NYC Hounds Visiting, Please Advise!
Will be there for two weeks with my husband. I've been there many times for work, familiar with it, but never had time for some serious Chow. But this time it's for pleasure-only and we're looking to do some serious Chow!
What we're looking for in a nutshell:
Excellent sushi and authentic Korean. For sushi, we're thinking Sushi Zo or Sushi Sushi in Beverly Hills for omakase. Opinions on those two are welcomed! As far as Korean goes, more authentic and hole-in-the-wall the better. My husband spent some time in Korea and is a very picky eater as far as Korean food goes. We WILL travel for these two.
Other than that, as my husband hates driving, we would like to stick to options in or near Hollywood or West Hollywood. Anything goes as far as cuisine's concerned other than the two mentioned below. European, Asian, African, love it all. We're not really looking for four-star restaurants for this as our main "splurge" will be sushi omakase. So we would like to keep it under or around $50/pp here.
Anything organic or environment-friendly is a plus, but certainly is not a requirement.
No Chinese (except for dim sum, if you know of an excellent dim sum place, please recommend!) or Mexican (my husband is not a fan, sob.)
Thank you so much!
I second the recommendations for Jitlada. When I lived in NYC, Thai seemed to be one of the more underrepresented cuisines. As others have mentioned, be sure to order from the Southern Thai specialties.
While there are many excellent Korean restaurants in LA, most don't differ significantly from what you can find in the Garment District or in Queens or Fort Lee. NYC even has a few good specialists I haven't been able to find in LA, like Hangawi (vegetarian), Mandoo Bar (mandoo), Wo Ri Jip (bunshik), And the Momofuku movement hasn't made it out here at all yet.
That said, there are several specialist places I would definitely recommend to visiting New Yorkers: Jeon Ju (dolsot bibim bap), Han Bat (sullung tang), Chunju Han il Kwan (jigae), and Ham Hung (naeng myun). I especially like Jeon Ju's kimchi and kalbi dolsot bibim bap (not to be confused with regular bibim bap, BTW). Any of these should satisfy your "authentic and hole-in-the-wall" requirement.
Hope you enjoy your visit!
2716 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006
Ham Hung Restaurant
809 S Ardmore Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005
Han Bat Shul Lung Tang
4163 W 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020
Han IL Kwan
3450 W 6th St # 106, Los Angeles, CA
id disagree, the quality of LA korean food is generally substantially better than what is available in NY (even in Flushing and Fort Lee / Pali Park; Manhattan ktown is pretty weak generally), Mandoo bar is terrible (their mandoo are not good) and wo ri jip is just very cheap, but nothing there is particularly good. I'd avoid sul long tang b/c it is one thing that NY does have that is very good (gam me oak is excellent)
agree with Peripatetic on the rest
Lau, I was thinking about places like Yea Jeon (Fort Lee), Dae Dong (Sunnyside), Hangawi, and Woo Chon circa 1996 (when I left NYC). I haven't been to many places in NYC since, so I don't know what it's like now. I love Park's and Ham Ji Park, but I don't see them in a different league than my memory of those other places. I'm prepared to accept that may just be due to a faulty memory. :)
I agree I was probably overstating the case when I described Mandoo Bar as "good".
haha yeah thats quite a while ago.
dae dong fell off a cliff, i havent been to hangawi in ages so cant comment, woo chon has pretty decent bbq but everything else is terrible and never been to yea jeon
i think ure talking about ham ji bach, which is still very good. one of the better bbq places in the whole nyc area (solid sam gyup sal)
Sorry, wasn't clear about that, I meant I love Park's BBQ and Ham Ji Pak in LA.
BTW Woo Chon also had decent, if not great, bibim naeng myun. And I'm still looking for better kotchori (sp?) (unfermented kimchi) than theirs.
The only Korean place I've been to recently in NYC (if you don't count the Momofukus) was Cho Dang Gol, which had outstanding bindaeduk. I'd love to find a place with bindaeduk that good in LA . . . any ideas?
ohhh i thought u were talking about ham ji bach in NY...but yes both park's and ham ji pak in LA are excellent
hmm ill have to try their bibim naeng myun b/c most naeng myun in NY is pretty bad...i love some of the naeng myun places in LA like U Chun in the apartment building on 7th st and ardmore. And the other yu chun's in LA
i dont really count momofuku as korean, im not a fan of their korean dishes, but some of their other stuff like their pork buns is quite good. I think the best bindaeduk in NY is at gam me oak fyi (try it next time ure in town, suh long tang specialist who has excellent sul long tang, great bin dae tak and solid bi bim bap).
i dont know a place with great bin dae tak, but its probably b/c ive never looked for it (i only like great fresh versions of it and most place don't do that) although ill almost guarantee that their is a place that has great bin dae tak (I've been able to find just about any type of korean food made very well in LA), but someone else will have to help you out sorry!
I agree about naeng myun in NYC. The only good ones I ever found were at Woo Chon and the original Dae Dong. I was disappointed with U Chun's (in LA) naeng myun, though I've only been to the 6th St. location. The best I've found anywhere is at Ham Hung (LA), but they seem to be really inconsistent. The naeng myun at Chosun (LA) is surprisingly good.
I know Momofuku is hit-and-miss (and I can't say I love the decibels) but their kimchi jigae, while not authentic, was in a category all to itself, and was one of my favorite dishes of 2008. Like you, I love the pork buns.
I'll definitely try Gam Me Oak on my next visit . . . thanks for the recommendation. You clearly know LA's K-town well -- other than the places you mentioned, do you have any other LA favorites?
i think my favorite right now is ondal 2 and ive been highly recommending to all my friends, which i also recommended earlier...its family run, i think they make everything including the pan chan there (they have excellent pan chan), they also have the best raw crab pan chan ive ever had (its the one marinated in that sweet chili sauce). The koketang is awesome and cheap ($55 all in for 3 people). The service is nice as well albeit english challenged (luckily my gf is fluent)
western soon dae is good if you like soon dae (i like it quite a bit).
I had a pretty decent meal at Nakzi Village (nakji bokeum) although it can be sort of hit or miss, sometimes the octopus is overcooked (and gets rubbery), but i love nakji bokeum
unfortunately, i havent been in LA as much as i would like recently (been in orange county when ive been coming home), so ondal 2 was my latest awesome discovery that isn't already well known (park's, beverly, etc)
If you are looking for a mandu specialty restaurant in LA there are some around. The one we frequent the most is: Hwang Hae do which has more than one location. They also sell bags of frozen mandu that you can pick up to take home. The do the "King" (wang) mandu, which are larger than most.
Hwang Hae do
429 N Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Check out Moonshadow in Malibu sceney but surprisingly good food.
As for Dim Sum, I'd suggest Sea Harbor over Elite.
Really intrigued by two Korean places written up recently in La Weekly (quick serach on google La Weekly & restaurant name).
Masan (live octopus) and Dae Bok (blowfish stews)
Dae Bok Restaurant
2010 James M Wood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006
2851 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006
ive eaten at dae bok
its pretty good, but its not amazing. we thought their mae eun tang (which they do use blowfish) was alright, but you would literally not know that it is blowfish unless someone told you it was, it just tastes like a white fish that doesn't have a ton of flavor to it. The one thing i did like there was they give you a ban chan (small dishes they give u at the beginning of the meal) which they use blowfish skin that is quite good (its with a vegetable and some of vinegar type sauce)
never been to masan, but would really love to try
I've been to Moonshadows a couple years ago for drinks. Maybe we'll go there. The view is pretty nice.
Thanks again, Genet added to the list and we might give Masan a go. He's a HUGE fan of nakzi bokkeum if anyone knows a place who does a good one, must be VERY spicy... (he hasn't found one he likes in NYC, one in Fort Lee but it closed.)
If anyone has opinions on these as well, would love them.
Cayenne Cafe (mentioned above)
I wish I could convince him, but he's pretty dead-set against Mexican food. He's not a fan of Italian either. He's also allergic to hordes of stuff, including crap so Ondal 2 is unfortunately out. Man!
Thanks for the recommendations, everyone. Did some digging on the board here and came up with the following list, would love to hear if you have any opinions on the ones mentioned here or have a better alternative, etc.
Sushi Zo or Sushi Sushi for omakase
Sushi Gen for lunch
So Kong Dong or Beverly Soon Tofu for soon doo boo
Corner Place or Yu Chun Chic for cold noodles
Sa Rit Gol or Chunju Han-il Kwan for casual Korean
Jitlada or Palms for Thai
Rahel, Messob, or Merkato for Ethiopian (been to Nyla, want to try somewhere else)
Elite for dim sum brunch
As for West Hollywood/Hollywood stuff (and Mid City West, I guess)
M Cafe De Chaya, BLD, Breadbar, Table 8, Jar, Yabu, Yatai, Itacho, Ajisai, Mishima, Traktir, Milk
Oh and if anyone knows a good dining spot along PCH somewhere in Malibu... please recommend!
Honestly, unless you're bent on seeing Thai Elvis, skip Palms Thai. Go to Jitlada instead.
While I really enjoy Rahel, my vote for best Ethiopian is Meals by Genet, which is two or three doors down from Rahel. The lamb alitcha is outstanding; the fish is doubly outstanding, and the vegetables (which is to me what Ethiopian food is about, vegetables and bread) are unbelievably good. Skip the non-Ethiopian half of the menu.
Agree... skip Breadbar, Table 8 is gone, skip Mishima (it's OK but why come all the way here to eat there?), skip Traktir (the Russian food is better in New York). M Cafe de Chaya is interesting, good food, a very LA experience ("So we went to this restaurant that caters to the macrobiotic diet..." "God, how fruit-and-nutty is that...")
Malibu is shockingly low in great restaurants. Neptune's Net is a nice casual seafood place (I mean *really* casual); eat in Santa Monica before you head out that way. Right off PCH in the furthest reaches of Santa Monica are the Brass Cap and Marix (though you said your husband hates Mexican).
I was pleasantly surprised by Cholada Thai on PCH in Malibu - so unexpected and far cheaper than most of the beachside places. Skip Palms unless you want LA Kitsch - Jitlada is down the street with superior food.
I'd rather eat at Jones on 3rd or the Farmers Market than Breadbar - where the food is mediocre. Little Next Door Cafe is good - but pricey.
I'd 2nd any recommendations healthy fare at M Cafe and excessive plates of meat at Parks Korean BBQ. Palate in Glendale deserves all the hype for a wine and cheese centric menu - 50% of the menu includes pork.
You say that your husband is not a fan of Mexican food - I agree with Servorg that that's a pretty wide swath - does he not like Tex-Mex? Cal-Mex? How about some of the seafood offerings? There are so many good options beyond the basic combo plate + rice and beans. (My S/O swore he hated Mexican food, until he figured out that he doesn't care for Tex-Mex stuff - he loves the seafood offerings and is now starting to explore moles.)
You will have to drive for excellent dim sum, but Elite or Sea Harbour or Mission 261 are great places for menu-order dim sum; for push-cart dim sum, there is 888 and NBC and Ocean Star. All are in the San Gabriel Valley.
For great Korean, it depends on what kind of Korean you want. Ondal 2 is a good suggestion; the best barbecue is at Park's BBQ (get Tokyo X pork and American Kobe beef kalbi, which comes as a "roll". For excellent soon dubu jjigae (spicy tofu stew) go to Sokongdong or Beverly Tofu House, which are on Olympic at New Hampshire, facing each other. Sokongdong has raw crab panchan but Beverly has better seafood soon dubu jjigae. If you want a North Korean-type set meal go to YongSuSan. For dongchimi go to the Corner Place, but be aware you will not be allowed to take any food out of the restaurant.
I would caution against Soot Bull Jeep -- while it is excellent, you will come out smelling like a forest fire. There's that danger in any barbecue place but it's especially bad in SBJ.
Agree that great Thai is well within your reach. I guess I wouldn't come to LA looking for macarons (which are just about everywhere in New York), but would instead go and have a very LA experience at Urth Caffe and have a sweet there.
re: Das Ubergeek
The one place I will disagree is that Sichuan food is better in New York (assuming you meant East Asian). If you meant Asian as in anywhere in Asia, then South Asian (Indian, Pakistanti, et al.) is better in New York.
Thai, however, is way better here -- there are many many places the equal and a few the better of Sripraphai.
i live in NYC, so you're looking for the right stuff.
- Ondal 2: I really love this place, highly suggest going and it is not available in NY. They serve kokaetang, which is a korean crab stew and its amazing here
- Park's BBQ or Soot Bull Jeep: I prefer Park's, but either is good
Japanese and Dim Sum: agree with exilekiss
Pizzeria Mozza: I highly suggest walking into Pizzeria Mozza and sitting at the bar, I think Pizzeria Mozza is better than almost any of the Italian restaurants in NY (sounds weird, although Batali is a part owner, which obviously bodes well for PM). It's also in your stated geography
For in the area, try Pane E Vino on Beverly Blvd. and if it's a nice night sit outside on the patio. Le Petit Bistro on La Cienega is still good and well within your price range. For simple lebanese food try Cayenne on Beverly Blvd. good for bld. I love their grilled chicken with pomegrante sauce, but all their food is good. If your husband likes a lot of food try Fogo De Chao, it's qualtiy meat, but if you go for lunch it's half price. Some people like porterhouse Bistro on Wilshire, and that is within your range.
I like Soot Bull jeep for Korean. A good steak is Tayolors near Soot Bull jeep. Go to Farmers Market for lunch and walk around.
Sushi Zo is definitely a good starting point / safe bet. Keizo-san will take care of you. If you're willing to go to Beverly Hills for Sushi Sushi, and you want to "splurge" on an Omakase course, you could consider L.A.'s best: Urasawa. (Do a Search on the LA Boards to read up on multiple reviews of this place.) It's truly an amazing culinary experience. (Note that Urasawa also presents a few cooked dishes (but they are amazing), along w/ the beautiful and extensive Sushi portion of the dinner. :)
For Dim Sum, Sea Harbour or Elite are my favorites.
For other Hollywood area choices per your request... there's some great Thai restaurants in the area: Jitlada and its great Southern Thai Cuisine, as well as Palms Thai (which isn't the best Thai food, but some good dishes here and there, but it's home to Thai Elvis which is just... classic :).
Hope you have an enjoyable trip! :)
5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754
Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
3939 N. Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead, CA 91770, USA
Palms Thai Restaurant
5900 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
I believe Urasawa would be out of our budget limit. Is Sushi Sushi that expensive? I was under the impression that it's about the same with Sushi Zo. We're regulars at Sushi Yasuda in NYC and usually omakase runs a little over or around $300 for two of us, with a cooked app and some sake thrown in.
I have been to Soot Bull Jeep and Palms Thai, I agree that both are very good. We liked A.O.C very much in the last visit, so if anyone has recs similar to those, I would love them. Again we're looking for mostly places in Hollywood/W. Hollywood other than fantastic sushi and Korean...
Somebody recommended Comme Ca in WeHo, any opinions?
You say no "Mexican" because your husband is not a fan. That is a pretty wide swath of cuisine to not be a fan of. In any case, if you can ditch him for a meal then you should go to:
Look at this prior review / thread to get a better picture of Moles La Tia:
After you will be able to exclaim "Hole Mole!" ;-D
If you're in the mood for something sweet, I would suggest the French macarons at Paulette in Beverly Hills. They do close early, though, but are so worth the effort.
I've heard that Urasawa (which is really popular on this board) is really good as is Nishi-ya in Glendale.
9466 Charleville Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
1712 Victory Blvd, Glendale, CA 91201