Wednesday, May 7, 2008
This restaurant had been recommeded to me by Gina at MAWL Wines. Always on the lookout for small ethnic places with little or no corkage. Benley's fit the bill.
Five of us met at 7:00 tonight. I had downloaded the menu from Zagat.com and had several items marked that I was intertested in trying. Seems Zagat is out of date. Three items Benley's did not have on their menu. We did find out later from the owner that if we call ahead they would make them up special for us.
We started out with Shrimp & Pork Eggrolls (cha gio) - very tasty, they had a hint of mint and the spicy sauce they served with them was excellent. The size was good also. In addition we had Panko Breaded Shrimp (dijon aioli tom chien don) served with a mustard aioli sauce. The shrimp were good size and fresh. Both of these dishes were very good. We had a bottle of 2000 Merry Edwards, Meredith Vineyards, Russian River Valley, Sparkling Cuvee and a bottle of 2005 Domaine Schlumberger Grand Cru Riesling. Both of these wines paired beautifully with the dishes.
Next came of couple of plates of Wok Sauteed Filet (beef) with potatoes and red onions (bo xao khoai tay). the meat was very tender, obviously a good cut of beef and the sauce was excellent.
A dish of Chicken Curry (ca re ga) and a plate of Salted Shrimps (tom rang muoi) were added to the table. The curry sauce was very light in curry flavor and the chicken was fork tender. The salted shrimp had the shell left on with the spices and salt encrusted on them It made for very flavorful shrimp meat.
With these dishes we added at bottle of 2003 Stolpman Angeli and a 2004 Loring Wine Co., Gary's Vineyard Pinot Noir. These wines went really well with the beef and the pinot paired well with the chicken.
One dessert was ordered a Melting Valrhona Chocolate ( banh chocolate). We all had a bit of it as it was very, very rich. The Stolpman Angels (Syrah) paired amazingly well with this dish.
Service was good, the place was packed on a Wednesday night with people waiting to get in (reservations make in advance are the only way). Prices are reasonable but not as cheap as the small Vietnamese places that seem to line the strip malls like donut shops and nail salons. Food is excellent so worth the extra dollar or so. Dinner for 5 with corkage at $5 a bottle and tax with tip came to $125
Benley's in is a strip mall on Wardlow Rd just west of Norwalk/Los Alamitos Blvd. The north/east corner at the very end of the strip mall.
8191 E. Wardlow Rd, Long Beach 90808 (562) 596-8130