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Least Deserving Restaurant in Jonathan Gold's 99 Essentials 2010

echoparkdirt Nov 11, 2010 02:12 PM

It's out now -- not sure if it's acceptable to offer a link?

Note that Jonathan Gold still believes Chung King is the best Szechuan in the area and defends it from unnamed bloggers who have lost faith in the restaurant, as I am beginning to....

Akasha

Alcazar

Angeli Caffe

Angelini Osteria

Ammo

Animal

Babita

Beacon: An Asian Café

Big Mista

Bistro LQ

Bludso's

Border Grill

Bulgarini Gelato

Campanile

Casa Bianca

Chang's Garden

Chaya Downtown

Chego

Chichén Itzá

Chung King

Comme Ça

Cut

Daikokuya

Drago Centro

El Huarache Azteca

El Parian

Elite

Euro Pane Bakery

Eva

Father's Office

Fig

Flame

Forage

Giang Nan

Gjelina

Golden Deli

Golden State

Golden Triangle

Good Girl Dinette

The Grill on the Alley

Guelaguetza

Hatfield's

Huckleberry

The Hungry Cat

Jar

Jinya

JiRaffe

Jitlada

JTYH

Kiriko

Kobawoo

Kogi

Krua Thai

La Casita Mexicana

La Mill

Langer's

Larkin's

Lazy Ox Canteen

Little Dom's

Loteria Grill

Lou

Lucques

LudoBites

Mantee

Marouch

Mayura

Meals by Genet

Mélisse

Mo-Chica

Mozza

Musso & Frank Grill

Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa

Newport Seafood

Nickel Diner

Oinkster

101 Noodle Express

Orris

Palate Food + Wine

Park's Barbecue

Pho Minh

Providence

Rajdhani

Rivera

Rustic Canyon

Salt's Cure

Sapp Coffee Shop

Spago

Square One

Street
I
Tacos Baja Ensenada

The Tasting Kitchen

Terroni

Test Kitchen

The Gorbals

Tirupathi Bhimas

Vincenti

Waterloo & City
I

Wurstküche

Zelo

-----
Chung King Restaurant
1000 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

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  1. n
    ns1 RE: echoparkdirt Nov 11, 2010 02:24 PM

    Anyone got a list so I dont' have to sort through 30 pages?

    3 Replies
    1. re: ns1
      ipsedixit RE: ns1 Nov 11, 2010 02:43 PM

      Here it is one single webpage

      http://www.laweekly.com/content/print...

      I think this list is about as passé as a Members Only Jacket paired with some Guess? jeans.

      1. re: ipsedixit
        r
        raizans RE: ipsedixit Nov 11, 2010 03:12 PM

        he's only one guy and one stomach. i'm sure a group of chowhounds could cover more ground and draft a much better list, but that's still a lot of work.

        1. re: ipsedixit
          n
          ns1 RE: ipsedixit Nov 11, 2010 03:12 PM

          thanks. The only one of that list I hate is Kogi.

          -----
          Kogi
          Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles, CA

      2. s
        sushigirlie RE: echoparkdirt Nov 11, 2010 02:31 PM

        I've never had a bad dish at Chung King on Garfield, but I think other restaurants are equally good, at least at the dishes I enjoy.

        Personally, I think Tacos Baja Ensenada is rubbish. I'm not a big fan of Border Grill, Rajdhani, or Babita. I think Giang Nan is well below some of the other Shanghai restaurants in the SGV (e.g., Shanghai Restaurant, Mei Long Village, and Yu Garden). (The last time I went to Giang Nan the "vegetarian duck" was still half frozen.)

        Oh, and Musso & Frank? Probably the worst meal at a sit-down restaurant that I've ever had in LA. Just horrendous.

        -----
        Border Grill
        1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

        Chung King Restaurant
        206 S Garfield Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91754

        Rajdhani
        18525 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA 90701

        Mei Long Village
        301 W Valley Blvd Ste 112, San Gabriel, CA 91776

        Giang Nan
        306 N Garfield Ave, Monterey Park, CA

        Tacos Baja Ensenada
        385 W Whittier Blvd, Montebello, CA 90640

        10 Replies
        1. re: sushigirlie
          n
          ns1 RE: sushigirlie Nov 11, 2010 03:13 PM

          TBE is okay, but it most certainly doesn't hold a candle to RFT.

          1. re: ns1
            adamclyde RE: ns1 Nov 11, 2010 09:18 PM

            For an LA newbie, What is RFT? I used to love TBE, but it just isn't what it used to be. I enjoy taco nazo in La Habra.

            1. re: adamclyde
              Peripatetic RE: adamclyde Nov 12, 2010 04:26 AM

              Ricky's Fish Tacos

              http://twitter.com/rickysfishtacos

              The other FT acronym you'll see is BFTE - Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada.

              RFT is in a class of his own, though.

              1. re: Peripatetic
                n
                ns1 RE: Peripatetic Nov 12, 2010 08:17 AM

                this. Been to TN, TBE, and BFTE and none are in the same class as RFT. TBE probably the best of the bunch in terms of crunch, but waaaaaaay too much batter.

                that said, maybe it's a GOOD thing that an unlicensed unregulated guerilla food stand isn't prominently mentioned in JGold's 99....

                1. re: ns1
                  adamclyde RE: ns1 Nov 12, 2010 12:29 PM

                  that's what's been disappointing me in TBE for the past few years... too bready beneath the crunch...

                  Looking forward to trying RFT

                  1. re: adamclyde
                    n
                    ns1 RE: adamclyde Nov 12, 2010 12:58 PM

                    Just stopped by RFT again today, soooo satisfying.

                  2. re: ns1
                    Das Ubergeek RE: ns1 Nov 23, 2010 08:07 AM

                    I'm curious, what do you think of Mariscos El Tetos out on Lankershim in Sun Valley? They're right up there with the best fish tacos I've had in LA.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek
                      n
                      ns1 RE: Das Ubergeek Nov 23, 2010 12:22 PM

                      Pretty good but not up to RFT IMHO. Ricky's really taken his tacos to the next level after he got the new grill setup.

                      I think their bacon wrapped chile rellano is sublime though.

                      That said, I tried to visit the truck an additional 4 times after my first visit and it was never to be found again.

                      Have you been lately? I posted a WTF in the other mariscos el tetos thread.

                      1. re: ns1
                        Das Ubergeek RE: ns1 Nov 23, 2010 03:00 PM

                        I was there last Thursday. It was there. Hector has help now so the truck is there usually from noon to 6, sometimes until 8.

            2. re: sushigirlie
              Mr Taster RE: sushigirlie Nov 11, 2010 04:01 PM

              Yes but as is often pointed out here, Giang Nan is restaurant specializing in food from Jiangsu province, of which Shanghainese is an offshoot. So, apples and pears...

              Mr Taster

              -----
              Giang Nan
              306 N Garfield Ave, Monterey Park, CA

            3. c
              carter RE: echoparkdirt Nov 11, 2010 03:21 PM

              Well, can't think why Border Grill should be on this list as being "essential", especially with as many other Mexican-focused places already on the list, and an even larger list omitted.
              I also feel Susan needs to re-work Street. The concept is good, the execution is not.

              -----
              Border Grill
              1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

              2 Replies
              1. re: carter
                d
                darrelll RE: carter Nov 12, 2010 08:27 AM

                I had Border Grill's dineLA dish of the braised short ribs that was magical as was the green corn tamale. I asked the server and she said they may be adding it to the menu which they really should.

                -----
                Border Grill
                1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                1. re: darrelll
                  c
                  carter RE: darrelll Nov 13, 2010 04:08 PM

                  Well, I would definitely go for that item, yet hardly think of it in Border Grill terms. Is it being done in both locations, or just one or the other at the moment?

                  -----
                  Border Grill
                  1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

              2. LA Buckeye Fan RE: echoparkdirt Nov 11, 2010 03:44 PM

                I got tired of counting...echoparkdirt. Are there any you think are worthy?

                1 Reply
                1. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                  echoparkdirt RE: LA Buckeye Fan Nov 11, 2010 11:07 PM

                  I am a bit of a cheapie, so i haven't tried a lot of the more expensive stuff. but casa bianca, huarache azteca, big mista, Jitlada, border grill is yum...

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

                2. s
                  sushigirlie RE: echoparkdirt Nov 11, 2010 03:48 PM

                  I'm happy that he's an evangelist for underappreciated favorites of mine like Zelo and Marouch.

                  -----
                  Marouch Restaurant
                  4905 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90029, USA

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sushigirlie
                    echoparkdirt RE: sushigirlie Nov 11, 2010 11:07 PM

                    Marouch is fantastic.

                    -----
                    Marouch Restaurant
                    4905 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90029, USA

                  2. c
                    Clyde RE: echoparkdirt Nov 11, 2010 04:04 PM

                    seems like this list contains recycled descriptions i've read a zillion times and maybe a few new restaurants have been added as an update to previous lists. Places like Little Doms, Lou, Eva, Good Girl Dinette were good but not amazing experiences I had dining out that I would ever put on a list of must tries. I see some places that I've been meaning to try, like Larkin's, Meals by Genet, and Maroush on there so perhaps this will be the push I need to finally go.

                    -----
                    Little Dom's
                    2128 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                    Good Girl Dinette
                    110 North Avenue 56, Los Angeles, CA 90042

                    1. t
                      terwilliger RE: echoparkdirt Nov 11, 2010 04:25 PM

                      I don't think it's a definitive list of the 99 "best" restaurants in LA, and I don't think it's supposed to be. These are meant to be restaurants that are essential to LA; that is, restaurants that embody LA's essence. By that standard, I think J. Gold's list is a success. If someone who had never been to this city was coming here for a week, took a random sample of 15 of these restaurants, and ate at each of them, I think that person would (1) have 15 meals that range from good to incredible and (2) get a real sense of what the LA restaurant scene is all about.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: terwilliger
                        c
                        Chicayamato RE: terwilliger Nov 11, 2010 04:48 PM

                        I don't think "Border grill, Chaya Downtown, Comme ca, Cut, Eva, Jar, Street & Waterloo & city" belong on this list. Border grill is Mexican food for people who's afraid to go into real Mexican place, Chaya is concept from 20 years ago, Comme ca sucks now, Cut only gets on this lists because he likes her (food is mediocre) Eva was never good, Street is terrible and Waterloo & city is OK but gets good reviews just because it's in Mar Vista (if it was say on 3rd street it would get no love). I like his ethnic choices even though I might have to disagree with Chung king & Gian nan.

                        -----
                        Chaya
                        525 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                        Chaya Downtown
                        525 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                        1. re: Chicayamato
                          t
                          terwilliger RE: Chicayamato Nov 11, 2010 05:05 PM

                          Restaurants automatically get good reviews because they are in Mar Vista? Say more.

                          1. re: terwilliger
                            echoparkdirt RE: terwilliger Nov 11, 2010 11:11 PM

                            la weekly office is around there

                            1. re: echoparkdirt
                              b
                              bulavinaka RE: echoparkdirt Nov 12, 2010 03:55 AM

                              I don't think the office's location has anything to do with that rec. It's the high focus on offal and charcuterie (and Waterloo's "reckless abandon" on portion sizes of these and other dishes) that got J. Gold's attention. Full disclosure - we know the chef and his family - but we have yet to get into the doors because it's such a mob scene every time we've pulled up - because I'm a Hound, I wish for no special treatment though. And a lot of Euro-born folks I know really really like this place for the same reasons that J. Gold does...

                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                m
                                munchabout RE: bulavinaka Nov 12, 2010 07:57 AM

                                Offal and other nasty bits

                                That's the main reason I go to Waterloo & City. I can't think of any other place in LA where I can get blood cake as tasty as the one I got there this past Halloween.

                                Totally love this place, just wish it wasn't so crowded all the time.

                              2. re: echoparkdirt
                                a
                                AAQjr RE: echoparkdirt Nov 12, 2010 10:15 AM

                                They do a really nice Sunday brunch menu too. That corn beef hash is unusual but delicious!

                            2. re: Chicayamato
                              f
                              friedegg67 RE: Chicayamato Dec 18, 2010 11:22 AM

                              You are so on they money Chicaymato! I would add Campanile - that place has been running on fumes for years. Boring food and tame menu. I also think Angeli Cafe is very mediocre. As for Eva, Street and Jar -- they were never good. I love JG but he's far from impartial when it comes to some of his LA chef chums.

                            3. re: terwilliger
                              b
                              burntwater RE: terwilliger Nov 11, 2010 05:04 PM

                              Reply to terwilliger....

                              Wow someone who gets it.

                              When your at the top the pundits below will try to knock you down.

                              This post is a compliment to Mr. Gold.

                              1. re: burntwater
                                s
                                sushigirlie RE: burntwater Nov 11, 2010 06:43 PM

                                Nobody is trying to knock anybody down. The thread title asks for the least deserving restaurant on J. Gold's list. Naturally, anybody who posts a response is going to disagree with J. Gold on some restaurants.

                                1. re: sushigirlie
                                  b
                                  burntwater RE: sushigirlie Nov 11, 2010 09:09 PM

                                  he's only one guy and one stomach. i'm sure a group of chowhounds could cover more ground and draft a much better list, but that's still a lot of work.

                                  this reads to me as we can do better then him

                            4. m
                              manku RE: echoparkdirt Nov 11, 2010 09:04 PM

                              My problem with JG is not this list...it's as good as anyone's 99...but rather his reviews...his descriptions make me want to barf, not run to the restaurant...I think sam sifton does a pretty good job these days at the NYT describing food and scene...something about JG's writing (his descriptors perhaps?) makes even high end food sound gross. I guess I must be in the minority, however, as he seems to have won a pulitzer!

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: manku
                                b
                                bsquared2 RE: manku Nov 12, 2010 06:09 AM

                                Make's you want to barf? What a silly thing to say.

                                You can disagree with his choices, but you can't deny that he is an "essential" part of food criticism and has had quite an impact in Los Angeles. Whether you agree with Jonathan or not, for me, he is a great 'filter'. I love ethnic food and there are so many places to try. I promise you most folks in LA (and on Chowhound) wouldn't have tried some of those Korean, Chinese, Oaxacan etc. restaurants.

                                JGold is like the Amoeba Records of food. I shop at Amoeba because I can ask somebody if that Cambodian Garage Rock compilation is good and I trust their judgement. They aren't right 100% of the time, but they have a great batting average.

                                1. re: bsquared2
                                  m
                                  manku RE: bsquared2 Nov 12, 2010 09:06 AM

                                  I'm exagerating, of course...however, I've yet to read one of his reviews and want to dash out to try the restaurant...I can't put my finger on it, but even his rave reviews don't make me hungry!

                                  Perhaps it's that he likes different food than me...I don't need to any another piece of offal in my life again, yet he seems to adore it...the more exotic the better, it seems half the time.

                                2. re: manku
                                  tenxtone76 RE: manku Nov 27, 2010 12:12 PM

                                  Who has a 99 list and better food descriptions? I am interested to see recommendations, esp in LA. thanks

                                3. t
                                  tissue RE: echoparkdirt Nov 12, 2010 01:18 AM

                                  Giang nan... I went there twice and was underwhelmed

                                  1. mollyomormon RE: echoparkdirt Nov 12, 2010 06:46 AM

                                    I have eaten at 48 of these so I can't really answer the question posted definitively but I am not a fan of Beacon. I don't really see how it represents LA dining in a way that, say, Orris, does not. I do think J. Gold's introduction to the list is one of my favorite pieces of writing of his ever and really captures the current state of LA dining.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mollyomormon
                                      Servorg RE: mollyomormon Nov 12, 2010 07:16 AM

                                      Complete concurrence. After trying Beacon 3 times I strongly doubt that there is a fourth visit in store for us.

                                    2. Porthos RE: echoparkdirt Nov 12, 2010 08:46 AM

                                      Do not belong on the list: Border Grill, Chaya Downtown, Comme Ca (poor example of bistro fare), Jiraffe (very dated), Lazy Ox (less successful Animal copycat), Rivera, Street.

                                      Great Calls: Bistro LQ, Hatfields, Ludobites (no brainer), Mozza, Newport, Rustic Canyon, Tasting Kitchen.

                                      Notable Omissions that deserve to be on the list: Mori Sushi, Urasawa and Totoraku. Maybe too highbrow/elitist to be on the list? Also Din Tai Fung, Dean Sin World, Luscious Dumplings...at least one of these should be on the list to represent the LA dumpling scene.

                                      Notable Omission that's debatable: Bazzar. I wouldn't put it on the list either.

                                      -----
                                      Din Tai Fung Restaurant
                                      1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

                                      Border Grill
                                      1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                      Urasawa Restaurant
                                      218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                      Jiraffe Restaurant
                                      502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                      Dean Sin World
                                      306 N Garfield Ave # 2, Monterey Park, CA

                                      Totoraku
                                      10610 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                      Bistro LQ
                                      8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                      Chaya Downtown
                                      525 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                      12 Replies
                                      1. re: Porthos
                                        n
                                        ns1 RE: Porthos Nov 12, 2010 09:17 AM

                                        I have a hard time calling Bazaar essential when it's basically a clone of his other restaurants, no?

                                        1. re: ns1
                                          Porthos RE: ns1 Nov 12, 2010 09:30 AM

                                          I agree that I wouldn't call Bazaar essential. But it is a notable omission since its one of the most popular restaurants in town. I don't think many would argue with replacing Chaya Downtown with Bazzar if that was an option.

                                          -----
                                          Chaya Downtown
                                          525 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                          1. re: Porthos
                                            Servorg RE: Porthos Nov 12, 2010 09:38 AM

                                            Bazaar seems essential to an LA list since it is our ONLY true MG (MG Lite?) restaurant in the entire Southern California area.

                                            1. re: Servorg
                                              n
                                              ns1 RE: Servorg Nov 12, 2010 09:54 AM

                                              and IMHO there it is: It's not essential because LA is NOT an MG city.

                                              1. re: ns1
                                                Servorg RE: ns1 Nov 12, 2010 09:58 AM

                                                Come gather 'round people
                                                Wherever you roam
                                                And admit that the waters
                                                Around you have grown...

                                                1. re: Servorg
                                                  Porthos RE: Servorg Nov 12, 2010 10:31 AM

                                                  I'll have to agree with Servorg here. You can find molecular gastronomy in several dishes at Providence, Bistro LQ, and Ludobites to name a few. There are no locally spawned MG predominant restaurants such as Alinea in Chicago, WD-50 in NYC, or Coi in SF...so by default, that would make Bazzar LA's main MG restaurant. For what that's worth, that may or may not warrent placement on an "essential" list.

                                                  I personally wouldn't put it on my "essential" list because the menu never changes and the food is too sterile. It's fun the first 2-3 visits but after the novelty wears off there's not much substance behind the food.

                                                  -----
                                                  Bistro LQ
                                                  8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                        2. re: Porthos
                                          t
                                          terwilliger RE: Porthos Nov 12, 2010 09:28 AM

                                          How is Lazy Ox an Animal copycat? (Not arguing with you, just interested in hearing why you think that).

                                          1. re: terwilliger
                                            honkman RE: terwilliger Nov 12, 2010 09:46 AM

                                            I think both have quite different approaches towards cooking but their ambiences are quite similar.

                                            1. re: terwilliger
                                              Porthos RE: terwilliger Nov 12, 2010 11:02 AM

                                              Maybe it was the pig ears that tipped me off (which is actually better at Lazy Ox) but similarities include fried pig ears, BBQ pork ribs, quail fry, pasta in brown butter, pork belly sandwiches...small plates concept in dim wood-laden setting.

                                              I understand Animal doesn't have a monopoly on these dishes and that restaurants copy each other frequently, but IMO they're similar enough and Animal is superior enough that Laxy Ox doesn't necessarily need to be on the list also.

                                              1. re: terwilliger
                                                t
                                                terwilliger RE: terwilliger Nov 12, 2010 12:12 PM

                                                Interesting. I've eaten at both places several times and have never really felt much of a similarity. I think the rooms and the vibes are entirely different. There's definitely a small overlap in terms of what's being served, but both places change their menus pretty frequently. And Animal's menu is tiny compared to Lazy Ox. But that's just my take.

                                                1. re: terwilliger
                                                  Porthos RE: terwilliger Nov 12, 2010 08:19 PM

                                                  Perception is everything. Obviously, I'm in the minority because Lazy Ox is consistently packed.

                                                  I've been to Lazy Ox on 3 occasions and have felt that the food was decent for the most part, but there was nothing that they did better than anyone else. The jack of all trades and master of none approach is precisely the reason why I feel Lazy Ox doesn't belong on an essential LA list. I'm not the biggest Animal fan out there but I have to give them credit for the so-rich-its-wrong, so-wrong-its-right foie gras with biscuit and sausage gravy creation.

                                              2. re: Porthos
                                                Porthos RE: Porthos Nov 12, 2010 02:38 PM

                                                Oh, and AOC! AOC deserves to be on this list more than half the other restaurants on the list. It's essential LA for the food, for the small plates concept back when it was the only one in town doing small plates, and for the LA version of cal-med cuisine that I find more enjoyable than Lucques.

                                                -----
                                                AOC
                                                8022 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                                Lucques
                                                8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                                              3. Peripatetic RE: echoparkdirt Nov 12, 2010 02:12 PM

                                                I've been to 33 of the places on the list. I'd nominate Daikokuya, Jinya, Casa Bianca, and Larkin's as "undeserving". Is there anyone here who's been to Santouka who thinks Daikokuya or Jinya are "more essential"? Okay, Jinya is okay-ish ramen in a nice room with nice presentation in a good location, but Daikokuya is just dreary.

                                                Casa Bianca and Larkin's probably don't require much explanation to CHers.

                                                That said, I wish I had a list this well curated for all the cities I visit.

                                                10 Replies
                                                1. re: Peripatetic
                                                  n
                                                  ns1 RE: Peripatetic Nov 12, 2010 02:22 PM

                                                  I would say Santouka is better but Daiko is the more "essential" experience. You know, mobbing Daiko at 9pm while mad-dogging the people who are dining, and then eating while looking at the people who are then mad-dogging you. Definitely a more interesting experience.

                                                  Santouka is delicious ramen in a mall food court.

                                                  -----
                                                  Santouka
                                                  3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                                  1. re: ns1
                                                    Peripatetic RE: ns1 Nov 12, 2010 02:40 PM

                                                    True, but you can get all that (and more!) at Apple Pan. Personally, I prefer the Apple Pan "experience". (Yes, there are better burgers and the prices are high -- it's not my intention to reopen this well-worn debate!)

                                                    1. re: Peripatetic
                                                      n
                                                      ns1 RE: Peripatetic Nov 12, 2010 02:50 PM

                                                      FWIW, I still like Daiko I just refuse to stand in line. I actually think their pork is better than Santouka and their egg is occasionally godly

                                                      1. re: ns1
                                                        Mr Taster RE: ns1 Nov 12, 2010 03:55 PM

                                                        Don't wait in line. Put your name on the list, walk around the corner to Tokyo Cafe and order their handmade gyoza (cheaper and much better than Daikokuya) and by the time you're finished, your table will be ready. The only issue is that TC closes early, so this doesn't work in the wee hours.

                                                        By the way, I would never describe Daikokuya as "dreary"... I love the cozy kitch of the place.

                                                        Mr Taster

                                                        -----
                                                        Daikokuya
                                                        327 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                        1. re: Mr Taster
                                                          n
                                                          ns1 RE: Mr Taster Nov 12, 2010 04:06 PM

                                                          That's what I usually do and I've had my name skipped over more than once.

                                                          Or was that Sushi Gen? Same problem at both shops. Thanks for the rec on Tokyo Cafe though, cuz I'm a sucker for Daiko's gyoza as well. It's the glorious amount of green onion that does it for me.

                                                          1. re: Mr Taster
                                                            Peripatetic RE: Mr Taster Nov 12, 2010 04:31 PM

                                                            "By the way, I would never describe Daikokuya as "dreary"... I love the cozy kitch of the place"

                                                            It's been over three years since I was last at Daikokuya. I looked at photos and it seems nicer than I remembered. I just recall it being very dim with poor air circulation.

                                                            1. re: Peripatetic
                                                              n
                                                              ns1 RE: Peripatetic Nov 12, 2010 04:35 PM

                                                              I wouldn't call it dim, but poor air circulation is definitely an understatement.

                                                    2. re: Peripatetic
                                                      Das Ubergeek RE: Peripatetic Nov 23, 2010 08:15 AM

                                                      Just addressing the last bit, every Village Voice Media newspaper has a list of the top 100 dishes on their online food blogs. That'll cover at least a lot of the cities people are likely to visit.

                                                      As for Daikokuya, I was sort of flummoxed by that. Even Asahi Ramen was better than Daikokuya, and Santouka was just plain superior.

                                                      -----
                                                      Daikokuya
                                                      327 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                      Santouka
                                                      3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                                      Asahi Ramen
                                                      2027 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                        Mr Taster RE: Das Ubergeek Nov 23, 2010 09:04 AM

                                                        Your statement that Asahi > Daikokuya strikes me as hyperbole. My first exposure to real ramen (i.e. not the $0.25 packs) was many, many years ago P.C. (pre-Chowhound) It was at Asahi. My memory of what I was served centers entirely around the rather repulsive loaf of thinly sliced, dense, leathery chashu. It tasted.... old. It was grey. To be fair, I have no specific memory of the noodles, or the soup other than salty water. I most likely ordered the soy... I wouldn't have known about salt or pork bone broth at that time so I was likely to have gone with what I knew. I remember the gyoza were dreadful too. Trader Joe's quality.

                                                        My very next exposure to ramen was Daikokuya, prob several months later. (If you recall, this was in the days before Santouka arrived-- the LA ramen scene was still pretty small, pretty much you could only get mediocre to bad). Diakokuya was shockingly different. Tonkatsu kotteri... with garlic. My god, the soup exploded with richness and flavor. Those gyoza were wonderful-- on a different plane of existence than the mealy mush at Asahi. The noodles were chewy. The bamboo was funky. The egg was creamy and salty. It all just worked together in exactly the opposite way that Asahi.

                                                        So, fast forward several years. I spent a month in Japan. LA now has Santouka, Asa, specialists coming in from Japan to serve bowls at Marukai food festivals, etc. The scene is vastly different. The stakes are higher. I haven't been to Daikokuya in years, and I'm open to the idea that they're not as great as I remember. But I would *never* say that Asahi is better, by any measure.

                                                        Hm, though irrelevant to the food, I didn't even address that Daikokuya "feels" more like Japan to me. (For what that's worth.)

                                                        Mr Taster

                                                        -----
                                                        Daikokuya
                                                        327 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                        Santouka
                                                        3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                          Peripatetic RE: Das Ubergeek Nov 23, 2010 11:51 PM

                                                          "every Village Voice Media newspaper has a list of the top 100 dishes on their online food blogs."

                                                          I was going to suggest these may not be as "chowish" as the LA and OC <wink> Weekly lists, but I glanced at the lists compiled by Westword and the New Times, and they seem very credible.

                                                      2. Phood RE: echoparkdirt Nov 12, 2010 08:49 PM

                                                        I've generally enjoyed J. Gold's recommendations. If you have more, please share; that's why we're here.
                                                        Only Thi N. speaks more to my palate, and has ever since he was the editor of Chowhound's LA subscription service. I still reread his goodbye notes for inspiration.

                                                        1. Deidre7 RE: echoparkdirt Nov 22, 2010 06:52 PM

                                                          Mr. Gold's list was surprising, but I found it refreshing that he chose some spots that were quirky, in whatever places, and really special and unique (ya, Wurstküche is total hipster bar and I don't eat sausages...so I can't hate!) and really being adventurous with the list. Also, I see a bit of promotion for some of the historic but notable spots (Musso & Franks is said to be really delicious, and it is true Langer's has the besttttt pastrami ever) and "safe" spots that tourists could go to but still not get uncomfortable and/or weirded out by some combos for the pallet. However, some I was just shocked! hehe...I also enjoyed that I discovered some spots I never heard of before and will be checking them out.

                                                          The only restaurant that really made me say "REALLY??!!" was Terroni. This spot is horrible, loud and just whatever. No character to back it up...totally mediocre...maybe they have a nice spot in Toronto but not in LA...

                                                          -----
                                                          Terroni
                                                          7605 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Deidre7
                                                            r
                                                            redrover RE: Deidre7 Dec 17, 2010 08:06 PM

                                                            Well, if I counted right, people have dissed 22 of the 99 restaurants, though not everyone on the thread agreed that a specific restaurant deserved it. But even if you drop those 22 off, he's batting about 80%, which is not bad. When you think that Michael Bauer's awful list is the dominant one in the Bay Area, Jonathan Gold looks better and better. And as the only person ever to win a Pulitzer for restaurant criticism, he is "essential" to the LA food scene, even if he's not perfect.

                                                            1. re: redrover
                                                              s
                                                              sushigirlie RE: redrover Dec 17, 2010 09:18 PM

                                                              I think his list is good. It saddens me, however, to see struggling fine institutions (e.g., Water Grill) left off the list in favor of much inferior, hot new things (e.g., the Gorbals). Why not just go all in and throw Bottega Louie onto the list? It's more "essential" to the downtown LA dining scene than any restaurant I know. CPK anyone?

                                                              -----
                                                              Water Grill
                                                              544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                              Bottega Louie
                                                              700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                                                              The Gorbals
                                                              501 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

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