You Tiao and XLB at P & R Gourmet (華軒美食) in San Jose
I’ve been trying to find a good place for Chinese breakfast in the south bay. Chinese breakfast usually means shao bing (燒餅), you tiao (油條; fried cruller; Chinese donuts), soy milk, etc. Upon seeing an ad in the local Chinese newspaper advertising a new restaurant serving Chinese breakfast, we decided to check it out.
As soon as we walk in the place, we thought that we had come to the wrong place. The restaurant had a large open counter area with kitchen directly behind it like a fast food place (think Panda Express). Definitely do not wear your nice clothes here as the smell (though aromatic) from the kitchen will get into your clothes.
We ordered the soy milk and you tiao, but there was no shao bing. This is a sign that the place is not a Northern Chinese place as shao bing is more commonly found in Shandong and Northern Chinese restaurants. Being a Shanghai style restaurant, it did have Xiao Long Bao. We also ordered the scallion pancakes just to see how good it is. For entrees we decided to try the combination chao mian, salt and pepper fish, and stir fried Chinese eggplant with basil.
The soy milk and you tiao came first. Soy milk was pretty standard, but the you tiao looked and tasted very doughy. Although it was not not light and fluffy as it should be, it was fried decently so it was at least not oily. This cannot compare to a “real” you tiao from Taiwan, but at least it is edible. (Grade: C+ )
The XLB was also average. The skin was thicker than normal and the filling was slightly more dense than I’d like and there was just barely a little bit of soup. Overall it would not rank in the upper echelon of XLB in bay area. (Grade: B- )
The scallion pancake came toward the end of the meal. Apparently this was their first day of business selling the breakfast small eats. The lone waiter was running around like crazy trying to take care all the tables (it was only 2/3 full). He also had to be the bus boy and cashier – the only thing he didn’t do was actually cook. Either way, the pancake was very doughy and hard with only a tiny bit of scallion – not very good. (Grade: C- )
The chao mian dish came in a large plate. The noodles were standard factory style “oil noodle” 油麵. Flavor was pretty standard, but the amount of ingredients was very lacking. I counted only 2 pieces shrimp and a few more pieces of chicken/pork. Definitely not worth the price. (Grade: C+ )
The salt and pepper fish was OK. The frying of the fish was good and not oily but it lacked much flavor. The fish pieces were small and seemed to be from a lower grade of fish. (Grade: B- )
The Chinese Eggplants with basil looked very beautiful with its bright purple colors glistening with the thin layer of oil coating during the stir frying process. It did not taste as good, however. The pieces were chopped too big such that flavors cannot be infused. When pressed down a little bit, it oozed off oil like a sponge. (Grade: C )
On hindsight, we should of ordered more of the Shanghai dishes – although even the waiter could not recommend any when we asked him. Probably it was due to the fact that he said the Chinese menu only came about the night before and even he did not know many of the items on it. Of all the things we’ve tried, nothing really stood out. Hopefully their Shanghai specialties are very good, or they will have a hard time drawing the customers.
P & R Gourmet
1362 S Winchester Blvd
San Jose, CA 95173