You wouldn’t guess it by the name, but Roseville Gourmet is a Chinese restaurant. It won’t be for long, though.
Wife-husband restaurateurs Emily and Henry Wong will close the doors of their 25-year-old labor of love at 9 p.m. Friday and walk away into retirement. Replacing it will be a sushi restaurant, with an opening date to be announced, after the necessary permits have been issued and after the space has been remodeled.
“The new owner will rename it to something Japanese, but it will still have ‘Roseville Gourmet’ somewhere in the name,” said Emily Wong. “That’s because our feelings will still be here.”
At first, the Wongs envisioned another Chinese restaurant moving in to their former quarters. “We interviewed a Chinese gentleman and tried to teach him our menu, but he didn’t pick up anything,” Emily Wong said. “Then we talked with the Japanese gentleman (who’s moving in). We’ve tasted his food and it’s good. We want to make sure (the sushi restaurant) does a good job here, because we expect a lot of our (longtime) customers to come to the new place.”
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Roseville Gourmet has been known for its authentic, MSG-free, fairly priced and well-sauced dishes assembled from fresh ingredients and spiked with dashes of imagination. The Wongs built an enthusiastic clientele of regulars, and it seemed like everyone in the dining room always knew everyone else.
On our last visit, we enjoyed chilled spiced cabbage and a plate of marvelous cold skin-on chicken covered in a relish of ginger, garlic and green onion. On other visits we’ve shared roasted duck in plum-orange sauce; thick, succulent rounds of eggplant covered with scallops and shrimp; salt-and-pepper prawns and calamari; and orange peel-seasoned pork wontons, lightly fried and then cooked in a stew of of tomato, egg and onion, and then sauced.
Some of those items were off-menu. If you plan on lunch or dinner before Roseville Gourmet closes for good, call today for the availability of those dishes “or to order anything else you want us to make special,” Emily Wong said.
What are the Wongs’ retirement plans? “Travel and find some restaurants to eat in, not to run. We’re not doing restaurants anymore,” Emily Wong said. “We’re a little sad. We’ve known our customers for 25 years and we’ll miss them. It’s not easy, but we’re relieved at the same time.”
Roseville Gourmet is at 107 S. Harding Blvd., Roseville; (916) 784-8008.