The Cuisine Scene
David Changs Dragon House
Moreno Valley, CA
I had the nicest
surprise the other day. The doorbell rang, and when I opened the door,
a friend I hadnt seen in a couple of years stood smiling at me.
conversation over the next hour, we caught up on our lives, then the
talk turned to food. Since shed lived in the Yucaipa/ Calimesa area
for a number of years, she mentioned several of her favorite
restaurants, some Id already discovered, but she raved about David
Changs Dragon House in Moreno Valley.
Well. That was a sirens call to me, so as soon as I could, I grabbed Sheila and off to Moreno Valley we went.
Alessandro Boulevard a few blocks east of I-215, the Dragon House was
easy to spot with its green-tiled roof. Because of their ample parking,
we soon entered the restaurant and discovered walls filled with awards
and photographs of the owner, David Chang, with sports, entertainment
and political figures, including former Speaker of the House, Tip
In the main
dining room, a reddish-brown Buddha statue greeted us, then Donna
Wilkerson showed us to our booth in a side room of white tablecloths
and serene prints gracing the walls.
Donna has worked
at Dragon House for about seventeen years and told us David Chang
originally opened the restaurant twenty-seven years ago. His brother,
Jimmy, acts as manager and cooks along with a full kitchen staff of
three cooks, six helpers and seven servers.
Known for their
Mandarin and Szechwan cuisine, Dragon House uses fresh meat and
vegetables and make all of their sauces in-house, including all of the
Szechwan cuisine, we discovered, differs from Cantonese in that the
dishes cook longer and are usually hot and spicy. We discovered that
after Sheila bit into a red chili in the Beef with Broccoli. Used to
Argentine cuisine, she has no problem with spices, but gulped extra
water after that fiery bite. Next time, Donna advised, be sure to
extract the chilies beforehand.
But no matter
the cuisine, the food was delicious. First, Donna brought a pot of
Chinese tea to the table along with a bowl of crispy noodles and
dipping sauces. We munched until she brought an appetizer platter of
spring rolls, fried shrimp, wonton, and BBQ spareribs. The rolls
crunched when I bit into them and the BBQ spareribs, appetizer size,
were deliciously red with their special sauce.
Then she served
Shrimp Sizzling Rice Soup. Prepared fresh each day, the soup was packed
with shrimp, chunks of chicken, turkey ham and rice. Pea pods,
mushrooms, onions, water chestnuts and either cabbage or bok choy were
Already I could
understand why theyd won so many awards, but more treats were in store
with the entrees. When Donna set the Honey-Glazed Shrimp on the table,
I thought the dish looked so appetizing it should be featured in a
magazine. Lightly-battered golden shrimp shone in a glaze of honey
sauce, and beside them, honey-glazed walnuts topped with Maraschino
cherries were almost too pretty to eat.
I couldnt wait
to try them. The shrimp were scrumptious with a honey glaze, and the
sweetened walnuts provided the crunch. We saved the cherries until
last, thinking they would be dessert.
brought more dishes for us to try. A sizzling platter was piled with
beef, shrimp, chicken, broccoli and mushrooms in a brown sauce. Orange
Beef was next, made of slices of deep fried beef sautéed with orange
peel and scallions in a spicy sauce. Braised string beans were a
perfect complement with a touch of onion, garlic and water chestnuts.
Just as we told
her we couldnt take another bite, she brought their Steamed Fillet of
Fish. Totally steamed for the health conscious, the sole fillet was
topped with fresh ginger and scallions in a special sauce.
For dessert, she
brought their Fried Banana with Peanut Powder. Cut into chunks and
covered with powder from the peanuts the cooks crush in the kitchen, I
discovered a myriad of flavors and textures. Crunchy from the batter,
the banana inside was sweet, and the peanut powder added an extra
texture without being overly sugary. Of course, cherries on top added
the perfect last touch.
Our feast was
only a sampling of their six pages of items. Dragon House offers about
nine different soups ranging from $3.75 to $13.95 for the Sharks Fin
and Three Flavor Soup of chicken, shrimp and mushrooms.
diners can choose from Fried Wontons for $3.95 to the House Special
Assorted Appetizers on a tray with flame in the center for $9.95.
They offer the
standard poultry dishes from Almond Chicken for $8.50 to the Cashew
Shrimp for $14.95. In between are the sizzling plates of beef for
$10.95 to the Assorted Seafood for $14.50. Bean Curd dishes, vegetable,
and pork dishes such as Szechuan Pork, made of shredded pork and water
chestnuts, Chinese mushrooms and scallions with hot garlic and ginger
in Szechuan sauce for $7.95.
run from $6.50 to $8.95, and they offer Chow Mein or Chop Suey from
$6.95 to $7.95, depending on whether its served with pork, chicken or
They have a
Daily Lunch Special for $5.95, a Weekday Luncheon from 11am to 3pm, and
a Weekend Lunch Special ranging from $7.25 to $8.95.
Two Gourmet Dinners, served for two or more range from $11.95 per person to $12.95, depending on the choices.
after the feast, I observed the other two dining rooms filled with
people. Couples and families seemed to enjoy the excellent food and
casual atmosphere. Everyone involved in preparing and serving our meal
seemed friendly and eager to please.
I love that
theyre open 7 days and have evening hours. Ill certainly go back. The
Dragon House is now on my personal list of favorites.
David Changs Dragon House
22456 Alessandro Blvd
Moreno Valley, CA 92553