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May 27, 2011 01:57 PM

End of an Era--ABC Seafood Shutters

Well I hadn't had a sit down meal at ABC Seafood in Chinatown in several years and lately have only gone occasionally to the take-out section, so this is more of a historical note. But still it was very saddening to walk by ABC Seafood today and see the windows papered over and the doors shuttered. For those unfamiliar with the evolution of Hong Kong style food in LA and the US, the year was 1984, and Hong Kong style seafood restaurants were just starting to pop up locally, mostly in the San Gabriel Valley. But no killer restaurants of this genre had opened up in the first four or five years of this food phase. Then ABC Seafood comes along in the old Lime House space, serving what clearly was superior to anything that had been available in Los Angeles, and in retrospect, the United States. The food was so good it seems like we ate there every week, and the restaurant was such a big hit that just two years later they opened up another, much larger location in Monterey Park and called it NBC. But while NBC had the huge crowds and the glamorous bustle, ABC was clearly the mother ship from a culinary point of view. It wasn't until the late 1990s when Koi Palace opened up in Daly City that anything in the US surpassed ABC Seafood. But shortly after Koi Palace opened, the owner-chef of ABC retired, sold the restaurant, and took his recipes with him. Some of the cooks landed at NBC, most of the waiters started up CBS, but the food wasn't the same and I was heartbroken. Now I'm sure that by today's standards, the food that ABC served in the mid-1980s and 1990s doesn't compare to the Hong Kong style food we can get today. But in a way I never got over the passing of the old ABC.

ABC Seafood Restaurant
708 New High St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Koi Restaurant
730 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

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  1. Thanks for breaking the news. I even remember eating at Lime House--one of my relatives was a cook there.

    1. Unfortunately I feel Hong Kong style dining has plateaued in Los Angeles for too long now whereas what trends tends to be relatively "new" regional cuisines.

      I remember eating at ABC as a kid and NBC was once such a flagship restaurant in the SGV.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Johnny L

        Supposedly culinary innovation these days in Hong Kong is found in the cafes, and while we joke about there being a Hong Kong style cafe on every block in the San Gabriel Valley, the cafes over here are not incubators of innovation.

        1. re: Johnny L

          >>>Unfortunately I feel Hong Kong style dining has plateaued in Los Angeles<<<

          I think that style of Hong Kong dining plateaued in every place including Hong Kong. The new Hong Kong dining scene is very eclectic and using ingredients from all over. Olala Charcuterie, Bo Innovation, Cepage and others are the new face of new Hong Kong cuisine. Don't get me wrong, the old classics of Hong Kong are still great, but they haven't progressed their food, which is fine. Just because I like new and innovative doesn't mean I don't want familiar and comforting when the mood strikes.

          Nice to hear ABC has reopened.

        2. I hear a remodel is now under way - any input in that regard?

          2 Replies
          1. re: carter

            All the windows are papered over and you can't see inside, which would be consistent with a remodel, as opposed to a straight out abandonment.

            1. re: Chandavkl

              Its a remodel so long as you don't see a stepladder. If you see a stepladder, bad sign.

          2. ABC Seafood is under new ownership and has re-opened. They've done a complete remodel. $5.25, $6.25, and $7.25 Lunch Specials from 11am - 5pm and 9pm - closing. Their roast pork is not to be missed. I went there for lunch on Thursday and it was nice to see a near capacity restaurant at 11:30am just like the good old days.

            ABC Seafood Restaurant
            708 New High St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

            1 Reply
            1. re: Graphracker

              I was actually going to post on this place. Was in about a month ago, and had a really excellent fried whole (gray?) sole as a $7.25 lunch special. Pretty thin fish, but probably the cheapest and best whole fish dish to be had in L.A. (or, that I've had).