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What's your most recent WOW! Moment at an LA restaurant?

I'm talking about one of those moments where the mood isn't merely good. It isn't even great. It transcends all of that and completely changes the way you think and judge other dishes and flavors. Has there been a WOW! Moment for you at an LA restaurant lately? Did it come from a classic like Patina or Melisse? Was it at one of the new places like Fraiche or Mozza? Was it at an ethnic place like Sabor a Mexico or Thai Nakorn? Was it the pistachio gelato at Bulgarini or the dates at AOC?

My most recent was probably an omakase tasting at Sushi Zo, where Keizo-san was just hitting on all cylinders and everything came out fan-freakin-tastic. The paragon of that sitting was the ankimo, the monkfish liver. Up to that point, I'd never known that a sushi restaurant could come close to the depth of flavor of sweetbreads or foie gras, but I now stand corrected.

So, what has wow'ed you recently?

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  1. I had two on Saturday... I've eaten it a dozen times, but the hand-carved pastrami on rye at Langer's is transcendental. And then, I drove about 10 minutes down the street to Mateo's for a paleta of leche quemada. Wow.

    1. The chilaquiles at Pepy's Galley on Venice had me WOW!ing last weekend. I was just the right degree of hungover and it hit the spot perfectly.

      I had a WOW! piece of bread pudding at 3 Square yesterday, it had just come out of the oven and was warm and fragrant.

      The biggest WOW! moment I experienced of late was the fava bean veloute with sweetbreads and razor clams served at the 5x5 Chef's dinner at Providence.

      3 Replies
      1. re: hrhboo

        hey hr.

        do they serve composed desserts in the restauant in the evenings? or is all just bakery goods from next door?

        do you happen to know also if they serve the apple pancake at dinner for dessert?

        thanks.

        1. re: kevin

          The desserts they serve at dinner time are different from what's in the bakery. I'm not 100% certain of this, but I'm pretty sure the apple pancake is only served at breakfast and lunch.

          1. re: hrhboo

            thanks, i'll have to hit it up for dinner, lunch is not their strong suit.

      2. Pistachio nut milkshake eaten with a churro.

        Pistachio nut milkshake courtesy of Fosselman's.

        Churro from your local neighborhood Costco.

        Milkshake and churro? Priceless.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          The ice crdam shop on board the Queen Mary, in Long Beach, has an EXCELLENT.pistachio milkshake or malt. If you are just going to eat, you can tell that to the admissions people, and avoid paying the QM entrance fee.

          1. re: droyal

            I haven't done this in years, but you used to be able to get on the Queen Mary for free by going through the hotel.

        2. not me, i already knew this, but my husband recently had angel hair pasta that was actually al dente (at 2117 in sawtelle). he actually asked is angel hair pasta usually made from the same flour that other pastas are made of (he doesnt know. and hes used to badly over cooked pasta).

          he loved it. it was definitely a wow moment for him.

          1. 1)
            Sunday supper at Luques a few weeks ago was much better than it had been on my previous few visits. The two entrees offered that night were pork belly and trout, our tables was swapping plates and bites galore. The service was pretty negligent but the meal itself was delicious.

            2)
            Pretty much everything at Mozza is very good (and has been disected endlessly on this board) but two things stood out on my last visit, the beets with horseradish app and the greek yogurt gelato for desert. So, so good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bodie

              I was so unimpressed with the Sunday Supper at Luques - service & especially food. Hmm, maybe it was an off night and I need to check it out again...

            2. Mine was at Zo too! I had no idea salmon could taste like that...

              Other big ones for me recently: the sweet onion soup with crab cake at Melisse as well as the sticky toffee pudding dessert there.

              1. The presentation of the chocolate dessert tasting at Abode with the cake baked inside the egg

                1. My friends know me as one of those people who walks away from 90% of dinners out saying, "wow, that's seriously one of my new favorite restaurants." Probably my biggest revelation was inadvertant omakase at Sushi Gen (my first time ever sitting at the sushi bar due to the lunch rush.) The experience of eating (taste, texture, temperature, everything) was far and away superior to any other sushi experience I had had to date. I felt like I was tasting the talents and training of the chef, as opposed to just "eating sushi."

                  1. Sadly there has never really been a restaurant where I've gone WOW at everything. But the last WOW!!! for us was the Happen Cheese at Furaibo. We had been looking forward to it for ages, and decided to have it as a special 'welcome home' meal.. And man... it sure made the meal... :D

                    --Dommy!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Dommy

                      Han-pen cheese. Yeah, it's basically one of the most triumphant achievements in culinary history. A mild cheese wrapped in a fish cake, wrapped in seaweed, breaded and deep-fried. I prefer to pair it with a pitcher (or 3) of Sapporo.

                    2. went to kirala in bh. wow!! a bit expensive but FREAKING WOW!! sushi was perfect but the tempura was beyond WOW

                      1. my most recent WOW was at Sushi Iki in Tarzana last weekend. I just asked for best fish they had (as i have never been before) and everything was fantastic. however, the most transcendent moment was with a piece of Mana Katsuo with a wonderful lemony sauce. Eddie makes all of his sauces and dressings in house (he even makes the sorbet they served for dessert).

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: esculent

                          The fennel sausage balls that come on the sausage pizza at Mozza.
                          I've never had Italian sausage outside of packaged ones at grocery stores, costco, TJ's; the already cooked ones at bay cities; or at various pizza joints. Mozza's sausage is a world apart from any italian style sausage I've ever tasted.
                          That fennel sausage pizza as a whole was a wow.

                          1. re: Wolfgang

                            I completely concur with the fennel sausage balls and the fennel sausage pizza as a whole at Mozza. Outstanding.

                            1. re: Redvixen

                              Another big "WOW" from me when I tasted that fennel sausage pizza at Mozza.
                              The other "wow" came from the roasted beets in horseradish, also at Mozza.
                              Simply divine!!

                              1. re: maudies5

                                The ricotta-stuffed fried squash blossoms at Mozza were my biggest WOW in recent memory.

                                1. re: umami

                                  A similar dish at Grace stuffed with burrata and tempura fried is also transcendental ... but I think squash blossoms would be better in the summer months.

                          2. re: esculent

                            May I ask how much was your meal at Sushi Iki?

                            1. re: WHills

                              our total w/out tip (incl 1 sake, 1 asahi and 1 tea) came to about $130. I asked how much omakase is there and they said $100pp which is too steep for my budget, so I was just honest and told the chef that I would love to have omakase, but couldn't afford it. They treated us very respectfully and Eddie brought out his best for us while not completely killing our budget. We did get terrified that we got into a $300 meal halfway through...then I tasted the Mana Katsuo and all was worth it.

                            2. re: esculent

                              Sushi Iki has also been the scene of one of my WOW's!
                              Others have happened to my surprise at Zo (everything, but especially the yuzu drink) and Langers and Elite and Musha (torched mackerel).

                              I find much integrity in the places where several people have reported their "wow's."

                              1. re: liu

                                And I am remembering yet one more WOW -- Everything at Tacos Baja Ensenada (TBE)!
                                Oh, oh (my arm up and waving - I have yet one MORE, please!) AND the Panama coffee from the Clover machine at Groundwork downtown.

                                AND...what a great Chowhound city this is!

                            3. the omakase at sushi zo was defintiely a WOW moment for me as well.

                              the poissin at opus.....i am still talking about this dish (its been 4 mo's).

                              lengua and cabeza taco's at tacos tumbras a tomas.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: wilafur

                                Had a wow moment at Zo last night when I bit into his toro hand roll. Sublime.

                                1. re: hrhboo

                                  My last Wow moment was at Zo, the squid noodles with uni sauce. Just squid legs in melted uni, to be eaten like pasta. Literally one of the most unexpected and amazing dishes I've ever had.

                              2. Getting the bill at Mozza. I sure said "Wow". And a few other things.

                                The best Wow moment recently has been the Salt crust Santa Barbara Spot Prawns at Providence.

                                1. The ube shake at The Oinkster.

                                  1. not sure if these are on the menu at the hotel restaurant, but i was at Shutters for a company meeting and the lunch they served had two salads, a cobb and a fingerling potato salad. both salads, although simple - were just EXCELLENT.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: jaydee

                                      Most recently I would have to say Langer's pastrami or Vito's pizza! Chowhound is the best/worst thing to possibly happen to me

                                    2. The Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes at BLD. Pancakes are pancakes, but these are amazing. Light and delicious. I remember the first time I had them, just said "wow".

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: rw4911

                                        Last night at Campanile - the Sauteed Trenne - WOW! The most perfectly crisp pasta paired with incredible shaved parmesan on top of the most tender, delicious beef bolognese.

                                        Blaire's in Silverlake - their Madagascar vanilla ice cream with hot mini-donuts - best dessert i've had in Los Angeles!

                                      2. First dinner at Providence a few weeks ago - Wow! And our too-frequent visits to the new Bulgarini gelato in Altadena have produced many, many Wow!s, most recently from the Meyer Lemon Cream flavor. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . .

                                        1. I agree with being "WOW!-ed" by omakase at Sushi Zo. I can't stop thinking about the cool, pristine creaminess of the uni combined with the slightly warmer rice under it. Subsequent orders of uni at other (cheaper) Westside sushi establishments have failed to impress. I will be back.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: ctan

                                            I completely agree with you. My first Sushi Zo omakase was a definite WOW for me.

                                          2. Nut Cake at Paru's in Hollywood. I could eat it indefinitely.

                                            1. Off the top of my mind two pieces of recent goodness (past couple/three weeks)...

                                              Poached Egg with Fresh Oregon Morels at Providence - WOW
                                              Sweet Pea & Cream Agnolotti at Spago - WOW

                                              I do have to say that the Poussin at Opus mentioned by others was also terrific... I had it twice there.

                                              There are more, but I'm looking for the next WOW... maybe tonight? If not, hopefully tomorrow.

                                              1. Tacos de tripas and cabeza at the taco truck on Alvarado. It was a definite wowness moment.

                                                1. the only moments i've had like that in recent years have also occurred at sushi zo.
                                                  i feel the same way about their monkfish liver as you do.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                    do you need reservations for the sushi bar at sushi zo?

                                                      1. re: clayfu

                                                        no, but as dommy pointed out, its a good idea. =)

                                                        1. re: clayfu

                                                          highly recommended.
                                                          the last time i was there it was a tuesday night. every single seat at the bar was taken and every table was spoken for as well.
                                                          i believe that they may try to give preference to omakase customers for seating at the bar.

                                                      2. It was awhile ago, but the the spicy tuna handroll at Sushi Iki. It was a wow because it was a) expensive - $10, b) HUGE - the size of a small burrito - lots of tuna, perfect amount of rice i.e. not much and c) better than Hirozen which I did not think was possible.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: blackbookali

                                                          That's what makes such a "WOW" experience -- when we KNOW that we have had the best and there is no better...and then POW! Along comes something yet better!!!
                                                          And so this is probably why we continue our search for something even better than the best! It does happen...mostly when we're not paying attention.

                                                        2. We recently went to Providence for the first time, and we were WOW'd by the chowda. All the incredible tastes and textures. The richness. Even the incredible aroma. It was a revelation.

                                                          1. Without a doubt, it was the butterscotch pudding at Mozza. I'm salivating just thinking about it.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Amella

                                                              ditto...that wow-ed me too...even with all the hype

                                                              1. re: Amella

                                                                Wow moment(s) last night at Mozza, including that budino. Intense flavors.
                                                                And we ordered corn in lovage butter that had been made in the pizza oven. That place sure is not afraid of oil or salt and this dish benefited from that not-so-light-hand. Yum.

                                                                Oh, and the pizza was good too, very good...but it was not as good as our salad, corn or budino. We had the squash blossom and burrata cheese pizza. My GF actually did not like squash blossoms cooked that way (just oven roasted, I guess), but I liked the dish a lot. Still - that budino...wow, its flavor lingered like the stubborn fog in Santa Monica.

                                                                1. re: Amella

                                                                  I liked the appetizers at Mozza a lot and also the pizza is good (though I prefer the pizza to be thinner) but the big disappointment at Mozza were the desserts including the butterscotch pudding, IMO

                                                                  We were recently wow'd by the tasting menu at Spago. As close to a perfect meal as I ever had in my life.

                                                                2. I was eating at Patina before a Disney Concert Hall show, and I noticed the white truffle rissoto on the menu. I had ALWAYS wanted to try white truffles, but as of yet all I had come across were black. I get all excited and giddy as I tell the chef, who is about to shave my truffle, how excited I am to finally experience it. I don't know if it's common practice to shave off the entire potato sized truffle for a guest, but that's what I got! He even shaved some of a new truffle onto my friend's lamb so he could see what the fuss was about. That whole meal was out of this world.

                                                                  1. An al pastor taco from an illegal street vendor on Cesar Chavez just a little east of Gage about three nights ago. WOW! Astounding! Utterly perfect al pastor; charred in the right places, juicy and moist where it counts. The tortillas were lightly greased, the red salsa just plain popped in my mouth. Even the grilled jalapenos on the side were utter perfection.

                                                                    Not a restaurant, I guess, but in its own way as great a dining experience as any of the dishes that have knocked my socks off at Providence and other such places.

                                                                    1. Pepper ice cream at Water Grill. Whodathunkit?!

                                                                      1. This doesn't quite fit the bill, since it was a catered dinner, not at a restaurant. Nonetheless,I had a WOW moment last night: a vanilla ice cream served with fresh berries dipped in very old balsamic vinegar. Utterly ethereal.

                                                                        1. The onslaught of toro at my graduation splurge at Urasawa: tataki, sashimi, cooked on my own personal heated rock, and three kinds of toro nigiri: raw, seared, and fully cooked. I am tearing up as I type...

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: djquinnc

                                                                            I'm tearing up just reading about it!

                                                                            1. I just had another WOW moment last night. The sardine nigiri and the blue crab handroll at Sushi Zo were both out of control. I had a second blue crab roll for dessert!

                                                                              1. I just got back from my week's trip in LA and found that there's definitely some WOW out that way. Providence had several WOWs on Thursday night...I was wowed with how spot-on the wine pairings were with each dish and especially WOWed by the most perfectly cooked and delicious scallop I've ever eaten. To round out the trip, the omakase monday night at Bluefin in Orange County was outstanding...the foie gras and quail dish was some of the best executed foie gras I've ever eaten (at a sushi restaurant no less). I felt like the OP must have felt and my mind was blown about what sushi could be.

                                                                                  1. Molcajete at La Parilla on Sunset. Both the seafood and the mixed meats one.

                                                                                    1. I just did a long, extensive review of Coccole in Redondo Beach, the "South Bay Secret", at: www.chowhound.com/topics/416521

                                                                                      I told a friend of mine that I wrote this review, and he said he hopes no one reads it so that the restaurant stays a secret with the locals. It's so incredible and so unique, that there's no way to keep this to ourselves!

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: kealoha

                                                                                        The bocconcini sounds really good. I've never seen that on an Italian menu before.

                                                                                      2. The duck confit sandwich at the Artisan Cheese Gallery was a Wow.

                                                                                        Foie gras sashimi-style with congee at Opus was serious Wow.

                                                                                        Pitfire's summer special pizza with burrata was a nice cool Wow.

                                                                                        1. Opus' "Breakfast in an Egg" on the spontaneous tasting menu.

                                                                                          Its rare to find eggs on high-end menus and Opus' combination of coddled egg yolk, cream of wheat, applewood-smoked bacon, sherry creme fraiche, and honey really hit the spot for complexity of flavor and execution.

                                                                                          http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: poptisserie

                                                                                            I agree! I thought it was a strange combination at first.

                                                                                            The thing that surprised me, though, was the celery granita/sorbet/frozen scoop of deliciousness (?) on the hamachi. I used to absolutely HATE celery, but maybe not so much now. It was a pure celery taste, almost sweet.

                                                                                          2. On Saturday night, I had the sweet white corn and mascarpone agnolotti at Spago. Wow. Wow. I'm still dreaming about it. Wow.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: WestsideLisa

                                                                                              I love the agnolotti at Spago. When I visited last year, we had shaved black truffle on them also. We were a raucous table for our tasting menu, but when the agnolotti came out, it was nothing but silence all around. Like Carls Jr, "Don't bother me; I'm eating."

                                                                                            2. On Tuesday night, the special at the Boneyard Bistro was a bbq shrimp over a mash of succotash, meaning frest corn and peas, not limas, with cream and peaches in that bbq sauce. The melding of those flavors surprised the ... out of me. An amazing combo of flavors, and of course paired with your favorite rose of choice, for which there are three available. Stunning!

                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: carter

                                                                                                sounds great. bbq shrimp in the style of new orleans???? any clue if they'll be offering it again?

                                                                                                what else is new or on the actual menu currently? thanks.

                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                  Kangaroo is one of the other newish specials on the menu, and the shrimp will be around for a bit, yet I would call to verify with aaron at 818.906.7427. As to New Orleans, don't forget, Aaron used to chef in Nashville among other places, so he understands the southern tastebud very well, and it shows big time in his choice of specials.
                                                                                                  Now has 5 Turley Zins on the menu, as well as Thumbprint Syrah, Zin, Rose(yum - which is what I drank with said shrimp dish - perfect marriage, btw!), etc. Small boutique winery in Dry Creek area of Sonoma - well worth seeking out.
                                                                                                  With all his quality wines, that bone-in ribeye is starting to entice me back specifically for it - as in, forget the menu - I am here for the steak, period! Of course, medium rare.

                                                                                                  1. re: carter

                                                                                                    one more thing was the bbq shrimp dish very expenisve over 30 like the other specials or what?

                                                                                                    anyting new on the dessert list? last time i checked he hand a cinnamon roll in addition to the usual banana split, jack daniel's chocolate cake, and dulce le leche tiramisu?

                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                      This special was $28. Never looked at the dessert menu, as the entree was waaaaay enough food for me.
                                                                                                      And generally I don't any way as I am really not a dessert person to any degree - maybe once in a while, but....

                                                                                              2. Seared New Zealand elk tenderloin served with chestnut veloute, bacon lardon, pearl onions and chive spƤtzle at Saddle Peak lodge. The elk was good, but damn, the rest of it was amazing.

                                                                                                1. The spaghetti with botarga and scampi at Via Veneto. Does anyone know the recipe? I'd love to make it at home.

                                                                                                  1. The potato-leek borsellini at Il Grano a couple of days ago. It felt like Anton Ego's ratatouille revelation, but the first bite transported me back to the potato blintzes in my bubbeh's kitchen. Just when I thought it couldn't get better, the next bite had a substantial shaving of summer truffle, which completely changed the flavor in my mouth. It was soooo good.

                                                                                                    1. Calf's liver, bacon and onions at Musso Frank.

                                                                                                      1. The albacore at Sushi Nozawa. Quite possibly the best sushi I have ever had in my life.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. I'll amend my most recent wow by adding the wagyu skirt steak at Craft. Great stuff. I can't wait to try again in a month when Craft *really* hits their stride.

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                                              Soft opening, since Monday 16th.

                                                                                                          1. The panchans at Su Rah in Buena Park. Wowed by the variety and quality. Who cares what the main course was?

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: mlgb

                                                                                                              The green garbanzos and cherry tomatoes under my perfect squab at Opus. Why have I never eaten green garbanzos before?

                                                                                                              1. re: badschiraldi

                                                                                                                you can buy em sometimes at the Santa Monica 3rd street farmer's market.

                                                                                                            2. 1. Yet another vote for the omakase at Sushi Zo last night, but I'm gonna write about that separately
                                                                                                              2. On a much more modest level, potato tacos and sopes at My Taco in Highland Park
                                                                                                              3. More modest still, sticky toffee pudding at Whale & Ale in San Pedro. Gonna do that again tomorrow

                                                                                                              Thanks to Chowhound for directing me to the first two of these!

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Tony Miller

                                                                                                                I LOVE everything at the Whale & Ale although it does overdo it on the salt sometimes. In any case, next time I'm there, I'm goin for the sticky toffee pudding! Sounds yummy. Might just be cause I just like pudding though. =)

                                                                                                                1. re: mstinawu

                                                                                                                  Not so much like pudding in the American sense. It's a small piece of warm, moist, dark cake with an incredible sweet toffee sauce, served with a glob of vanilla ice cream. Wonderful combination of flavors, textures and temperature.

                                                                                                              2. When I saw the price of a pizza at the new Vito's. Wow!

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: 2chez mike

                                                                                                                  You see... to me with the amazing ingredients, care and most of all the final product.. it is SO worth it!

                                                                                                                  --Dommy!

                                                                                                                  1. re: 2chez mike

                                                                                                                    LOL. Seconded regarding the price. Quality IS good.

                                                                                                                  2. When I had the warm chocolate truffle cake at Jiraffe's. The punch of the chocolate flavor with the perfect texture of the cake, it was HEAVEN!

                                                                                                                    1. The thyme donuts at Craft are possibly the best dessert I have ever tasted, definitely a Wow moment.
                                                                                                                      Last night at Bastide, the lobster taco was quite an unusual presentation, but the flavor was so intense... Wow!!

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: jenngen

                                                                                                                        I thought of another... the Kobe burger at Lucky Devil's was a WOW moment!!!

                                                                                                                      2. The roasted halibut with charmoula at Chameau. Finally tried this restaurant and was charmed by the experience and particularly this delicious fish dish. The halibut was perfectly cooked and the tangy charmoula sauce was the perfect accompaniment.

                                                                                                                        1. The papardelle with quail ragu and a little truffle oil at Via Veneto. Like nothing I had ever had before and could never make at home.

                                                                                                                          1. Tender Greens in Culver City.

                                                                                                                            1. Nothing super recent, but in the past few months:

                                                                                                                              Wild Honey Ice Cream @ Boule

                                                                                                                              Cheese Tasting @ Artisan Cheese Gallery

                                                                                                                              Harissa Deviled Egg @ Little Next Door

                                                                                                                              Morning Pizza @ Doughboys

                                                                                                                              ~H.C.
                                                                                                                              http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com

                                                                                                                              1. two come to mind:
                                                                                                                                1) the last time (and every time) i've dined at zo, i've had a WOW moment
                                                                                                                                and
                                                                                                                                2) the Torta Di Mele
                                                                                                                                Homemade apple tart with a sweet balsamic caramel sauce served at il moro.

                                                                                                                                1. Salmon with garlic and mushrooms @ Shin Sen Gumi in Fountain Valley.

                                                                                                                                  The 2nd tier short ribs and kimchi fried rice at Tsuruhashi also in Fountain Valley.

                                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                                  Shin Sen Gumi Hakata Ramen
                                                                                                                                  18315 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708

                                                                                                                                  Tsuruhashi
                                                                                                                                  18798 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708

                                                                                                                                  1. I've had a couple. FIrst at Bistro Zin in Palm Springs. The veal cheaks and sweet breads were perfect. I've never had better. Melt in your mouth tender, perfectly seasoned and cooked and the sauce was in perfect balance. Second, I was very pleasantly suprised by the fish tacos at El Compadre in Echo Park. I was expecting the typical battered and fried tacos you usually get for fish tacos. These tacos were chunks of snapper simmered with (I'm guessing) tomato, onion, peppers - very big and very good. I've gone back since and am still craving them.

                                                                                                                                    1. How many WOWs do I get? (I've already posted a few.)

                                                                                                                                      My most recent "WOW" was a dinner at Tanzore Indian on La Cienega; everything was delicious!

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: liu

                                                                                                                                        fredos cheeseteak bam langers hand cut godmother bay cities thai satay spicy beef spicy shrimp with string beans san bagio pizza better than vitos velos petrillo white castle bam

                                                                                                                                        1. re: JimmyC

                                                                                                                                          After years of ordering the exact same thing at Loteria Grill, the Enchiladas Mole, I finally ventured over to their taco selection. The Cochinita Pibil and Carne DeShebrada were excellent, but the Papa Con Rajas (potatoes with roasted poblano peppers) really made me say WOW.

                                                                                                                                      2. In the past couple of weeks:
                                                                                                                                        the uni and tuna tartare amuse at Bastide
                                                                                                                                        the lobster sandwhich I had today at Surfas for $15! And I cannot say enough good about their soups. I've tried their cream of spinach, butternut squash, and today's potato leek with white truffle oil. All wonderful.

                                                                                                                                        1. The sesame tofu and uni at Urasawa
                                                                                                                                          The pasta and lasagna at Terroni

                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Adsvino

                                                                                                                                            Hey Adsvino

                                                                                                                                            "The pasta and lasagna at Terroni"

                                                                                                                                            Is Terroni on beverly blvd open already!?!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: jlrobe

                                                                                                                                              No, Adsvino got in on a friends and family preview, lucky bastard.

                                                                                                                                              See the report here:

                                                                                                                                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/454351

                                                                                                                                              Word is they're shooting to open on or around the 11th.

                                                                                                                                          2. I took my wife to Urasawa for her birthday in February. I mean I was just speechless. I was sooooo blown away by the execution and variety and taste and textures and on and on and on. It was my restaurant "Wow" moment of my life.

                                                                                                                                            1. Recent "Wow!" moments:
                                                                                                                                              "Corn Dog" at Bin 8945 - pork belly wrapped in caul fat, panko crusted, fried in duck fat and presented on a stick. Madness, I tell you. Absolute madness.

                                                                                                                                              House smoked salmon with caviar at Kiriko

                                                                                                                                              Bastide's uni amuse

                                                                                                                                              Study In Chocolate at Abode

                                                                                                                                              1. Chilis en Nogales at Babita. A seasonal dish with pomegranate. Now 'til (through?) February. My dining partner teared up in appreciation.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sandra W

                                                                                                                                                  The porterhouse steak at Babita was also quite WOW. Makes me miss Monty's in Pasadena.

                                                                                                                                                2. IT took 3 visits, but they finally WOW'd me - Bollini's Pizzeria in...i think it's Monterey Park...After seeing a post on CH a few months back, i ordered a fe pizza's to-go AFTER i ate Shabu-shabu with my SO...the pizza's were good and definitely had potential. The second time i visited on the way to playing some poker at the commerce club so i dined in - had the mushroom app, a pizza and pasta ( ate 1/2 the pizza and 1/2 the pasta ) much more sausage on the pizza and they cut back on the oregano flakes....spoke briefly to the owner / chef with my critique - very nice guy. finally, was there last thursday.....this time the pizza was PERFECT.....sausage, mushroom, fontina cheese, etc....the crust, just the way i like it...thin, nice crunch but not cracker crunch, some slight char blisters on the bottom....finally, the proper amount of sausage....i wish i had an ice cold mug of moretti or peroni to go with it !!! This is the kind of place that you hope will succeed - nice, approachable ( listens to your opinion/criticisms ) owner, homey little space ( the owner tells me he;'s expanding to the space next store ...a good idea to get some table that can seat 4 comfotably ) non-pretentious...not sure if they deliver. i told the owner bianco's in phoenix still has the edge, but he's getting close !!

                                                                                                                                                  1. Lunch at the Water Grill. Knocked my socks off. Started with a shell fish platter, an off the menu item, that was staggering in its freshness.

                                                                                                                                                    1. I havent had a wow moment in a really long time, but had one this sat night at Alegria on Sunset. this unassuming place in a strip mall is hands down the best mexican home cooking u will find in LA. I ordered their Chicken Mole because i havent yet to discover good Mole and was floored by the complexity and savoryness but yet it was alot lighter than i assume Mole would be. just the right amount of spice and spices. and they dont skimp on portions either. guelaguetza doesnt hold a candle.

                                                                                                                                                      1. The albacore at Nozawa. Every single time I eat it I'm filled with awe!

                                                                                                                                                        1. WOW!!! La Maschera in Old Town Pasadena. (82 N. Fair Oaks). It's not close to the Fairfax district where I am at, but the trip there was worth it for their Tiramisu made fresh!! It is unlike any desert that I have ever tasted EVER!! WOW!! It was simply amazing! They have super tasty handmade pastas (I ate their handmade gnocchi with lamb ragu. YUM! and tried the highly recommended Tagliatelle with duck and African almond), decadent cheeses, and they were voted best wine bar last year. And the service was pretty incredible, too. I can't wait to go again. They are well worth the drive!!

                                                                                                                                                          1. Holy PORK BELLY at BASHAN Mutha-F...kah!!!!

                                                                                                                                                            I've just returned from my "amazing wow moment!"

                                                                                                                                                            Went to BASHAN tonight..yes, I know, I sound like a broken record when it comes to this place...hey, I even creep myself out, feeling like a freaky-food-stalker when I show up time after time.
                                                                                                                                                            Anyway, a little foodie-birdie told me that they changed their menu for fall and that there was some great looking stuff on the menu...had to check it out.

                                                                                                                                                            Ugggg, yeiks, holy-hell, this BRAISED PORK BELLY was so good I felt as if I was sinning on some dietary level...it was served with mussels and some little red beans...but the sauce...I was so pathetic, like some crack whore trying to get the last rock..using my little bread pieces to soak up what was left on the bottom of the bowl...searching for anything I could have missed. The pork belly was so flavorful and rich, but not heavy at all..I could have had 2 whole pigs worth of this amazing dish...I want more NOW!!!
                                                                                                                                                            Had the Flat Iron Steak...very good yet I will really miss the DRY AGED BEEF that they were serving before...I guess some people in the norther Glendale region just "don't get it" when it comes to the flavor and dreamy texture of the stuff...anyway, the mushrooms were amazing but what really knocked my socks off were the brussel sprouts..all delicately shredded and brighty and yummy and refreshing and buttery and I could go on forever when it comes to brussel sprouts and these I could really get into for a while.
                                                                                                                                                            Had the new dessert addition: braised apples with marscapone and some little flakey tarty dough thing...sooo good.
                                                                                                                                                            Had a glass of Bordeaux (Chateau Beausejour) that went with all the great tastey goodies, even the apples.
                                                                                                                                                            The service, as always, was warm and welcoming. It was surprisingly bustling for a Tuesday evening in that sleepy neighborhood.
                                                                                                                                                            To top it off, there were 3 familiar faces in the place from the other times I had dinned there...this place is already creating "regulars" and they have barely been open a couple of months...at least I know that I'm not the only one "hooked" on the place.
                                                                                                                                                            Oh, and those little "amuse" treasures that come out...tonight was a charred squid with olives....everything so delicately chopped so fine; a few crystals of sparkling salt on the little spoon...what a way to get my mouth ready.
                                                                                                                                                            To end the tab on a sweet note, a little coconut maccarron...perfect.

                                                                                                                                                            Thanks y'all at BASHAN for feeding me so well!

                                                                                                                                                            Y'all ROCK!

                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tatertotsrock

                                                                                                                                                              Oh wow. This place is not even remotely close to me but your raves about it, and particularly this one, are making me want to get my ass over to Glendale. And that's not really something I've ever wanted to do before. That pork belly sounds absolutely amazing!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                                                                                Me too, and I don't "do" the Valley. The pork belly sounds divine!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hrhboo

                                                                                                                                                                  Bashan is definitely on my short list. If I recall from a previous post, they've got sweetbreads there, too.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                                                                                                                    Oh yes they do...mmm, and they are soooo good.

                                                                                                                                                              1. The dinner my girlfriend and I had at Melisse a few weeks ago was definitely in the "wow" category (we both had the vegetarian tasting menu), but probably the wow-est of all wows came during the cheese course. Now, in my past experience, cheese courses have usually taken one of three forms:

                                                                                                                                                                1. A small selection of cheeses is presented; the server demonstrates reasonable knowledge about each one.

                                                                                                                                                                2. A large selection of cheeses is presented; the server can explain each one but must refer frequently to notes.

                                                                                                                                                                3. A large selection of cheeses is offered but chosen from a menu with descriptions, so that the server does not have to explain them his or herself.

                                                                                                                                                                The cheese course at Melisse fell into the heretofore-unknown fourth category... an enormous selection was wheeled before us, and our waitress patiently described EVERY SINGLE CHEESE in great detail, including country/area of origin, name etymology, flavor notes, position on the mild-stinky continuum -- you name it -- without once referring to notes or even pausing to remember. Every aspect of our service was impeccable that night, but this was definitely the part that topped it all.

                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nick_r

                                                                                                                                                                  Hello nick_r,

                                                                                                                                                                  Now that sounds like a beautiful wow moment.
                                                                                                                                                                  Such respect for cheese is rarely given in this town.
                                                                                                                                                                  I must go to Melisse.
                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the info.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tatertotsrock

                                                                                                                                                                    They even give women special little stools for their purses. The place is a class act all the way.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Little sheep in Montery Park was delightfully yummy. Mongolian Hot Pot. Savory spiced broth to dip the veeerrrry thin slices of lamb, beef, pork, and the bok choy and the mushrooms, Ohhhh it was heavenly

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                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Debette

                                                                                                                                                                    A perfectly executed Osso Bucco At Saluzzi in Palos Verdes. I was shocked a PV resto could execute that well. PV is mostly a foodie wasteland

                                                                                                                                                                    A cheese plate with condiments and a croquet Monseiur (that had rare italian cheeses and foie gras) at Ludo Bites at the bread bar by chef Ludovic Lefebrve. The blue cheese with roasted walnuts was unbelievably good, but that sandwhich was phenomenal. Every fancy sandwich and cheese plate that I eat from now on will be benchmarked by this meal.

                                                                                                                                                                    A Pizza, Caprese, and Delicious Chianti at Mozza. Everything was simple, but bursting with flavor and texture. Everything complemented aech other very well. It was a rare occassion that a wine truly elevated my dining experience. I just havent gotten used to wine, even after 4 excursions to wine country.

                                                                                                                                                                    A braised beef tongue juxtaposed with crunchy field beens by Josef Centeno of Opus. The soft and flavorful beef next to the earthy and crunchy beans was perfect in its simplicity.

                                                                                                                                                                    All of these were recent and all of them will have a lasting impression on me. I have had a great summer!!!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Mine would have to be at La Marschera in Pasadena (not technically LA, I realize). My sister and I go there often just to sit at the wine bar and have some vino and good appetizers. But the other night we ordered an entree: the gnocchi with wild boar ragu. It was definitely a "WOW" moment: tender, fluffy pillows of gnocchi with a rich and perfectly made ragu. Absolutely divine, and the portion size was just right for pasta (not too big).

                                                                                                                                                                    It was there that I had another WOW moment just days later. I ordered their special - it was a handmade spaghetti with white anchovies. WOW WOW WOW. It was just like a similar dish I'd had in Italy just a few weeks before. It's difficult to find such authentic and inventive Italian dishes in LA, but this place knows how to do it.

                                                                                                                                                                    Clare K.
                                                                                                                                                                    http://rainydaysandsundays-c.blogspot...

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Spicy Tuna Cones (usually not on the menu but if you ask, they'll make it for you) at Spago's Beverly Hills. Not a sushi fan but . . . "WOW!"

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Kiriko's salmon - they smoke it themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                        Also an uni handroll at Asanebo. I mean...wow.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Tuna Tataki sashimi appetizer at Japonica (Redondo Beach)! Way, way, way better than Nobu's!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Escolar carpaccio at Hungry Cat. Raw fish marinated in citrus = mmmmmmm

                                                                                                                                                                            1. You would think the expensive restaurants like Craft, Spago, Mozza and the Michelin 1 stars would give me a WOW moment.

                                                                                                                                                                              But no. Be it ever so humble, it's a simple bowl of ramen at Santouka. If I'd known that I would have saved myself a couple of hundred dollars. I finally understood why some people are so fanatical about a bowl of ramen.