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"Dark little chinese place"

My roommate asked me yesterday if I knew of any good "dark little chinese places" to take her boyfriend when he comes to visit (apparently they're a passion of his). I told her i know of some great huge, bright dim sum places, but I wasn't so well versed in the "dark and littie" any suggestions?

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    1. There aren't really dark little Chinese places, although I've often thought it would be a good idea. The Formosa, referenced above, is certainly worth a stop for drinks, but not to eat. Hop Louie's, downtown, also has a somewhat atmospheric bar, but again, drinks only, don't eat there.
      Not Chinese at all, but I like places like Sake House Miro (Japanese) on La Brea or Sa Rit Gol (Korean) on Olympic for smallish places that seem to have some funky, old time ambiance and good food as well. There's probably lots of other Korean bars, like the Prince, that could also fulfill this.
      But Chinese places tend to be very, very bright, and often quite large as well.

      1. The place in the same complex as Mayfair on Hyperion, in the corner. Food used to be good 10 years ago, and it is dark in there if i remember correctly.

        1. You must be kidding. Nobody but kids from Marshall High eat at Song Hay Inn, and while it may or may not be dark, it would be really unkind to take a vistor to L.A. there.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Chowpatty

            Ok, soI went to Marshall, but i thoght it used to be good, maybe it was 15 years ago, sorry, is it really that bad? Next thing you are going to tell me is that Pauls Kitchen downtown is no good.

            1. re: Burger Boy

              Sorry--ripped to shreds the only time it was discussed on this board.


          2. Two suggestions...in you're near the south bay, give szechwaun on PCH (@ 17th street) a try...it's old school chinese with great food and a good bar. Also, if you're near downtown LA, try kobe ramen on first street...not chinese food, it's japanese, but the dumplings are great, and so is the ramen.......it's clean and small, but not as dark.

            1. It seems to me that your roommate's boyfriend is operating on the New York City Chinese restaurant paradigm where dingy little dungeons serving greasy, Americanized chinese food abound (like Wo Hop on Mott St, for example).

              I have to agree with the previous poster that Paul's Kitchen on San Pedro (skid row adjacent) is probably the best suited place (wonton soup is pretty tasty, New Yorky style) but there really isn't an equivalent that I've found in LA which serves food you'd be proud to dish up as a Chowhound. Genghis Cohen on Fairfax might be a little to polished, but that serves up divey Chinese too, and the best NY style eggrolls I've found in LA (and believe me, I've looked). http://www.chowhound.com/topics/34988...

              However.... it seems that this guy isn't looking for a level of Chinese food that we chowhounds would feel comfortable recommending anyway-- what he's looking for is the ambiance of an old school american/chinese kitsch experience as LA dishes it up. For that I'd say Hop Louie or Formosa would do just fine.

              Just don't tell him that we sent him there.

              Mr Taster
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              1. If you sit in the back of the east side of the restaurant, Bamboo, on Ventura Blvd. and Hazeltine in Sherman Oaks I think you might find what you are looking for with somewhat far better thgan average valley Chinese food. Plus they have a good bar to go with all that darkness.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Hughlipton

                  ...and prices that bespeak a huge, chandelier-lit palace.

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    ...but obviously you're not referring to a huge chandelier-lit place in San Gabriel where 2 people could stuff themselves for about $25 :)

                    Mr Taster
                    Protect Chowhound
                    Boycott Avatars!

                2. I agree with the posters that dark little Chinese places aren't really an LA phenomenon.

                  But if you want a "dark little" place with a touch of old-school Orientalism, I like to have cocktails at the Pearl Dragon on Sunset in the main downtown section of Pacific Palisades.

                  Dark, kinda romatic, pan-Asian menu with stuff like coconut shrimp and non-adventurous sushi rolls....but it has a nice ambiance, and it's got a "moongate" you walk through at the entry.

                  Or else go for the true model and go to Trader Vic's at the Beverly Hilton.

                  1. Not too dark might might fit the bill:
                    Go China Pasadena. Lake and Walnut

                    1. Well, if all else fails, and she can't find a restaurant to fit the bill, how about drinks at the Good Luck Bar?

                      1. Is the mood he is going for like the Chinese joint that the salesmen duck into when it rains in "Glengarry Glen Ross"?

                        1. Hunan Cafe - in a very tiny strip mall on Sunset & Laurel. Great place to eat before catching a flick at the Sunset Laemmle. Dark, little, cheap, good Chinese good.

                          1. There are lots of great "hole-in-the-wall" Chinese places, which you'll see recommended on this forum, mostly in the SGV. If they want good food, they'd be advised to check out one of these places. Mei Long Village isn't *too* bright by SGV standards, and it's fairly small.

                            Then go somewhere like the Formosa or Hop Louie's (both mentioned above) or even Good Luck Bar for drinks and get the "dark little 'chinese' place[s]" fix.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: will47

                              Great call by "jcwla"...the chinese joint in glengarry glen ross is what i picture. i know what "mixster" is looking for...it is what we all grew up with in the 70's and 80's...dark greasy little chinese joints serving pu-pu platter at every table....if you know LA, you know that things constructed more than 20 years ago are torn down and made into a dry-cleaner, so I wouldn't look too hard, you'll ultimately be disappointed.

                              1. re: barno

                                "if you know LA, you know that things constructed more than 20 years ago are torn down and made into a dry-cleaner"

                                Exactly why I suggested Formosa Cafe which was opened in 1939 and has been there ever since.

                                1. re: tony michaels

                                  Barring a time machine and going back 10 years to Yee Mee Lou, go to Formosa Cafe.
                                  Just drink.

                                  Or if you like eat.

                                  I won't be there

                                  except at the bar


                                  1. re: Jerome

                                    Curious....where was yee mee lou located???

                                    1. re: barno

                                      Yee Mee Loo was at 690 Spring St., near the NE corner of Spring and Ord. Last time I was there, over 20 years ago (not counting the ersatz Yee Mee Loo buffet that later opened near there) there was a black and white photo of Babe Ruth or somebody like that on the wall.

                                      1. re: Chandavkl

                                        King Fu on Pico near Robertson is kind of Dark and not bad Americanized Chinese Food.
                                        Xian on Canon in Beverly Hills a little more upscale but on the darkish side.