The Emperor is dead – Emperor Noodles, that is. He’s gone and in his place is the curiously named Q38 Noodle House.
Q38 took over the Emperor Noodles space, which looked like an elegant Chinese tea room, with minimal changes to the interior of the restaurant. The same framed photos even hang on the wall.
Even the menu is, more or less, the same.
Since we had a non-meat eater in our midst, we ordered a couple of vegetarian dishes, including the tofu and gourd.
When cooked, the gourd had a slimy mucous-like coating, resembling the texture of cooked okra. I can’t say that the gourd imparted any significant flavor to the bland dish either, making me wonder why anyone would come up with this combo.
I didn’t try the Xiao long bao, steamed dumplings, since my daughter ate them all. She said they were Ok. Din Tai Fung need not worry.
The mushrooms and braised gluten dish was the better of the vegetarian selections, though a little on the oily side. The sensation of biting into the giant airy puffs of braised gluten was interesting – much better than that of the slimy gourds.
One of Emperor Noodles signature dishes was the Preserved Snow Veggie and Yellow Fish Noodles. We had liked it so much on previous visits that we ordered two bowls. Sadly, the fish was not up to par, the thin dry pieces bearing no resemblance to the previous incarnation.
Luckily, the Sheng Jian Bao still held up to the defining version at Emperor Noodles. These pan fried pork buns were fluffy, with a juicy pork filling which contrasted nicely with the crisp fried bottoms. It was almost enough to make up for the other lacking dishes…almost.
Usually emperors have a bad reputation, a sovereign ruler with almighty power. However in the case of Q38, I’d happily welcome the return of the emperor to San Gabriel if it means that the previous quality is restored.
Location –800 W. Las Tunas, San Gabriel 91775
Website – http://www.q38noodlehouse.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Pesco-Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Vegan/Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes