dinner items that you can order:


Blue Cheese Wontons


Mussels w/ Fish Eggs


Hot Soup


BBQ Beef Skewers


Peking Duck


Lettuce Wraps


Garlic Lobster


Eggplant Stuffed Shrimp


Steamed Chicken


House Special Green Beans


Seafood Fried Rice


Winter Melon Soup


House Special Lobster


Chef’s Special Chilean Seabass


Kung Pao Chicken


Baked Almond Souffle

Authentic Chinese food is what Capital Seafood does best. You will not find Orange Chicken here – after all, that is American food, not Chinese. To immerse yourself in Chinese cuisine, make your way to Capital Seafood. Out of all their locations, I recommend starting at the Irvine Spectrum. That location not only has a full bar, but all servers are fluent in English there, whereas other locations may not have servers that can clearly speak English, and may not have a full bar. Treat yourself and your friends & family to some REAL Chinese food, or come on weekend mornings to experience Dim Sum the way it is meant to be experienced.

Capital Seafood
Multiple locations, first-timers should start with:
85 Fortune Dr, Suite #329
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 788-9218
http://csrgweb.com/
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Follow Capital Seafood on Twitter (Irvine Spectrum location)