If you’ve ever dreamed of being served red-grain pork over rice by a waitress wearing a French striped shirt and beret, in a cavernous dining room featuring a T-rex skeleton, you’re in luck!
If you’re not familiar with Jurassic Restaurant, it’s a kitschy, prehistoric-themed eatery featuring Taiwanese pub fare, beer and soju served by costumed waitresses. Nicknamed a "Taiwanese Hooters," it's located in what could charitably be called an “interesting” strip mall in the City of Industry.
Last year, the same owner opened a lunch spot, Jurassic Tea Spot, in the adjacent space. It quickly became a favorite lunch option for Taiwanese diner food in the San Gabriel Valley, serving some of the best Taiwanese food in the SGV. The tiny place was perpetually packed, which led to at least two closures for expansion and renovation. With yet another extensive remodel under way, the owners have moved the Tea Spot inside the parent restaurant. But you wouldn't know it unless you noticed the sign in traditional Chinese in front of the nighttime pub, featuring the logo of the Tea Spot.
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Foodwise, you’ll find a small menu of traditional Taiwanese favorites with a focus on combos, 11 in total. Of course, being a Taiwanese place, most dishes will feature some variation of pork: house-braised pork over rice (lu rou fan), the deeply stewed ground pork seasoned with a blend of soy sauce and five-spice; pork knuckle over rice; red-grain pork chop over rice; etc. For those not seeking pork, there are a few alternatives, including the house-fried chicken filet over rice and saba ribs (mackerel) with rice.
Some of the combos come with choice of a soup (again, usually involving pork) and/or a small side appetizer – among them, pickled cabbage or pig’s ears with chili sauce. The combos also come with sweet black or green tea. If you’re not interested in a combo, many of the same items are available à la carte, as are additional Taiwanese staples such as stinky tofu.
Jurassic Tea Spot will be serving lunch inside Jurassic Restaurant at least until the renovation of the neighboring space is complete, which we were told would take until October. That’s fine with us, because where else are you going to enjoy a Taiwanese lunch in the shadow of dinosaurs?
Jurassic Tea Spot (inside Jurassic Restaurant), 15301 E. Gale Ave., City of Industry; (626) 336-5899, jurassicrestaurant.com.