Good Chinese on the Westside?
A basic request (and perhaps one that was answered on this board previously -- my quick scan of the posts didn't catch any others recently). Without having to shlep to Chinatown or all the way to the SGV, I'd like to have a reliable source that doesn't remind me of the grease emporiums littering the Upper East Side of Manhattan (from whence I came last year). In particular, I'm craving a good place for roast things (i.e. roast duck, roast pork, etc.).
Full House BBQ just opened on the SW corner of Olympic and Sepulveda. They're trying to be all things--fast food for the fahn gwai, with a small amount of BBQ, boba and a sit down section for the Chinese crowd. Also, don't forget J R Seafood on Santa Monica Bl. and Armacost, the first true Chinese seafood restaurant in the Westside.
Aggh...I went to Full House a couple of months ago and although I got a free coupon for a chicken, I can't really recommend that place.
The Food: I ordered a whole roast duck, since I'm a fan of the fowl, but unfortunately, the skin was soft and the meat seem to lack the succulent taste I'm use to from Sam Woo's. The apricot sauce only improved it slightly. We also ordered an eggplant dish which was pretty decent as well as a chow mein that seemed ordinary.
Mixed messages: It seems like the restaurant is at a loss of an identity. Is it trying to be a homesy barbeque restaurant with the roast duck, pork and salty chicken or a semi-fancy restaurant with the nice table cloths and lighting. But yet its located in a strip mall next to a soul food kitchen and other eateries. And the parking is bad too incidentally.
I would probably give it a second chance although only if I'm in desperate need of a Chinese food fix right away (which would be sad since I literally live in Chinatown)
So, yeah, SGV and MP are obviously homes of the beauties, but when you're tired and westside, I've found the following to be entirely un-Americanized and quite satisfying, if not glorious:
Oriental Seafood Village, on Lincoln just south of Washington, in Mar Vista/Culver City? Try the Seafood Casserole.
Hop Li, on Pico just west of Westwood.
The qualifications of "not as good as SGV" are signs that my taste buds are becoming more elitist - a year ago, in Boston, I would have wept over Chinese as good as either of these. Both have excellent texture control, softer tofus and meltier fishes and more explosive shrimp than any of the nearby Chineses I know.
If you want good things like roast pork or duck, make
sure you go to a place that has a clientele that is
largely Asian, especially Chinese.....this will insure
a good turnover in the "roast" department and the BBQ
ovens will be used continuously during the day.
I don't think there's a place like this on the
Westside......Stir Fry, maybe, but roast or BBQ? no!
Look for a restaurant at or near a Chinese population center and look for efficiency, not charisma.
re: Ralph Ahn
Of course, if distance/convenience were not a concern, I would always opt for Monterey Park/Alhambra/San Gabriel or Chinatown. However, since I live on the Westside, it isn't exactly a hop and a skip to trek to these places for a simple bite to eat. Hence, the inevitable compromise -- a Chinese place nearby I can call my own....
I am gonna commit a grave sin on this board for recommending a very American style Chinese place on the Westside.
Soybean, on Wilshire, right off Bundy, makes the most delicious Kung Pao, Orange this and Broccoli with that anywhere. And while I believe it is the consensus on this board that only autentico Chinese is worth getting (and driving for), I think most of us have a soft spot for some asian comfort food once in a while.
Although, you will not find roast pork there, sorry.