Luckily over the weekend Sister K found the Green Zone Restaurant in San Gabriel, a neat little restaurant that was new to us to try. I'm going to take a stab at classifying this restaurant as an organic Chinese/Taiwanese/Japanese fusion restaurant just based on a casual scan of the items on the menu. They are known for their organic food and Hainan chicken. I actually don't know how we ended up on the topic of Hainan chicken. Maybe I said something like I wanted rice and chicken when the topic of dinner came up.
I've only ever had Hainan chicken one other time at Asian Tapas in Irvine. It was just okay. I knew there was better Hainan chicken out there and was confident that the San Gabriel Valley area would not disappoint.
When we walked into the restaurant, I noticed baskets of produce by the entrance. I guess they also sell organic produce here should you feel inclined to do some grocery shopping after your meal.
We sat right in front of this mural painted by artist Zack. I think my sisters commented on how detailed this mural was and that we don't normally see stuff like this in restaurants in this area.
We shared this Taster's Sampler. Pictured on this plate is 3 orders. You get one of each and 2 rolls with each order which is $3.50. Shrimp rolls, prawn wrapped in tofu skin and salmon triangles. It was piping hot and crispy. Overall it was good.
My sister and I shared 2 dishes. One of them being this clams sauteed with white wine in a garlic broth served over linguine dish. The clams were fresh but the broth and pasta tasted under seasoned or lack that certain something that would have made this dish better. My sister and I agreed that it could have had a richer flavor, more depth and more salt. I'm not a salt fiend but this could have used more. Maybe it was meant to be a healthier version of this dish.
We also shared this Hainan chicken dish which was pretty good. The chicken is poached and served with lemongrass flavored rice (the lemongrass flavor is very subtle, not over-powering at all). I really liked this dish because the chicken was cooked perfectly (thigh meat), was boneless and skinless (note: at some restaurants, the chicken is often served with the skin and bone intact). The garlic chili sauce that was served with this dish was very good. I even liked the ginger scallion sauce and I'm no fan of ginger. The ginger flavor was very subtle which I liked. I would definitely eat this again.
This restaurant is unique in that there are not too many organic restaurants in the SGV or ones that offers healthier options (i.e. being able to sub brown rice for white rice). I also saw some amazing sounding salads on the menu that I would like to try on some future visits and they even have sukiyaki.
This restaurant is not very large so make a reservation ahead of time to ensure a timely seating. Also, if you check-in on Yelp you get a free organic vanilla bean ice cream. Plus, unlimited passion fruit ice tea.
Green Zone Restaurant
534 East Valley Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91776