Despite the fact that I cover restaurants for a living, my in-laws have always shown less confidence in my ability to find good food than anybody else in my life, not to mention complete strangers. Instead, they rely on a network of church friends, distant relatives and pretty much everybody but me and my wife (another restaurant industry veteran) to find restaurants to try in the San Gabriel Valley. However, they do give me one dispensation every year, taking me to a restaurant of my choice to celebrate my birthday. This year, I opted for Mr. Fish Szechuan Bistro, a Sichuan restaurant that Dylan Ho recommended in downtown Alhambra that touts “the flavor of Bashu Road City.”
Mr. Fish serves definitive versions of dan dan noodles and mapo tofu that strike just the right mala balance, but if I could only suggest one dish, it would be Steamed Eggs with Clams ($11.99). This mild dish is visually striking, featuring plump Manila clams planted in fluffy eggs bathed in a savory soy-based sauce. Crunchy clipped scallions and minced red peppers complete a relatively simple, but seriously satisfying seafood and egg preparation.