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May 15, 2008 08:44 PM

NY'er going back for yearly pilgrimage - help!

I need some fresh all around suggestions please, from low end to high. I am particularly interested in thai, Mexican, dim sum, Japanese, and french or fusion. What are your top fives?

Last year I went to Hatfield's (loved it!), Abode (nice ambience but meh...), Sabor a Mexico (great!), the mexican place at the Fairfax Farmer's market, and a great little japanese place in Torrance with an incredible tasting meal (can't remember name). Thanks!

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  1. Let me start the ball rolling with the following suggestions:

    Thai: Jitlada
    Mexican: Guelaguetza or Monte Alban
    Dim Sum: Elite (cartless) or Ocean Star (a la cart)
    Japanese: Musha (pub food) or Sushi Zo
    French: Ortolan
    Fusion: Orris

    Outside your categories but I would also recommend Fraiche and Osteria Mozza.

    Ocean Star Seafood Restaurant
    145 N Atlantic Blvd Ste 201, Monterey Park, CA 91754

    9411 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

    5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

    Pizzeria Mozza
    6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

    Sushi Zo
    9824 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

    Monte Alban
    11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

    8338 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048

    2006 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

    Elite Restaurant
    700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

    424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

    11127 Palms Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

    2 Replies
    1. re: New Trial

      Thanks for the recs. Do you know if the Musha Torrance location is about the same quality as the S.M. one? I went to the Torrance one about 15 years ago, and loved it then.

      1. re: kayonyc

        Some on this Board rate Torrance somewhat higher but the S.M. branch gets a lot of love as well--and is much closer to where I live--so that is the one I frequent. I have never been less than happy with my meals at S.M. location.

    2. You're a little light on taco trucks. I suggest the lunch time truck on Rose Ave between Lincoln and Main in Venice or the dinner time truck on Lincoln Blvd south of Rose in Venice. There are plenty of others and it depends where you're located. The taco trucks along Whittier Blvd can be excellent.

      For Oaxacan, then it's got to be Monte Alban.

      For fish tacos, try Tacos Baja Ensenada in East LA.

      For ceviche, try either Tacos Baja Ensenada or La Playita (Lincoln Blvd in Venice).

      For cemitas, check out the Cemitas Poblanas truck on Venice Blvd in Culver City.

      For a good taco stand, try Taqueria Sanchez or Tacomiendo in Culver City.

      1 Reply
      1. re: glutton

        Also, try "The Best Fish Taco in Ensenada" on Hillhurst (near Hollywood), which is more consistently delicious than Tacos Baja Ensenada... the shrimp tacos in particular are stellar.

        Mr Taster

      2. As far as dim sum is concerned, while Ocean Star has good dim sum on carts, you can pretty much get the equivalent in Flushing. What you'd be looking for is what you can't get back in New York, which is what is sometimes referred to as new wave dim sum, and which is always ordered off of a menu and not carts. (The reverse is not true, though--menu service dim sum does not necessarily mean you get the modern stuff.) You have correctly identified Elite as one of the main purveyors of this category of dim sum. Others include Sea Harbour in Rosemead, Mission 261 in San Gabriel, Happy Harbor in Rowland Heights, and perhaps to a lesser extent Triumphal Palace and The Kitchen in Alhambra.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Chandavkl

          I keep hearing about Elite... I'm an old time Ocean Star fan, and have been to Mission 261 once for dim sum. What specifically defines "new wave dim sum"? Aside from Mission 261 being more elegant in presentation, I didn't notice a truly substantial difference (certainly not enough to justify the much higher price)

          Mr Taster

          Elite Restaurant
          700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

          1. re: Mr Taster

            Well all dim sum places, old and new, serve certain core favorites, e.g., Ha Gow. What separates the new wave is the existence of nontraditional dim sum items, generally more delicate than traditional dim sum, limited only by the imagination of the chef. Check out, for example, the menu of Lai Wah Heen in Toronto which you can find on the Internet.

            1. re: Chandavkl

              So what would you recommend as standout new wave dishes at Elite?

              Mr Taster

              1. re: Mr Taster

                Off the top of my head, the shark fin dumpling in broth is fantastic. The oatmeal rolls are terrible, and the durian puffs are OK. There's probably other threads about Elite running around this board.

            2. re: Mr Taster

              Hey Mr Taster,

              Funny you should ask. I was going to post a review of Elite soon (I finally grabbed one of my Dim Sum Hounds to revisit Elite).

              I would say right now Sea Harbour has more interesting and varied New Dim Sum dishes compared to Elite. I'll try and find the English names for some of the more interesting items but a couple quick examples of deliciousness at Sea Harbour would be:

              (Not official English Names on their menu :) -
              * Chicken & Bitter Melon Chahng Fen: The long, tube-like white-colored rolls stuffed with Chicken and Bitter Melon, instead of the usual Shrimp or Beef or Chasiu. (they also have the traditional ones as well.)

              * Bitter Melon Black Sesame Pastry Balls - This is not as gross as it sounds (again I'll have to find the real name for it), but the chef takes the natural rich green from pulverized Bitter Melon to color these Fried "Pastry Balls," so it's a beautiful green color, but it has *none* of the bitterness of the Bitter Melon. In addition, the center is a wonderful Black Sesame filling that is amazing! It's so good!