Wednesday, April 9

The Green Zone

While looking for bento supplies in the area, I came across a sustainability-oriented website that had listings of various restaurants that matched their mission. One of the restaurants on that list is the Green Zone, which advertised itself as having "entrees using locally-raised, farm fresh ingredients." I was intrigued because this restaurant in located smack-dab in the middle of the eating landscape that is the SGV, a place not well-known for that kind of organic, pro-local attitude.

I double checked with a browse through other SGV blogs and a quick perusal of yelp and chowhound. It seemed to be very favorable and generally the sentiment was "I can't believe it's located on Valley!" I convinced my sister to tag along yesterday and soon we were there. It's located in Valley Plaza next to many other restaurants.

The inside is modern but not cold, with wood accents and a green theme. Almost everyone else inside spoke Mandarin. Our waiter was nice, and I'm pretty sure he is the co-owner of the restaurant. The menu is sort of a pan-Asian, not-quite-fusion affair.

We decided to each order a dish and share the wild-caught sea bass over spinach salad. She got the seafood pasta with linguine. There's a choice of sea bass, salmon, or shrimp scampi, but our waiter offered to do a mix of the three. I decided to get that SGV standby: Hainan chicken over rice. I also ordered an organic ginger ale and my sister ordered a pomegranate-apple juice.

The salad came out after about a 10-minute wait. I liked the balsamic vinaigrette on the spinach, but the sea bass was a little bit too cooked for my liking. My Hainan chicken came out soon after. The presentation was beautiful, and everything tasted really, really good. I liked that they poached the dark meat so that it was not dry at all, and I didn't have to deal with picking the meat off the bones. The rice was very flavorful, and all the sauce accompaniments worked well with the chicken and rice.

After a bit of a wait the pasta came out and we both thought the portion was huge. There was quite a bit of seafood and the sauce was very liquidy. The pasta itself had a nice bite to it, and all of the seafood was cooked perfectly and tasted fresh. However, my sister felt it wasn't their strong point and said she would come back but not order the pasta again.

With everything we ordered the price came out to more than we would normally spend for lunch (this is the SGV after all), but I am sure it would have cost way more had it been in west LA or Pasadena. I look forward to returning. In fact, I think I will go back next week and try some of the other things on the menu, like the salmon triangles with tri-colored salt, or the organic wonton soup. I recommend the Hainan chicken and may even like it better than what they serve at Hainan chicken standard Savoy down the street.

The Green Zone
534 E Valley Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91776

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