Need info on Yee Mee Lu
- Frank A. May 20, 2001 03:05 PM
I used to go to a Cheinese restaurant/bar called Yee Mee Lu in Chinatown LA. The place looked like you could run into Humphrey Bogart or R. Chandler sipping a beer. There was a small buddhist altar in the center of the bar.
Does anyone remember it? Does anyone know if it is still there or demolished? I appreciate any information.
Yee Mee Lu has been gone quite awhile.....was on the
South East corner of Spring and Ord.....I'd say it's been gone for at least 25 years....so it's a pleasure
to communicate with an old timer as yourself.....
David Yee was a good operator....good bar and good Cantonese food......and right down Spring Street was another good Cantonese operation..."Hung Far Chin"..
also up on Ord Street, was the "Limehouse"..these three places all had good first cooks who knew how to use the subtle Cantonese seasoning techniques...
But David Yee was a very nice fellow....I'll bet he
had a high stack of IOU's when he closed, cause he was
known as an easy touch.
As others on the Board posted old Yee Mi Lows is history, however, I saw Richard (the bartender) at Lucky Bar on the corner of Sunset and Hilhurst in Silverlake. He's a quasi-celeb tending bar over there and they even have a fru-fru frothy blue drink named after Yee Mi Lows there.....cheers!
I'd say it's more like 10 years since Yee Mee Loo closed down. They tore it down and built a minimall on the site last year, and a new restaurant with the same name opened there earlier this month. However, the name is the only thing that's the same. The new Yee Mee Loo is a Chinese buffet restaurant.
I am amazed there are so many people so knowledgeable about David Yee's Yee Mee Loo or Lu, or Low. I think his English menu said "Loo." We used to eat and drink there often. About ten of us would show up unannounced and David or his so-called uncle would seat us all at an oilcloth covered round table. We would ask David to just have the cooks make anything. And David would stand at the kitchen entrance, stubby cigar in mouth, and bark out endless orders to the cooks. Out came the most delicious array of Cantonese food ever prepared anywhere, served by the grouchiest of waiters: Chinese tacos, Har Siu Gow, paper wrapped chicken, wor wonton soup, siu mai, lobster cantonese, fried wontons, sauteed long beans, steamed shrimp in the shell, all gratefully devoured by us round-eyes. Everything they served was packed with complex vibrant flavors. We were in gastronomic heaven. The drinks from the colorful dark bar were another story altogether. The little wooden cashier's cage should have been preserved for the Smithsonian.
Where, oh where, dear Chowhounds, can we find another Yee Mee Loo today?
Well, this place doesn't have the greatest food, but it ranks 100 for atmosphere and kitsch. IT's called GRAND STAR and its in the "pavillion area" of Chinatown. You can go there on Thursday - Sat and its packed with old chinese locals (mostly 2nd, 3rd generation) and mingled with some young industry types. THere was a piano/drum/random wind trio that played "live" karaoke - meaning, you better know the lyrics. Cheap drinks. THe bar owner is FRANK, a honest to god Chinese Frank Sinatra with the pipes of velour to match. Bobby, the just beyond her years bartenderess/dragon lady is quite a character too. If you become friends with this eclectic bunch, you become FAMILY - and out comes the treats from the kitchen or some homemade fried wonton that Bobby made. This is a wonderful, colorful place to hang.