Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Xino Restaurant, Santa Monica
The day I was due with Peanut without even a hint of a contraction, B and I ventured to Santa Monica to Xino Restaurant.
We got there and it was absolutely gorgeous out. I pulled out my camera to discover my low battery warning was on so I took photos sparingly.
Several of our friends make up the chef team and we'd been looking forward to dining there.
Left to right you see Wagyu beef tartare on lotus chips, Crisp pork belly and congee (or Jook as we call it is a rice porridge), Sui Mai (a kind of pork dumpling) and Lo Bak Go (a cake made out of daikon with pork).
Really fantastic and apparently they have top secret recipes which is always intriguing. They specialize in dim sum which they serve daily until 4 pm.
Chef Curtis went a little crazy and we ended up with enough food for 8 people. Really though B always orders twice the amount of food than we can eat because he wants the leftovers.
On the far side you see their Salt & Pepper Crab and in the front is the Clay Pot Chicken. This chicken is sooo flavorful with pieces of chicken, mixed mushrooms, lup cheong (chinese sausage, it's more firm, less fatty and sweeter than American sausage) and those rectangles on top with the purple lines are slices of taro. All of this is in a really fantastic coconut sauce. It would be hard for me to go back and not order this again.
The Salt & Pepper crab is made from fresh (as in live) Dungeness crab that has been lightly battered and fried up in a wok with some garlic. The whole thing is sprinkled with salt and pepper.
I love eating crab with B because he gives me the easy pieces and likes to work on getting every bit of meat out of the smaller pieces. If you are a crab fan than you will love this dish. Simple and perfect.
The Curry spiced seafood fried rice was different than any fried rice I've had. This is not just a side dish. It had crab, shrimp and sea bass in it. Unique and definitely worth ordering.
In front is the a spicy braised eggplant with beef. The sauce has chili, hoisin, a good amount of garlic and was just rich enough. The beef was very tender and eggplant perfectly cooked.
I'm getting so hungry thinking about this food.
Xino is located on the 3rd floor of the new Santa Monica shopping center right next to the promenade. The next time we go I'll be sure to take photos of the restaurant itself and the beautiful veranda.
I'm hoping we'll be heading there soon...