In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic fantasy, “The Lost World,” a motley crew take a long journey to a plateau where dinosaurs still roam free amidst a strange tropical setting. We didn’t go to the Amazon, but we did have to make our minds up to throw caution to the wind and finally go to Jurassic Restaurant in the heart of The City Of Industry just for the experience and the right to say “OK, we did it.”
The small strip mall on Gale Ave may not have been the El Dorado of Doyle’s novel, but it did have just about everything a person might need, including: A gun shop, a smoke shop, a small bar that used to house punk shows, a beauty parlor, a gentleman’s club and the prize of our journey — Jurassic Restaurant. As you would expect the small interior has faux stone walls and jungle foliage and a small pool full of koi.
As soon as we walked in we heard a party of eight singing happy birthday confirming their advertising that this was a great place to have a party and socialize with friends. There were probably fifteen tables of various sizes and they doubtless could have squeezed more in if it weren’t for the huge T Rex Skeleton sculpture that was the centerpiece of the bistro. We asked if he had a name and the pretty servers just giggled.
Our main server brought our menus right away and explained they were still cleaning the kitchen and it would take about twenty minutes for our food if that was OK. We didn’t mind; we were already there and she was a very nice in her Pocahontas leather fringe outfit (We didn’t realize Fred Flintstone had a native American fetish). The next day that part of the experience was made clearer when a friend told me that the same owner had another restaurant that had a wild west theme to it and that place was called Indian. I figured that her leopard print sarong was in the wash that day.
Jurassic Restaurant started in Taipei in 1988 as a chain and the only one located here has been in existence for almost nine years, so this is no flash in the pan like the ill fated Magic Restroom restaurant that crapped out after only ten months, not far away from the location where we were now dining.
The Taiwanese menu is quite large and they like to showcase their three flavors hot pots which can feature safe bets like spicy beef or challenging dishes like spicy pork intestines with beef tripe. We settled on three dishes which were generous in portions and reasonably priced. First course, which didn’t even take the twenty minutes, was Kung Pao Shrimp, and it was amazingly delicious. We had to pinch each other, but this divey eatery was serving up some good stuff. Next up was Pan Fried Noodles with shredded pork. Skip this or order it for the kids. It was very fresh and non greasy, but bland compared to the Kung Pao and needed more shreds of pork. Lastly came the sizzling Lamb with Vegetables. This was another knock out and good over the steamed rice. The chef was not stingy with the lamb nor the ground black pepper.
We were prepared for one of those kitschy themed and pedestrian recipe places like the Rainforest chains and instead got a nice payoff for the road trip.
Jurassic Restaurant is located at 15301 Gale Ave, City of Industry, CA 91745 and is open
Mondays CLOSED, Tues – Thurs 6pm – 1am, Fri & Sat 6pm – 1:30am, Sun 6pm – 12:30am