SCVFoodie was recently invited by the folks at New Moon Restaurant to take a tasting tour of their menu. Although the restaurant opened in its current location on Newhall Ranch Road in 2007, we’d never eaten at the restaurant—only stopped in for drinks on one occasion.
Honestly, we never really think about New Moon or any of the other half-dozen restaurants in that shopping center when deciding where to eat (probably because entering the center isn’t that easy, and the only thing you can see from the road driving by is LA Fitness). But next time we’re craving Chinese food in the SCV, New Moon’s on our short list. We tried a number of items, and while there were a couple of misses, overall, the dishes were flavorful and lighter than we thought they’d be.
Generally, SCVFoodie’s experience with Chinese food in and around Santa Clarita has been an enthusiastic “meh” on the best days. Many around here accept Panda Express as Chinese food (it’s not). So we were pleasantly surprised when the dishes at New Moon were flavorful—peppery, spicy, sweet—and not too too greasy. No one offered us the option for either “brown” or “white” sauce either, which a number of places do.
New Moon, a privately owned restaurant chain with four other locations in Montrose, San Marino and two in DTLA, can trace its roots back three generations of owner Colin Tom’s family. So can some of the dishes—and we can see why. The food is a pricier than other Chinese restaurants in the area, but the portions are generous and the atmosphere is more formal than typical take-out Chinese fare, so it evens out in the end.
We tried a number of items and we’ll go through the list, from our favorites to our least favorites:
Dragon Beef: This is a hot (Thai chili peppers) dish, but worth every bite of spice. (We’d like it even spicier, but our dining partner didn’t.) The peppers complemented the dark soy and sherry marinade of the tender beef.
Shelby’s Sweet & Spicy Chicken: The chicken starts off sweet but then the black pepper adds a really nice finish.
Braised String Beans: These beans were awesome, full of flavor. Our only complaint is that they seemed a little overcooked and looked just a little too wrinkly.
New Moon Chicken Salad: This salad was invented more than 45 years ago and it’s been around ever since. While we’re not Chinese chicken salad fans generally, this one was tasty and not drenched in salad dressing. Another bonus was that the lettuce to fried wonton ratio wasn’t equal—you could actually see greens.
Chloe’s Shrimp: This is New Moon’s most popular item, with sweet garlic sauce coating the crunchy shrimp. We’d move it higher on the list because of the flavor, but shrimp isn’t our favorite protein.
Jumbo Egg Rolls: Order these to share because they are as big as the name implies. (Think mini-burrito size!) We’re not huge fried egg roll fans, but as they go, New Moon is pretty good, stuffing theirs with ground veggies and chicken and shrimp you can actually taste. This is one of the items that they can’t turn into a vegetarian option since they’re made each morning—but call ahead if you want a large order and they might be able to help you out.
Fruit Tart: While they don’t do their desserts in-house, the cheesecake fruit tart was amazing. If we weren’t full from the aforementioned dishes, we might have had more and more of it—which is both a good and bad thing (for our waistlines).
Hunan Crispy Sole: Unfortunately, the fish lacked flavor, relying solely on the fried outer coating to make up for it.
Shanghai Chow Mein: The thin, pan-fried noodles were too dry. Let’s leave it at that.
We hear that New Moon has a pretty good happy hour, so we’ll definitely go back to try it out and taste for ourselves.
28281 Newhall Ranch Road, Valencia
Hours: Monday-Thursday, lunch 11 am to 3:30 pm; dinner 5-9 pm
Friday: Lunch 11 am-3:30 pm, dinner 5-10 pm
Saturday: 12-10 pm
Sunday: 12-9 pm