Sunday, May 29, 2005

Oomasa + +

Located in the Tokyo Village Plaza, this booth/counter restaurant is almost completely shielded from outside eyes. The dinner special is served in Bento boxes and is pretty decent, and although nothing spectacular is pretty filling. The tea-flavoured ice cream was the best part. Prices are moderate. A nice place to talk privately, to discuss life and/or research over some food.

Who? Andrew, Joyce, Thomas

East India Grill * * * / + + + + +

Who? Howie, Andrew, Ravi
Who? Themos, Dimitri
Where? (next to) The Grove
How much? $21
Zagat: 21, $19

Andrew's take: Located at La Brea and Beverly, this is an absolute hidden gem of a restaurant! The food is cheap and just plain excellent. I had the Sagwala Lamb Curry dinner and I was totally stuffed, my tastebuds in an oh-so-happy mood. I love spinach, and this curry did not disappoint with its thick, rich flavour. As an appetizer, the Seekh Kabab was very fragrant and tasty, and the Samosas were likewise wonderful with the table dipping sauces. I had never experienced Cheesy Nan before, but after trying it once, I'm a fan! (Although Ravi says it's not so traditional) Try a Mango Lassi, for they're perfect yoghurty, sweet concoctions. Parking on the streets is easy to find. My only complaint was the rather terse waiter. But thumbs way up and it even gets a coveted 5+ rating. Now if only they delivered to SC!

Themos's take: It sounds like a joke to combine Indian cuisine with Californian cuisine. However this little place brings the two worlds together very efficiently, although I am not a great fan of indian food (especially with all these things that Rajay makes!). The food is good and fresh, the service is just ok, so the people best advantaged from this place are the nearby take-outers. Thumbs up.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

C&O Trattoria * * * * * / + + + + +

Andrew's take:Located at Venice pier, this beautiful patio-garden restaurant boasts a super-busy, fun and loud atmosphere. Right from the get-go, they gouge you with little bread buns of garlic butter covered goodness. When the main meal comes, you wonder if there is any pasta left in Italy because the portions are large enough to feed entire armies! I know I say this all the time but I really mean it this time - all five of us took home boxes! And that was the "normal" size dish. Apparently there's also "gargantuan" (I'm afraid to ask). I had the Calamari and the Chicken Pepperonata which was quite good, although a bit too stewed for my liking (I still have a whole chicken breast left). However, the prices are excellent for the amount and quality of food you get ($8-11/entree). In between bites of your meal, you can indulge in the singing of "That's Amore", an event that stops the entire waitstaff for a few minutes as they parade around the room, clinking everyone's glasses, to the waltzy tune. Unfortunately, I didn't have an opportunity to try the self-serve Shianti deposited in the large barrels around the restaurant. But I have to say, any place that has crayons where you can draw on the table is tops in my books. Park on the beach ($3), and take a stroll on the pier/beach after. You'll need it. Thumbs up.

Themo's take: Good pasta, good value for money, good location, good atmosphere, good prices: This place has a little bit of everything. I had 3 garlic breads outside while waiting, 6 more after we sat down and while waiting for the main meal, 4 while eating, and 7 more for dessert. After eating these 20 garlic breads I could only eat half of the gargantuan pasta full of meat sauce. The normal sized dishes are pretty big but I wouldn't call them huge, anyone who didn't have 2 meals before on the same day and is not skinny asian can handle them.

Who? Andrew, Chris+MichelleY, Su-chizzle, Howie

Monday, May 23, 2005

Joy Mart + + +

Delicious sashimi and sushi are served in this very nice-looking restaurant located at the heart of the Japanese Village. Ingredients are fresh and well presented. The noodle dishes may look small in the menu but they are huge! The ramen is virtually unfinishable. I had the Pad Thai here and it is very good, as was the Hot Asian Sushi Roll. Prices are moderate and can add up quickly.

Who? Andrew, Howie, Jenn Jenn and later... Steve

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Porto's + + +

Don't let the industrial, take-a-number, form-a-line, decide-your-order-now atmosphere overwhelm you. The croissant sandwiches are excellent, and virtually every type of pastry and dessert for the sweet tooth can be found here. The fruit smoothies are cool and refreshing on a hot L.A. day. Shop in closeby Glendale Galleria. Thumbs up.

Who? Andrew, Howie, MichelleP, A. Lok, Siao

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Shaherzad * * * *

Zagat: * * * *, $22

We didn't have any Persian restaurants on this list yet: Shahrzad is a nice one on 1442 Westwood Blvd with reasonable prices, just make sure you make a reservation first. I don't remember a thing from what I ate there, but everything was classy and good.

Monday, May 16, 2005

The nameless Korean BBQ * * * * / + + +

Themo's Take: This place has no english name nor a website. However it's classic Korean BBQ stuff (cook-it-yourself-play-with-the-fire-stuff) with really nice meats, although somewhat pricey. from the 10 freeway exit at Crenshaw North, right on Olympic, then the place is on the second block on the right side - the one with no english characters :-). It doesn't get 4 stars because of the relatively expensive meats - which are good, though.

Andrew's Take: It's a cute little place and it can get very cosy with 10 people! Good quality ingredients. I particularly liked the steamed egg and those white "dumpling" wrappers. But what they do need is some better ventilation! I was crying at night's end due to the smoke in my eyes :(. The funny quirky girl waitress was awesome. Maybe next time they won't spill hot oil all over my pants when they change the grill plate! Congrats on learning chopsticks Themo. Always fun to play with fire! Thumbs up.

Who? Andrew, Themo, Darren, Chris, Yao, 5 of Yao's friends + 1 quirky waitress

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

BCD Tofu House * * * / + + + +

Themo's Take: This place is pretty good, but it's hard for me to give more than 3 stars in an asian restaurant. They never impress me for some reason.

Andrew's Take: Excellent Korean food for a chain restaurant at decent prices. The Tofu dinner combos are superb - perhaps because I'm partial to thick and spicy tofu soups and mounds and mounds of Bulgogi. However, I was not a big fan of the small-dish vegetables they put out. The Kimchi was average as was a lot of the other vegs. The one on Wilshire is open 24 hours a day. Parking is readily available in a huge lot. Don't push the little button on the table repeatedly, it actually does something! Thumbs up.

Who? Themo, Dora, Rajay, Steve, Andrew

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Leela Thai * * / + + +

Located at Silverlake and Effie, this family-owned restaurant is truly in the middle of nowhere. The atmosphere is extremely cosy (think no bigger than your living room) and the dishes are prepared in that same "homemade" spirit. Large selection of decent Thai food at a very cheap price. Cash only! Thumbs up.

Who? Andrew, Themo, Dora, Rajay

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Loft + + +

Located in Torrance (Hawthorne & Lomita), this PacIsland decorated restaurant is a buffet serving Hawaiian BBQ . Although at first glance the food selection does not appear to be very large, it is actually quite satisfying. The grilled meats are delicious, and fresh pancakes, topped with fruit, are made before your very eyes . I liked the finger foods a lot. A little birdie from Hawaii told me that the foods are quite authentic. Most of all, I also enjoyed the fact that they were showing playoff basketball on big TV's. Thumbs up.

Who? Andrew, CASA board 2004-5, CASA board 2005-6