Lan's Cabo Restaurant
Los Cabos Guide - Restaurant and Dining Review - November 2005 - by George Landrum
I had a special request in to do this review, and that should give you a hint of things to come! My wife and I and various friends have all eaten at Lan’s before and we have never had a bad meal, or even a bad item from the menu. My first experience was for a friend’s birthday party, she had been raving about the food so we decided to treat her and try it. Awesome! I took another friend to lunch, taking advantage of the $8.50 U.S. lunch special. We had the Kung Pao chicken with fried rice, egg roll and soup, and the sweet and sour pork with fried rice, egg roll and soup. The specials were great and the service was very quick, especially considering they were getting ready for a party of 50 arriving in 20 minutes!
Lan’s is located in the in the middle of Plaza Bonita, upstairs. Jimmy Ma is the owner, and this is not his first restaurant. If you have been to Chicago, you may have seen one of the two Lan’s there, or perhaps one in Bangkok, Thailand, or Seoul, Korea. While Jimmy is usually traveling, his son, Tony La, is the manager of Lan’s in Cabo. What makes everything very special is that they brought in Alegundo Sanchez who has been the head chef at Lan’s Chicago for 27 years. Wow, can he whip up a great meal!
Getting back to the food, well, we ordered the basic Chinese beginnings, barbecued pork at and home made egg rolls, both $5 about U.S., but you’ll find the menu is in pesos, so ask the exchange rate if you’re paying in dollars. While the pork was good, the egg rolls were great! Other appetizers ranged from handmade fish dumplings, either steamed or pan fried; Shanghai shrimp cake with wasabi sauce; seabass kara yaki with spicy ponzu garlic sauce to tuna tataki with ponzu, and of course, sashimi!
Lan’s has three soups, and I have tried two. The homemade sizzling rice seafood soup is a bit spicy and a treat, but my favorite is the hot and sour soup with Shiitake mushrooms and vegetables. They also serve a fresh fish wonton soup that I will have to try soon. The soups run from $3 to $7 U.S., and the bowls are not small either, with rice, this could easily make a meal!
For the main course we had Spicy Yu Xiang pork with a sweet and sour garlic sauce (yummy, and I was told I had to share!), Moo Shu chicken with lettuce wrap, crunchy orange chicken with orange sauce and a chefs special “Cooper Shrimp”, named after a client who was always requesting it. The chef’s specials are not on the menu, you must ask to find since the availability depends on the ingredients he is able to procure. The “Cooper Shrimp” has fresh snow peas as one of the ingredients, and Alegundo will not substitute other ingredients in his specials, so frozen is not an option!
Other main courses are Peking duck, Hong Kong basil shrimp (excellent!), Japanese Kobe beef (at market price, be prepared to pull out the credit card on this one) as well as Osaka curry chicken, crispy duck, tempura garlic shrimp, Szechwan spicy beef with vegetables, and a whole red snapper, steamed and served with either a black bean garlic sauce or a vegetable curry sauce. Most of the main courses run $9 to $10 U.S., the Peking duck is $45, the crispy duck is $25, and the snapper and Kobe beef are at market price.
Getting away from the main courses, there are four vegetable selections, either tofu specialties, soft or deep-fried with vegetables; Buddhist delight vegetable deluxe; organic green beans in garlic sauce; or steamed broccoli in oyster sauce. They are about $9 U.S., except for the tofu, which is $12 U.S. There are also four noodle selections: chicken Lo Mien, stir fried with soft noodles; Chopchae Korean bean thread noodles with pork and vegetables; Pad Thai rice noodles with chicken or beef (my favorite!); or today’s Big Boy spicy noodles. Noodle dishes range from $9 to $15 U.S. And of course, how could you be a Chinese restaurant without the standby, beef, pork or chicken fried rice, or steamed rice? Fried rice dishes go for $9 U.S., steamed rice is $2.
One of the things that have kept many people away from Chinese food is the use of MSG. Lan’s uses MSG, but only in the soups.
Next time I go, I am going to try the “Chef’s Table.” It is billed this way, “This is the ultimate in culinary ecstasy, our chef creates a comprehensive tasting of his culinary repertoire. Reservations only. 750 pesos per person with a 2 person minimum.” I can’t wait!
Need something to wash it all down with, or maybe something to sip on? Don’t worry, Tony has managed to get an excellent wine selection started and has over 30 wines constantly changing, from $20 to $200 U.S. a bottle. Not only that, but he also makes some of the best martinis in Cabo, try and stump him on one, you will have a hard time as he has made them all! Beer, sodas, and mixed drinks (all top-shelf spirits) are also available.
Lan's has an excellent 15-seat bar, plenty of tables inside, as well as seating on the balconies overlooking Plaza Bonita, with 75 seats in total. Visa and MasterCard are accepted. Lan’s is open daily from 1 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. with food orders taken until 10 p.m. For parties of eight or more, there’s an automatic 15% service charge. Reservations are strongly suggested for weekends, holidays, special events, and any time there’s a fishing tournament. Oh, and by the way, the restrooms are five stars! Lan’s is in downtown Cabo San Lucas on Lazaro Cardenas, inside Plaza Bonita, behind Hard Rock Cafe, second floor. For reservations, call (624) 143-8828.G.L.
A shorter version of this review was published in Los Cabos Magazine Issue #10 - January 2006