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ROC Star Dumpling soft opening on Sawtelle this week

Believe it will open half of the restaurant up as early as Wednesday or Thursday. Expect reports from CHOWers.

There'll be XLB, NRM, 3-cup chicken, bunch of dumplings and potstickers, etc.

Address: 2049 Sawtelle Blvd
Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/ROC-Kit...
Grubstreet write-up here: http://losangeles.grubstreet.com/2012...
Eater write-up here: http://la.eater.com/archives/2012/09/...

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  1. This is right around the corner from Seoul Sausage. It's going to be a parking nightmare to end all parking nightmares down there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Isn't it already a parking nightmare?

      1. re: wienermobile

        If I were Nijiya I would get ready to "repel boarders" with water cannons and pugil sticks...

    2. Cheung is a Cantonese enunciation/spelling for Chang or Zhang (like queen of HK cinema, Maggie Cheung or aging 80s/90s sky king pop singer Jackie Cheung).

      It would qualify as a "mini DTF", if they also serve stewed/double boiled black chicken soup.

      Still looking forward to Tainanese style food / real Min style cuisine going mainstream someday.

      3 Replies
      1. re: K K

        My wife's friend is a Hong Kongese Cheung and they pronounce it as "Chung", not "Chang".

        Mr Taster

        1. re: Mr Taster

          I guess it depends on how it is enunciated by whoever owns the name vs how the original ancestry/lineage's last name was interpreted by customs when they arrived in the USA and wrote down what they heard when asked of their last name (assuming country of origin did not issue English spelling of last name, like rural parts of China, or before HK colonial British rule and establishment of English ID/spelling).

          Kind of like how Reagan and Regan might have had the same name but the person who interpreted the accent from immigrants either wrote down a different spelling or what not.

          Like Wong and Wang are otherwise the same in some cases, but one doesn't know for sure unless having a grasp of Mandarin and Cantonese enunciation whether it's the character for "king", or "yellow", or if it is Huang. It's a tricky proposition.

          1. re: Mr Taster

            Well, Cheung is how many folks from HK transliterate 张 (zhāng); that's an approximation of the sound in Cantonese (zoeng1 in jutopinyin). Many folks from Taiwan transliterate the same word as Chang (using ch to represent the sound represented as zh in Hanyu Pinyin). According to Wikipedia, the same name can also be transliterated Teo and Teoh (Teochew) Chong (Hakka), Jang and Chang in Korean, etc. In terms of how people typically say them in English; that's kind of irrelevant. Even people who can speak the language will usually say the name the way people expect to hear it when they're speaking English. I could be wrong (not a Cantonese speaker), but I think the initial sound is closer to dz than ch in Cantonese.

            If you know the common surnames and how they're often transliterated, you can often make some guesses about where someone came from, but there is some overlap (and, as others have mentioned, sometimes people, especially those who came over before current romanization systems came into style, have used a phonetic transliteration).

            It looks like the name sometimes transliterated as Cheung by Koreans refers to 增 or 曾 in Chinese characters.

        2. Will the Westside FINALLY have a decent version of XLB? I glanced at the picture of the XLB that was in the window last week and started salavating.

          1. B/c XLB and dumplings are classically Taiwanese? =( I'd like XLB in the area, but I think a restaurant in the vein of Garden Cafe or something like that would also be fun. =)

            Good grief, there's a lot of new eateries there, very few of which I've tried! Maybe I should start at Plan Check in the early afternoon and just work my way down the street....

            And parking (at least IMO) has become significantly worse over the past few months, at least in the immediate area. You can still find parking several blocks west, though....

            1 Reply
            1. re: ilysla

              Having Sawtelle as "Neighborhood of the Month" didn't help the parking situation any...

            2. Gloating time: Sawtelle is walkable from where I am...

              12 Replies
              1. re: J.L.

                The Big Blue Bus # 4 runs down Sawtelle but only during the day [it goes to the Brentwood Country Mart as well] BBB #5 and #1 and the Culver City #6 will drop you easy walking distance.

                1. re: J.L.

                  We really don't want to hear how you live within walking distance of the Sawtelle Strip.

                  Thanks for gloating. It's not at all appreciated.

                  :)

                    1. re: J.L.

                      Uh, to bring this back to the Chow.... ;)

                      Does anyone know anything about chef? I read the write-ups above, but it doesn't say where else the chef has been (just a vague reference to his training).

                      I do have to say I'm looking forward to a nice plate of pork chop rice (hopefully the westside markup won't be too much!). It was one of my favorite comfort-food dishes growing up.... My partner (who isn't super familiar w/ Chinese food) went to a Chinese place near us on Wilshire a few mo ago and said it was disgusting. It'd be nice to have something of home (I grew up in SGV) nearby....

                      1. re: ilysla

                        With a name like ROC Star, it's a good bet that there's no mainland money behind it...

                        1. re: J.L.

                          Heard that the owner and/or chef are Korean, should be interesting if true.

                              1. re: J.L.

                                "Then that's Gangnam style..."

                                Don't think he can cook. Likes to eat though!

                          1. re: ilysla

                            Chef Cheung found himself at Slanted Door after culinary school. He was last seen in LA as a chef-consultant to RAMA Thai on Third, which has since shuttered.

                            But dude(ette), this kinda cooking requires couple Chinamen with wok-handling skills, not a CIA certificate. As long as the man can find a few cooks from employment agencies off Garvey, everyone will be in great shape.

                      2. re: J.L.

                        Same here. I am loving all this action on Sawtelle.

                      3. Wow with Nong La and this place it seems the Westside is getting some SGV quality places now. Now if only the reverse could happen with mid casual restaurants getting into SGV.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Johnny L

                          Nongla (is it one word or two?) has raised the bar for Vietnamese in WLA but it is not perfect: my pho was not hot and the noodles in the bun were way over-cooked. But the ingedients and flavors were spot on. Must try the banh mi soon.

                          Looking foreward to ROC...unlike ilysla above, I acutually hope the "westside mark-up" is high enough to keep the lines short and the lights on (for longer than a few months).

                          1. re: Ciao Bob

                            I was at Nongla this weekend and had some very good pho. Great quality beef. The service was quick and friendly and the kitchen staff was welcoming. I will be back. They are a very nice addition to the westside.
                            http://nonglacafe.com

                            1. re: wienermobile

                              oh, that's the joint right next door to sushi stop, correct ?

                                1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                                  Oh, between.

                                  Damn, I'm really starting to hate Sawtelle. :) Too many decisions so little time. You could just live on Sawtelle and never have any reason to leave. You got great coffee, pretty good sushi, chicken skewers, pasta, good pastries, grilled fish, ramen (multiple ramen joints), a used/antiquarian bookstore, middle eastern food, mixology cocktails, burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, pseudo-poutine, a great movie theater (well, almost. The theater is actually on SM Blvd.) all in a few blocks.

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    That's because you can't leave due to traffic on the 405/10/wilshire/santa monica/pico

                                    Santa Monica is like an island surrounded by traffic.

                                    1. re: ns1

                                      I'm pretty sure a couple years back it to me about an hour and a half to drive between Bundy and Barrington going West along Olympic.

                                      Even if you live near the UCLA, there still might be upwards of a 25 minute drive, perhaps, to Sawtelle.

                                      Yes, as always, traffic in LA always seems to hit an all time nadir. And don't get me started on that expansion joke along the 405.

                                    2. re: kevin

                                      Blessed are those who live within close walking distance... :-)

                                      1. re: J.L.

                                        Yes, we know. :)

                                        But we don't like it.

                                        Btw, have you tried the Seoul Sausage joint. ?

                                        Every time I pass by it in the late evening but not so late evening, the storefront looks to be closed. Maybe they keep running out of sausage ?

                          2. From Grub Street here are some of ROC Star's menu items:

                            xiao long bao
                            crab xiao long bao
                            6 types of dumplings
                            sichuan won tons
                            3-cup chicken
                            beef noodle soup
                            pork chop rice
                            stir fried Chinese vegetables

                            1. "the chef/owner says he's NOT Taiwanese, but the food will be"

                              So what is he? You must have asked?

                              They also have Hainan Chicken on the menu, surely that is not Taiwanese as well.

                              43 Replies
                              1. re: AyrtonS

                                He's "Mandarin". Though, as K K noted above, "Cheung" is a Cantonese surname.

                                Taiwanese cuisine have long ago co-opted Haianese chicken into its repertoire ( http://tw.search.yahoo.com/search;_yl... ) . But again, that's all besides the point. Cheung is trying to bring in the "best of SGV". A good Hainan chicken closest to Sawtelle used to be Lee Kam Kee, now it's back to Savoy. So, why not Hainan chicken rice? He's a French-trained cook, poaching and shocking poultry should be easy breezy.

                                Now, can someone tell me if they've soft opened?

                                1. re: TonyC

                                  Drove by about 2:30pm and did not discern any activity.

                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                    Drove by 9PM - Still under construction...

                                    1. re: J.L.

                                      Drove by? Thought you were walking distance!

                                      1. re: AyrtonS

                                        On my way home from dinner elsewhere, so I decided to take a detour through Sawtelle to take a gander... Besides, nobody walk in L.A... :-)

                                  2. re: TonyC

                                    "poaching and shocking poultry should be easy breezy"

                                    And sushi is just fish and rice...... If it was that simple, why aren't there more decent Hainan chicken places, SGV included? Visitors from Singapore and Malaysia shake their heads in disbelief when they try Savoy's version and are told that it is considered the best in town.

                                    1. re: AyrtonS

                                      1) People from Singapore, Malaysia, and Taipei (for example) are used to high quality cheap street food and can be resistant or opinionated about paying x3 to x5 for 1/3 to 1/5 the quality overseas (ie here).

                                      2) Lack of Singaporean and Malaysian expats (or Chinese from Hainan who know how to make Wenchang chicken) in the area willing to work in the food industry and know how to and take the extra steps at their own cost and time do things the right way. Why spend the $ making a laksa from scratch when you can get these imported seasoning boxes for laksa and HCR at 99 Ranch that could pass off to unsuspecting customers? Easier to hit up some local HK cafe for a shortcut, roasties deli (cheap or seafood restaurant high end) that serves Cantonese style Empress Chicken, get some garlic chili sauce, thick soy sauce paste, make one's own chicken flavored rice and call it a day, or go to Savoy for lack of choices . We have this same problem in Northern California too.

                                      1. re: AyrtonS

                                        Chicken in America is raised to be big... and bland.

                                        Can't blame the chef for the ingredients' shortcomings.

                                      2. re: TonyC

                                        Menu in the window Wednesday evening said soft opening will be October 20th with a limited menu and limited seating. Grand opening in November.

                                        1. re: New Trial

                                          "...with a limited menu and limited seating" They forgot to add "And limited parking" ;-D>

                                          1. re: Servorg

                                            That free parking deal on Mississippi has made Sawtelle delighful again...now you only have to wait to eat anywhere decent...not to park.

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              @ servorg: I hear there's this "bus" thing you can take? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8736...

                                              @new trial: thanks for the drive by/walk by.

                                              Thanks to everyone else who commented on the build-out. Saved me a trip/call.

                                              1. re: TonyC

                                                I'm normally combining tasks. Installation for my wife's business followed by dinner on the way home. So hauling all of the stuff we are setting up via the bus just won't work for us...no matter how hard you suggest it. ;-D>

                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                  And who even takes the bus in LA ?

                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                    'hounds that can afford $300 tasting menus don't. Working peoples who pay $3 for lunch do.

                                                    that being said, the Dash is quite a nice bus line around town.

                                                    1. re: ns1

                                                      I highly doubt even a handful of the customers, at for instance, Kiriko take the bus to get there. Though it is a great idea since if you drink too much sake, who really wants or more importantly who really should drive ?

                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                        I was stuck without a car once for a whole day and had an appointment in Westwood early in the morning. Took the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus to Westwood, had my appointment, and then took the green Culver Citybus down near Sepulveda and Culver to get a massage, and then the Citybus back up to Kiriko for a late lunch and then the BBB again to get back home. Took most of the day, but I was surprised how easy it was.

                                                        1. re: PeterCC

                                                          Yeah, but you wouldn't be able to get anything else done that day.

                                                          Sadly, we are still a car-focused city.

                                                          Also, I'm presuming your lunch was not too late since Kiriko closes at about 2, right ? And then opens up for the evening again later.

                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                            Yeah, I think I got there around quarter to 2 or something like that.

                                                            Alright, who's going to try to go to ROC Star on Saturday? May drive by it tomorrow around lunch time in case it soft-soft opens sooner.

                                                      2. re: ns1

                                                        I take the bus, and while my budget isn't $300, it's certainly higher than $3.

                                                        Mr Taster

                                                      3. re: kevin

                                                        I usually take the Red Line to Langer's.

                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                            Which stop do you use in Santa Monica?

                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                              I just avoid Santa Monica altogether ;)

                                                              but I would take the redline -> expoline get off at the last stop and take my bike into SM.

                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                Buses and bikes? Who are you people?

                                                                1. re: TonyC

                                                                  Welcome to the new Los Angeles. Lots of progress under Villaraigosa, both in terms of public transport and bike access.

                                                                  1. re: TonyC

                                                                    Yeah, those people that delay traffic setting up their bikes on the compartment on the front of the bus are definitely not all right by me.

                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                      The people that delay traffic by getting in their cars are definitely not all right by me.

                                                                      /soapbox

                                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                                        He'll need a box of soap all right if he's suggesting I carry my bike on to the bus (rather than putting it into the front rack) and my greasy chain brushes up against his pants...

                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                          chain protectors are the new pocket protectors?

                                                                          1. re: TonyC

                                                                            The next time I see a "chain protector" on a high end mountain bike will be the first time. No use in giving foliage anymore of a chance to get jammed in ones chain than it all ready has...

                                                                        2. re: ns1

                                                                          I'm just messing with you guys. I'm actually jealous because I should be riding a bicycle around town instead of driving.

                                                                          At least it will help me burn off some of those excess calories.

                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                              A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do...and working and eating are right up there on my list of "must do"

                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                Yeah, but multi-tasking is fucking up everything all at one. :)

                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                  It's not really multi-tasking since I do them serially in any case...

                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                    In that case, you are good to go.

                                                                2. re: Servorg

                                                                  btw, have you hit up seoul sausage again ?

                                                            2. re: TonyC

                                                              Dommy! and I will be taking the bus to get to Sawtelle tonight for Date night. Hopefully Seoul Sausage wont be a mad house. If it is, there are other options.

                                                          2. re: New Trial

                                                            If they plan to open tomorrow they better shake a leg with all of those boxes piled up in the front of the store.

                                                            1. re: New Trial

                                                              Looked like the soft open was in full effect as of my drive-by thirty minutes ago. Maybe it was a friends and family deal, but whatever the case, people were seated and the tables were full.

                                                        1. Only on Chowhound -- a thread of now 74 posts about a place that HASN'T OPENED YET!

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: nosh

                                                            Nosh, as I'm scrolling and scrolling and scrolling, trying to find out about the dumplings, I was thinking the exact same thing...but you said it!

                                                            1. re: nosh

                                                              Thought I was on GoMetro.com for a minute there.... Gotta go, the bus is here.

                                                            2. ROC is now open in their soft opening. Just dropped by for dinner. Good Taiwanese food without driving to the SGV. The soft opening menu is a simplified version of their larger full menu in November. They are limiting the number of customers so as not to overload the kitchen in the soft opening stage.

                                                              The primary customer group seems to be groups of 4-6 under 30 Asians. The owner is a former Korean partner of Chin Chin with a Chinese wife. He's seeking to bring some of the authenticity of SGV to the Westside, with some tweaks for the market place. He is sincerely and eagerly seeking feedback as he finds out what works well in the Sawtelle market.

                                                              Here's the report of what we tried:
                                                              Shanghai Soup Dumplings(XLB) - Very Good, not superthin, but medium skin. 3 styles with different fillings.
                                                              Crispy Pork Dumplings (fried dumplings) - Very good, crispy chewy skin and good park filling.
                                                              Scallion pancake - Very good. Thin crispy style.
                                                              Rice Cakes with chicken (Nien Gao) - Well cooked, smallish portion.
                                                              Stir Fried Glass Noodles with crab meat. Asked for an off menu preparation with filet mignon cubes. Beef was excellent. Noodles coulf have used more punch, but might have been OK with the original crab and green onion recipe.
                                                              Sauteed Green Beans with Garlic - Excellent execution.

                                                              Not on the soft opening menu is Hainan Chicken. The owner understands his target is Savoy Grill in MP. If he only gets 80% there, I think this place will be a home run.

                                                              Portions are smaller, flavors are a little moderated and prices higher than SGV, but to have a quality Taiwanese Chinese restaurant on the Westside is reason to celebrate.

                                                              The owner of the building housing ROC, Seoul Sausage, Blockheads, Tsujita, Nong La, etc was in the restaurant trying it out. I complimented him on his curation of the restaurants in his building. He modestly attributed it to luck... He was only trying to give young starting restaurateurs a chance since when he was starting in business, he knew how hard it was and how others had given him a chance when he was young.

                                                              10 Replies
                                                                1. re: altstarr

                                                                  Did you note what their soft open hours are? Wondering if they're only doing dinner, or if we can stop by at a hopefully non-prime time like 3 PM to avoid the *big* crowds (I'm assuming they'll always have a small crowd whenever they're open during the honeymoon period).

                                                                  1. re: altstarr

                                                                    Great write-up! Good sign so far.

                                                                    So, per TonyC:

                                                                    "He's "Mandarin". Though, as K K noted above, "Cheung" is a Cantonese surname."

                                                                    And it is now reported:

                                                                    "The owner is a former Korean partner of Chin Chin".

                                                                    Maybe he is formerly Korean and now a Mandarin with a Cantonese last name?!

                                                                      1. re: J.L.

                                                                        He's the ManCanRean Candidate...

                                                                      2. re: AyrtonS

                                                                        I believe the chef may be "Cheung". The owner is definitely Korean ... "Kim".

                                                                        However, the owner is definitely is a foodie and drove his Landlord out to SGV to show off the Chinese restaurants he is modeling after, but not copying. He knows what "the real thing" is and wants to deliver it, particularly after in his own words "selling Americanized Chinese food" for years. I think he will be very successful. He has a strong and long background in restaurant operations and has demonstrated a willingness to listen to and adjust his vision to meet the wants and needs of his customers.

                                                                        1. re: altstarr

                                                                          There are Koreans that use "Cheung" as well, though not many.

                                                                          Bet his first stop with the landlord was Ding Tai Fung! And if they really were the forces behind Chin Chin, it must have been some major epiphany that occurred!

                                                                          1. re: AyrtonS

                                                                            Chang can be a Toishanese English spelling for "Cheung". Chang can also be a Korean last name.

                                                                            1. re: AyrtonS

                                                                              Ayrton -- Good guess ... DTF was indeed the first stop!...per the owner...

                                                                          2. re: AyrtonS

                                                                            I'm confirming that Chef Cheung is Cantonese, the owner is Korean.

                                                                        2. I took photos of the soft-open and grand opening menus posted in the window. Went by around 3 PM and they were not open, though the open kitchen was bustling with people prepping for tonight's dinner. Unfortunately, no hours were posted.

                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                          12 Replies
                                                                          1. re: PeterCC

                                                                            Thanks for posting the menus. Having read this, I think I'll skip the madness that is soft opening and go back once they're offering the full menu.

                                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                                              Glad to help. Here are larger versions in case anyone found the prices and/or descriptions hard to read in CH's very small sized photo gallery:

                                                                              "Soft Menu" - http://i.imgur.com/hQCLl.jpg
                                                                              "Full Menu" - http://i.imgur.com/rboEl.jpg

                                                                              I drove by again at 9 PM and it was packed and there were maybe a dozen people outside waiting. I'm not sure what they mean by "Seating will be very limited..." All restaurants have limited seating, since there's physical constraints. I wonder if they're placing fewer tables and chairs, but at a passing glance, the layout seems not unusually spaced out or sparse. The amount of people in the restaurant seemed about right for the space. *Shrug*

                                                                              1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                Thank you for posting the menus. So you went by today and did not get to try it out?

                                                                                I've been reserving judgement, but now having seen both menus, I call BS on how they label themselves as a Taiwanese restaurant, and with a name "ROC" to boot! I'm no expert on Taiwanese cuisine, but I can see only two items on the menus that are "Taiwanese", the Three Cup Chicken and the Pork Belly in Steamed Buns (maybe three if you count the "Crispy Pork Chop"..... calling Clarissa W.). Sure, all the other items are readily available in Taiwan, but they are definitely not considered "Taiwanese".

                                                                                Not sure if the owners of ROC are casting themselves as a Taiwanese joint or the OP (who also penned the referenced articles?) and others are doing so, but to classify itself as something that it's not is not cool and a disservice to it's customers. There's enough confusion out there with all the regional Chinese cuisines, don't need to muddy the water anymore with misinformation.

                                                                                1. re: AyrtonS

                                                                                  Meh good food is good food. It's all relative depending on who's point of view you look at. If you're arguing in favor of what you call "authentic" Taiwanese food that is debatable because cuisine's are constantly changing and what is considered authentic can depend on the point of view from a certain time period.

                                                                                  I don't see how it's a disservice to customers when he's providing a good to consumers who willingly want it judging by the soft-opening commotion. Does a dumpling matter if it's labelled Chinese or Taiwanese? If it's made the way it should be and taste as it should who cares. And though it may spread confusion as to what is truly Taiwanese food, I think it's better than having no idea what Chinese food is in general. Better to have some sort of representation than non at all, no? At least that's my point of view I wouldn't get so hung up on those minor points and appreciate it for what it is. I live in the SGV so this isn't on my list to visit but it seems like something people on the Westside have been clamoring forever to have their own.

                                                                                  1. re: Johnny L

                                                                                    "Does a dumpling matter if it's labelled Chinese or Taiwanese? If it's made the way it should be and taste as it should who cares. And though it may spread confusion as to what is truly Taiwanese food, I think it's better than having no idea what Chinese food is in general."

                                                                                    I get that culture and tradition means little to some, but "Taiwanese" cuisine is not that difficult to define. If you stepped off the plane in Taiwan and asked your friend to take you for Taiwanese food, they'll know what kind of food you are referring to and it is not XLB. Has nothing to do with authenticity.

                                                                                    So it'd be okay if a dim sum place or a Peking duck joint for some reason wants to call itself Taiwanese (or Shanghainese for that matter) just because it's still Chinese food? Is there really a need to "represent" Chinese food in this country, especially in Southern California?

                                                                                    1. re: AyrtonS

                                                                                      >> If you stepped off the plane in Taiwan and asked your friend to take you for Taiwanese food, they'll know what kind of food you are referring to and it is not XLB.

                                                                                      You're exactly right. Taiwanese people love their food, and are very proud of it. "Typical" Taiwanese food are largely represented at night markets. Fried chicken with white pepper. Grilled rice cakes soaked in pigs blood. Anise stewed meaty bits of all types (including the aforementioned duck tongues). Deep fried glutenous meatballs. Beef noodle soup with sour vegetable condiment. Sweet and savory sausages with garlic. Three cup chicken. And of course the omnipresent stinky tofu, which it universally loved and may well be the unofficial snack food of Taiwan.

                                                                                      There's a bazillion more, and there's plenty of crossover foods from mainland China, Japan, and elsewhere (which are typically modified to suit Taiwanese tastes- there's a pervasive sweetness and/or anise flavor running through many dishes, even a Japanese savory ramen in Taiwan is likely to same some tinge of sweetness/anise to it.)

                                                                                      But the point is that AyrtonS is right. For Taiwanese people, there's no ambiguity as to what Taiwanese food is. And yes, you can commonly find xiaolongbao but the stuff you typically get is not anything like what you'd find at a Shanghainese restaurant in LA, Shanghai or even at Din Tai Fung (which is much more like a Shanghainese style than Taiwanese, despite its ownership). The typical xiaolongbao you get at street vendors in Taiwan has a very thick skin, very little soup inside, and is served with a slightly funky sweet/fermented chili paste.

                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                        Hey Mr Taster, glad somebody gets it! As for the XLB, don't think you'll get a straw for the juice either or have to cut it up like an apple pie to be served family style (ie. the giant XLB's ).

                                                                                        1. re: AyrtonS

                                                                                          Anyone who experiences Taiwan outside of the "International Bubble" around Taipei 101 will have no problem seeing what you and I describe.

                                                                                          However, for visitors who go for a convention and only eat at atypical places like Din Tai Fung, they'll come away with a wildly skewed perception of what real Taiwanese food is all about.

                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                        2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                          Sure I can agree with that but I'm dont view things from a static viewpoint but more of a socio-economical one in that over time authentic and cuisine changes to suit what is affordable and available to the common folk. My point is a a few restaurants misrepresenting the cuisine won't define culinary identity but rather the customer on the other end ordering the food will more likely dictate what becomes authentic food over the course of years and decades. So in relation to ROC Star Dumpling, I don't think anyone should be worried about misrepresentation. If there is a demand for "authentic" Taiwanese cuisine it will show itself.

                                                                                          1. re: Johnny L

                                                                                            >> I'm dont view things from a static viewpoint but more of a socio-economical one in that over time authentic and cuisine changes to suit what is affordable and available to the common folk.

                                                                                            This is precisely why the term "authentic" is a poor choice when discussing food, and its why I didn't use the term.

                                                                                            Chowhound Los Angeles is not a forum to discuss the history and evolution of Taiwanese food. We are talking about how Taiwanese food exists presently, in Los Angeles and in Taiwan.

                                                                                            It's not ambiguous in the slightest.

                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                              "It's not ambiguous in the slightest."

                                                                                              +1. Good post.

                                                                                    2. re: AyrtonS

                                                                                      Yeah, went around 3 PM with my kids. Figured if they weren't open we could try Seoul Sausage and Blockheads. Drove by around 9 PM because I was going to Nijiya anyway.

                                                                                      We've had discussions on other threads (some using Clarissa's articles and blog posts about "authentic" Taiwanese foods as a springboard), but many dishes may have originated elsewhere but end up being called Taiwanese because they've been adopted and popularized in Taiwan and then spread back out.

                                                                                      For example, Old Tree Pastry and Si Hai are known as serving Taiwanese breakfast, but dou jiang (soy milk), you tiao (fried dough stick), and fan tuan (rice rolls) did not originate from Taiwan and are common breakfast dishes across China, but it seems like many of the better places serving those dishes have Taiwanese owners.

                                                                                      In this case the restaurant seems modeled after DTF, which is a Taiwan-based restaurant (though the founder is from Shanxi). XLB is from Shanghai, sanbeiji I guess came from Jiangxi, but both have been popularized by Taiwanese restaurants like DTF.

                                                                              2. Y'know, the issue isn't whether the food is good or not, but whether there is enough of a demand on the Westside to support a Taiwanese joint.

                                                                                Time will tell, I suppose.

                                                                                63 Replies
                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                  I think (hope) it'll do well. It's got a good location, with spillover potential from Tsujita and Nong-La (and the rest of Little Osaka) for additional customers not specifically seeking it out. But the food being good or not is still part of the issue. Since I'll be going there specifically as a substitute for a longer drive to SGV from the Westside, it has to be good enough to incentivize that. VIP Harbor/The Palace (even Royal Star, when it was around) didn't do it for me on the Westside for dim sum, FWIW.

                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                    Well, they won't be the first to try. I wish them luck. The Animal guys got people eating pig's ears, so perhaps there is hope if they convince enough hipster trendoids in small hats to eat grilled pigs blood rice cakes, stewed duck tongues and stinky tofu.

                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                      I had written and then deleted a blurb for my last comment about how this place is serving fairly "mainstream" Taiwanese food like the paigufan and _not_ the dishes you mentioned (oh but I wish they would--maybe there'll be a secret menu!), so if the place around the corner could survive just serving sausages and rice balls, and another just ramen and tsukemen (for lunch at least), etc, that I think this place has a good chance of surviving just serving XLB and PGF...

                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                        The thing is, it's not so much about getting Westsiders to eat pork chop rice, or beef noodle soup, or scallion pancakes, or even some of the more "exotic" stuff like stewed pig's ears or stinky tofu, it's to get them to eat it on a regular basis. To make it part of their daily culinary vernacular in the same way pizza, burgers, burros, sushi, etc. are.

                                                                                        Liang's or Mama's Lu, or Old Country Cafe, or insert whatever Taiwanese joint you want from the SGV, make their living off of people who eat these things as a staple. No one goes to Mama's Lu as a special, off-the-rotation meal. They go regularly, if not 2-3 times a week, then certainly weekly. It's what OG SGV folks eat when they are *not* eating something special or unique.

                                                                                        Will that same type of demand be there in points west of La Cienega Blvd? Even Chowhounds who are on this thread won't be going to ROC Star on a regular basis me thinks, and even if they do, 'Hounds are the minority of the minority (despite what we, in our myopically parochial minds, may think to the contrary).

                                                                                        The lack of authentic Chinese food in the Westside was never about not being able to create, or replicate, authentic food west of DTLA -- it was about sustaining demand for it.

                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                          The puzzlement to me is why the existence of the UCLA campus itself doesn't support some kind of authentic Chinese food, particularly non-Cantonese, somewhere within close driving range of the campus. I've found authentic Chinese food in places without a large permanent Chinese community like Norman, OK, Champaign, IL, Springfield MO, and Buffalo, NY due to a large university with Chinese students located nearby. I actually know the answer to my own question--kids at UCLA have cars, and it's not so far away from the SGV to be out of reach. Indeed, the Chinese kids at the University of Florida in Gainesville regularly make the 100 mile trek to Orlando for the good stuff. Still, you'd think there would be something close by on the Westside besides Little Hong Kong and Hop Woo.

                                                                                          1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                            Most Chinese college kids, esp. at UCLA, are either ABC or 3rd generation. They don't get the hankering for Taiwanese or "authentic" Chinese the way their parents would, and when they do want Chinese it's more about Tea Station, or Class 302, PaPaWalk, or Indian. Never something like Dean Sin World or Elite or a place like Omar's.

                                                                                            The food culture and scene in SGV as we know it today is immigrant driven. Once the tide of immigration stems, I fear that the SGV we all know and cherish will be forever lost.

                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                              Is there a difference between ABC and 3rd generation kids? I mean in the Japanese-American community they talk about Issei, Nisei, Sansei, Yonsei and now Gosei born Japanese-Americans.

                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                If you're 3G, the only real way to tell that you're Chinese is by opening you up and looking at your chromosomes.

                                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                  Chinese are different in that there have been waves of immigration, so ABC encompasses, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations. Japanese, on the other hand, haven't had the large numbers of recent immigrants that the Chinese have.

                                                                                                2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                  Actually the "626 Generation" seems to be more fixated on food in general, whether it's fine dining or Chinese food. And my kids and their twenty and thirtysomething friends are all into Sea Harbour, Elite, King Hua, Lunasia, Din Tai Fung, as well as Tsujita, Mastro's, Mozza, etc. etc.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                    That's because, in your case, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                      Not really. The 626 generation is a foodie one. Look at the 626 Foodetttes and, the Fung Bros. 626 video for example, and it's not just the boba. I've gotten more feedback on the 6,000 restaurant story from the younger generation than from mine.

                                                                                                      1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                        Yes, but that doesn't the "younger generation" isn't necessarily first generation.

                                                                                                        And really, it's the old generation capital that's driving the restaurant scene. I doubt the Fung Bros. or the Foodettes will be opening up restaurants anytime soon.

                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                          Nah, these are ABC's. They live in the SGV and probably eat out a dozen times a week, which gives them much more exposure to what's out there than what you and I get. However, unfortunately they're more into Yelp than Chowhound.

                                                                                                          1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                            They may eat the food, but it's the old folks who have the money to open up restaurants. Fungs and Clarissa Wei aren't doing that anytime soon, or ever.

                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                              Won't divulge much myself but I plan to buck the trend.

                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                Oh. I'd love to open up a restaurant one day.

                                                                                                                1. re: ClarissaW

                                                                                                                  What kind of restaurant ? A restaurant like the OP mentioned.

                                                                                                              2. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                I'm confused. What does opening up restaurants have to do with anything? I thought the discussion is whether current 626/ABC eat out enough to support the SGV dining scene from top down (offshoot of the does ROC Star have a base to support it discussion). Just yelp Elite and Sea Harbour. It's all 626/ABC reviewers. I agree with Chandavkl, these youngsters are more likely to eat out than cook at home.

                                                                                                                As for the SGV dying out, money talks. Some of these places probably do well enough to be passed down to the next generation. You'd think certain things like zongzi would disappear with the passing of grandmothers but somehow, someone manages to pick it up and carry on the art.

                                                                                                                And why can't youngsters open up new restaurants? Isn't Seoul Sausage opened up by youngsters?

                                                                                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                  I could see the fear that some of the restaurants specializing in less Western/ABC-friendly authentic Taiwanese (or otherwise) dishes might be at risk, and I know Clarissa's talked about that in her articles. On the one hand, that fear has probably always existed and yet most restaurants have survived. On the other hand, Happy Garden is closing, is it not?

                                                                                                                  But there will always be new immigrants too, young parents with young kids wanting to make it in the States, bringing their desire for authentic tastes of home, acting either as the patrons who'll keep the restaurants open or opening restaurants serving such tastes. I am an example of the former, rediscovering and now patronizing those places.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                    90% of the restaurants are probably opened up by 1G immigrants, and half of those (e.g. Shanghai No. 1 Seafood) is funded by mainlanders who drive and crash Ferraris with Tibetians royalty in the car.

                                                                                                                    2G folks will not want to run, much less open, restaurants. Sure, it may happen. But that's the exception to the rule. They get an American education, go to college, become doctors, engineers, lawyers, etc.

                                                                                                                    Clarissa Wei, for example, is a 2G very much interested in food. But decided to get a journalism degree at NYU, instead of pursuing a life of a restaurateur. And, who can blame her? Having grown up in restaurants with both parents as working chefs, I can say it's probably one of the worst ways to make a living.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                      Good point. From what I can tell, most of the Americanized Chinese restaurants east of the Mississippi have fallen into the hands of Fujianese immigrants. If not for them I don't know who would be running Chinese restaurants in the east, midwest and south. Since most of the Fujianese worker class appears to be undocumented, we don't see many of them out west because their only means of transport without having ID is by Chinese bus connection to Manhattan. On the other hand when pondering how the 6,000 restaurant article got picked up by People and several entertainment blogs the best answer I got came from one of the twentysomethings and was that today "Food is cool." So maybe the Seoul Sausage opening is a portent of things to come.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                        Nah, I just think it's that "You're cool".

                                                                                                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                        Much too true, and I would be the crazy idiot making my living in the restaurant business.

                                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                          You're right. We have little interest in opening the next great traditional Chinese seafood restaurant.

                                                                                                                          There are plenty of other options though.

                                                                                                              3. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                Has nothing to do with "626". 20 somethings, be Jewish, Black, Chinese, or Green, are all driven by Food (TV).

                                                                                                                Doesn't mean they're cooking, doesn't mean they're opening restaurants. It's a prosumer commodity, just like cell phones & ipads.

                                                                                                                Anywho, the chef advised the food isn't "Taiwanese". So, on that front, since Chow mods won't edit, please take note. No need to compare to DTF, or Savoy, or whatever.

                                                                                                              4. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                I'd say it's more of an age component (older vs. younger) rather than ABC vs. 2nd/3rd/4th whatever gen, in the sense that Asian students at UCLA don't yet have the purchasing power to create a vast demand for lots of Chinese restaurants. I don't really know if college students are even *old* enough to get nostalgic hankering for much of anything.... And college students aren't particularly picky.

                                                                                                                I think that the westside population (as a whole) wants a vaguely Disney-fied eating experience when it comes to "ethnic" food. The "young professionals" that I see hanging out at places like Bruhaus and Cabo Cantina (which appear to filled to the gills) ain't necessary making the trek down to Sawtelle. A place like JTYH wouldn't make it outside of the SGV (unfortunately)....

                                                                                                                Anyways, I'm looking forward to trying ROC once it officially opens (and hopefully at an off-hour!).

                                                                                                        2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                          "Y'know, the issue isn't whether the food is good or not, but whether there is enough of a demand on the Westside to support a Taiwanese joint."

                                                                                                          Of course the issue will be whether the food is good or not (besides the issue of whether it's even "Taiwanese" food to begin with.....)! If the food is really great, bet people from SGV will trek over to get it too!

                                                                                                          1. re: AyrtonS

                                                                                                            If I'm going to make the drive from Arcadia to the Westside I'm not going to eat Chinese food no matter how good it is. There's so many restaurant types on my list that we don't get east of Downtown. Most of the Chinese folks like I would probably be seen at TsujitaLA first.

                                                                                                            1. re: AyrtonS

                                                                                                              I have to agree with Johnny L, I really doubt people from SGV will make the trek specifically for this place on a regular basis, with the plethora of choices that are available closer to them. Now, I could see people who live in SGV but work on the Westside (I have a few coworkers) going to try this for lunch once or twice. I could also see SGV expats on the Westside (UCLA students, for example) going to this place on a weeknight rather than trekking back home.

                                                                                                              1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                I think it should have a large enough base between the UCLA students and young professionals that live Westside.

                                                                                                                Not to mention a lot of the menu items are very easy going and multi-palate friendly.

                                                                                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                  I agree with your assessment, and throw in the vast number of foodie-types who have come to learn about and appreciate food from Asia, as well as the quality of food in Little Osaka. This neighborhood is on a roll. Just about every place that has opened around here over the past couple of years has created such buzz even prior to opening. I think most have lived up to any hype. The common threads running through these newcomers are focusing on consumables that are somewhat unique either to the to the general area or in concept and setting a standard in quality. I think many are learning to appreciate the concept of specialization that is so prevalent in cultures where great food is the standard.

                                                                                                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                                                    Just take one look at the crowd eating their way through the various options at the Mar Vista Mitsuwa Market's food court and you can dismiss the argument that a place like ROC may not find a big enough fan base to insure success...

                                                                                                              2. re: AyrtonS

                                                                                                                If the food is really great, bet people from SGV will trek over to get it too!
                                                                                                                ____________________________

                                                                                                                How much you want to place on that wager? I'd really, really like to retire early.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                    People in SGV going to ROC star would be like someone saying, "Gee, y'know, Parkway Grill is really good, I bet those folks out in Santa Monica would trek out here to Pasadena to get some really good California inspired cuisine."

                                                                                                                    Eh, not so much.

                                                                                                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                    Me too - I'll take some of that action. Assuming ROC is really good, I'm still heading out to SGV. The current menu items only scratch one itch. SGV has a gangload of backscratchers.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                      Not saying they'd come on a regular basis (maybe just to try it once or twice if word gets out that it is outstanding) and only the food is really great. How many places in SGV can you say is really great, especially for "Taiwanese" food? Having said that, this place will do just fine. The bar for Sawtelle is not set very high and if Little HK (among other mediocre places) can survive all these years, they should have no problem staying around for a while.

                                                                                                                      1. re: AyrtonS

                                                                                                                        How many places in SGV can you say is really great, especially for "Taiwanese" food?
                                                                                                                        ____________________

                                                                                                                        Old Country Cafe
                                                                                                                        Huge Tree Pastry
                                                                                                                        Four Seas
                                                                                                                        Why Thirsty
                                                                                                                        SinBaLa
                                                                                                                        Cozyy Cafe
                                                                                                                        A&J

                                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                          No love for Happy Garden? :-) BTW, anyone know if they still plan on closing?

                                                                                                                            1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                                                                                                                              :-( Most recent Yelp review was from last week, so I was still hoping. Just hadn't been able to get out to SGV to try it yet.

                                                                                                                              1. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                                Be Be is still going. And it's good. The menu is far less staid than Happy Garden's, the QC higher than the massive chain that is Liang's. Of you can go off the 210 to try the branch in Arcadia.

                                                                                                                                Also, these are the reasons SGVers will never "trek over to get [ROC] too". Never, ever, ever, ever. Did I mention never?

                                                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                            So sad that Won Won Kitchen did not survive to be included on your list. My wife was crazy about their squid soup, and it only cost like $3-$4. (Maybe that's why they went under...)

                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                              Re: Won Won

                                                                                                                              Parents funded the restaurant. Children ran it. Children got tired of restaurant biz. Tried to find "real" job. This was QQ. Children failed at finiding real job. QQ was reincarnated as Won Won. Now, wash, rinse, repeat ...

                                                                                                                            2. re: PeterCC

                                                                                                                              Those comparisons (eg LA v Vancouver) are just that comparisons - comparing one locale's cuisine to another.

                                                                                                                              What AyrtonS is doing is using the country of origin as the standard for which all restaurants should be judged.

                                                                                                                              This is qualitatively different than saying "Koi Palace in SF is better than Elite in LA". It's more like saying "Koi is good but would not last a month in Honk Kong". Whether thats true or not is neither here nor there but it's just an odd way to judge a restaurant.

                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                I know it's overhyped...but I personally think the food at Class 302 is pretty authentic. Much more superior than the breakfast places, A&J and Sinbala at least.

                                                                                                                                1. re: ClarissaW

                                                                                                                                  Dunno about overhyped or authentic, but I really really dig Class 302. Kitsch and all.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: ClarissaW

                                                                                                                                    What do you like at 302? We of course always go for the mango snow ice but have never gotten any of the lunchbox meals.

                                                                                                                                    For what its worth, the waitresses at 302 wear shirts that are the uniforms of the top two high schools in Taiwan. In order to get into these schools, students have to pass a serious of insanely rigorous tests. As a result, my wife actually sees it as disrespectful that waitresses wear these. ("I had to work SO HARD to earn the right to wear those green shirts, and now they wear it as a costume with a miniskirt?") Suffice it to say, we only go occasionally, and usually at my insistence :)

                                                                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                    P.S. "authentic" used in food writing makes my ears bleed :-/

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                      what's the name of this restaurant with the costumes and mini-skirts ?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                          I see your Hooters and raise you an Indian.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                              Cafe Di Vang 2 has always been a favorite for their exquisite iced cafe sua dua.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                            Really, is that what Mr. Taster referenced, or ipse, is that restaurant located on San Gabriel blvd called Uncle --- (?) with Indian something with all female waitresses, ptichers of beers, and taiwanese bar snacks. ?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                              just so we can STOP this side thread immediately and focus on the authenticity of the Taiwanese cuisine NOT to be found at ROC:

                                                                                                                                              "For what its worth, the waitresses at 302 wear shirts that are the uniforms of the top two high schools in Taiwan" -- Mr. Taster.

                                                                                                                                              "302" = Class 302, not Indian, not Hooters, not Jurassic, not Cafe Miss Cutie. Class dismissed.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                  food NOT found is the focus? huh? when can i pre-order for the tonyc concordance?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                    My bad, that was a (very) inside jab -- "Taiwanese food" is not the focus.

                                                                                                                                                    ROC, despite naming its restaurant "ROC", and saying they serve "Taiwanese food" on facebook, has flip flopped. They're just serving pan- Chinese. Someone received a supposedly "abrasive" call from the establishment, and Chowmods were nice enough to edit the original post up top.

                                                                                                                                                    The menu is certainly partially Shanghainese, with stir fried nian gao, red oil won tons, etc. OTOH, there is also bo luc lac and popcorn chicken. As I'd previously written, the comparisons to Din Tai Fung is inevitable, and can already be found on Yelp.

                                                                                                                                                    Anywho, this thread may break 200 posts so the interest in saving gas is obviously there. They'll do well, and they did it without a PR firm. Now we wait for JGold's review.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                      Do we hounds really wield that much influence? I suppose...

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                                        Presumably the concern pertained to ALL the media pieces proclaiming Taiwanese cuisine on Eater, Grubstreet, etc.

                                                                                                                                                        So, no, not really.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                          "Presumably the concern pertained to ALL the media pieces proclaiming Taiwanese cuisine on Eater, Grubstreet, etc."

                                                                                                                                                          Eater had no mention of it, was only on Grubstreet and there is zero discussion there.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                        bless you, tonyc. a post i understood and only two abbreviations, both of which i actually knew. it's a red letter day.

                                                                                                                              2. Is ROC open today -- Monday -- for lunch?

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: nosh

                                                                                                                                  When i strolled by it was to be open for dinner last night, but it was not open in the afternoon.

                                                                                                                                2. Not open when I drove by at lunch time. Schedule confirmed by Eater.

                                                                                                                                  http://la.eater.com/archives/2012/10/...

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                                    Per FB, they don't plan on opening this weekend.

                                                                                                                                    This is all a bit "Zam Zam Market" before they started carrying regular hours.

                                                                                                                                  2. I swung by for dinner today with the GF; sorry no pics. It was fairly full with only a few tables empty at any one time at about 730PM. We got an order of the regular pork XLB, the rice cake and some sugar snap peas with maitake mushrooms. The XLB were pretty good and come 8 to an order. You can watch the guys make them in the open kitchen. There was a decent amount of soup inside. As reference, I typically get frozen XLB from Dean Sin World. These were smaller, with a thinner skin reminiscent of Din Tai Fung. I thought they were fairly tasty but they lacked an edge I can't put into words and prefer the XLB from DSW. The rice cake was decent; chewy without being dry although the flavor was mostly dominated by soy sauce. The snap peas were sweet and fresh although the maitake were just a tad salty. Service was a little inconsistent but that's to be expected given the state of things. I'll wait and see what the full menu is like but given what I tried today, this isn't a destination type place but a good option for those looking to get a fix.

                                                                                                                                    A note beyond the food. I spoke with someone as I left and he said their grand opening would be November 10. The full menu is also apparently going to be fairly consistent with pictures posted by PeterCC but with a dish or two coming and going as the seasons change or what not.

                                                                                                                                    1. Any updates on what's going on? Got back from the east coast expecting to see signage and an open restaurant, but driving by at lunchtime it looked the same--not open and no signs.

                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                                        I think it's officially open now, I follow them on facebook and they post their hours there.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: LisaCD

                                                                                                                                          A couple Saturdays ago, they were definitely open for dinner with lines out the door!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: liu

                                                                                                                                            That was their soft opening a few weeks back, with a very limited menu. Chandavkl is wondering (as I am) if they're in full swing by now...

                                                                                                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                              do they serve any just fish dumplings ? or are all of them a mixture with pork ?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                They have chicken dumplings, and I think they may have fish dumplings on special sometimes.

                                                                                                                                      2. We ate dinner at ROC on Sawtelle last night. It was a Saturday night and we walked into an almost empty restaurant at 5:30pm.
                                                                                                                                        Yes, they are still in soft-opening mode until January. By 6:00, the restaurant was almost filled.

                                                                                                                                        I will probably use "delicious" more than once in this review...we really enjoyed our meal!

                                                                                                                                        We ordered their cold cucumbers. When they were delivered to our table, our server informed us that they were about three hours short of "done," and so they were complimentary at this point. Oh, they were delicious in this "undone" state; all at once they were very crunchy and cold and sweet and spicy! I would double-order these next time!

                                                                                                                                        The sauteed spinach was perfectly prepared. It had no bitter notes and the broth was great. I detected a clam base to the broth, but the server told me that it was a chicken broth. Something beyond chicken was going on in this delicious broth.

                                                                                                                                        We also had two different types of steamed dumplings: shrimp with pork and just pork. Although I did not grow up with dumplings, I have spent many Saturdays tasting in the San Gabriel Valley. These dumplings at ROC were as good as any I have had anywhere. Perhaps the broth was not quite as rich as some, but they were good and very satisfying. The skin was tender, yet it was durable enough to hold the filling without breaking before "the bite!"

                                                                                                                                        The space is well-lit, yet a little tight. We were very close to our neighbors, but everyone was in the holiday spirit so no one seemed to mind. Our service was attentive and efficient.

                                                                                                                                        I look forward to a return visit to sample more of the menu.

                                                                                                                                        1. FInally went last night. It was good. Not as good as the SGV options but good enough to not drive all the way there. To be fair, they were out of most of the dumplings (which is a problem in and of itself). Chicken was very dry but all in all a good option.

                                                                                                                                          1. Hey - so what specific dishes are actually good at this place now that it's been open for a while?

                                                                                                                                            I'm going to be in West LA on friday night and my friends wanted to try this place. It's gotten fairly mixed reviews, but i'm more eating just to hang out with some friends i haven't seen in a while as opposed to trying to make this a big foodie mission (i'm also coming straight from LAX, so im sure im going to be tired)

                                                                                                                                            97 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                              scallion pancakes.

                                                                                                                                              fish dumplings.

                                                                                                                                              vermicelli noodles with shrimp.

                                                                                                                                              sauteed shrimp with shishitso peppers.

                                                                                                                                              I was a little let down actually on my fifth or sixth visit a few days ago considering that I've been an ardent proponent of the joint starting with my first visit.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                thanks, are the XLB even worth trying?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                                  i like the fish ones and the crab/chicken ones, and friends have said the pork stuffed ones are good, but of course, most people on this thread and another ROC thread absolutely and positively dislike them.

                                                                                                                                                  you are warned.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                    yah my expectations are somewhat low given what i've read, so we'll see what happens haha

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                      Ate at ROC Star last nite. Arrived at 5 pm. Place was empty. The service was friendly and helpful. The scallion pancake was too greasy for my taste, and had almost no scallions. Kind of tasteless. The soup dumplings with crab and pork were bland, as well.
                                                                                                                                                      Maybe they have gone down hill in the last year. I have no reason to return.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                                      By New York standards they probably aren't bad.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                                                        For some reason, I have a real soft spot in my heart for those crab and pork XLB grease bombs at Joe's Shanghai...

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                                                          I understand that's what they say in NY when when slandering a pizza place they can't abide (By California standards it probably isn't bad).

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                            nan xiang in flushing is passable (by far the best in NY), but sorry porthos i can't stand joe's. I actually very rarely eat XLB or dim sum in NY bc i just don't like the quality of either although i will say that hakkasan has pretty decent dim sum

                                                                                                                                                            with pizza i generally agree that NY is much better than LA although i do think that Mozza does a very respectable pizza

                                                                                                                                                            anyhow getting off topic, but thanks for the heads up

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                                          Have you and your friends had good ones from the SGV? If so, I'd say that they're not worth trying. I think I'd find them even more annoying after being fatigued from a plane trip. Stick w/ the scallion pancakes....

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ilysla

                                                                                                                                                            im asia usually once or twice a year so i usually get very good XLB when im there (normally in HK or taipei)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                          haha damn it, now im almost wanting to try to change spots...the inner food guy in hates going to places knowing they're going to be bad

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                                            Spoken like a true hound.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                                              If you're in/around that 'hood, forgo ROC and get some ramen at Tsujita.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                                                                  And then starts again at 6 p.m.

                                                                                                                                                                  And I'd rather have non-ramen at Tsujita than whatever is being dished up next door at ROC.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                    When did that start? That's the only thing that prevented me from recommending it. If that's true, it's a no brainer. Tsujita for tsukemen and make sure you get the egg Lau.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Chandavkl

                                                                                                                                                                    Depending on when OP comes to down, Tsujita's Annex might be open by then

                                                                                                                                                                    http://la.eater.com/archives/2013/03/...

                                                                                                                                                                    But then again, OP is coming by to hang out with friends soo...

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                                                  Like I said, I dunno, why, but I have a soft spot for Joe's ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                  Take that inner food guy to SGV or Torihei or I-naba or n/naka or for some Indian food or...

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                                                                    i would gladly go to torihei etc, but i dont want to force my friends to drive down to torrance then drive back to west LA (we have to meet someone for their bday later in santa monica) and SGV is out of the question (but i will be eating there the next morning for breakfast on my way out to the desert). And now that you bring it up maybe ill make my uncle's family meet me in torrance on monday instead of the SGV...need to think about that

                                                                                                                                                                    Tsujita might be a good idea, how bad are the waits there? i think ill get there by 830-845pm

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                                                      If you're thinking of going to Tsujita to try their ramen or tsukemen, they're only available at lunchtime (for now).

                                                                                                                                                                      The new Tsujita annex across the street promises to offer night noodles for us carb fiends soon...

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                                                        hmm ok so i guess tsujita wont work...or well i guess is the other dinner food good at tsujita? (never been)

                                                                                                                                                                        this whole thread is making me so down on eating at ROC

                                                                                                                                                                        any other ideas around that area? id prefer japanese or maybe some other asian food. nothing that is going to be a huge pain bc im flying in from NY, driving straight to LA, have dinner then need to stop by a bday party really quickly...so im probably going to be kind of tired

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                                                          What about some teppan-yaki or okono-miyaki at Gottsui http://gottsui-usa.com/ ?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                                                            We were in the area this weekend and just missed the 2pm cutoff for ramen at Tsujita (still have never gotten around to trying it) and we saw the bustling business at ROC. I asked my Lovely Tasting Assistant™ (who is Taiwanese) if she wanted to give it a shot. We looked at the menu and... HOLY FUB™!

                                                                                                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8531...

                                                                                                                                                                            We immediately headed across the street to FuRaiBo for a decidedly more down-to-earth/less FUB™ experience, but alas they were closed.

                                                                                                                                                                            We wound up at Hurry Curry of Tokyo, whose sake marinated fried chicken was outrageously good, and very fairly priced (especially compared with the ridiculously priced/portioned fried chicken at Plan Check FUB™ up the street).

                                                                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                              yah im leaning toward doing some japanese around the area...is the regular food at Tsujita good?

                                                                                                                                                                              And if i showed up at like 830-9 is the wait bad at Tsujita?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                I like the sake fried chicken at HCoT, but it's nothing like (just so lightly coated that it's almost like it not really fried chicken at all) the fried chicken sando at Plan Check, which is delicious in its own right (and for what it's worth they both come in right around - if not exactly at - the same price point) http://www.plancheckbar.com/menu.html

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                  The difference is that for the price, the sake fried chicken curry plate at Hurry Curry of Tokyo is enough to feed two adults (and it's not just rice/salad filler- we were served a very generous portion of juice, crispy, wonderfully seasoned fried chicken), whereas Plan Check's decidedly non-smokey "smokey fried chicken" plate (not talking about the chicken sandwich, which I did not have), is not enough to satisfy even one. If you were to adjust Plan Check's pricing to match quantity, you'd be looking at probably 3x the price, but they're capitalizing on the small plate trend to falsely make the prices appear more attractive. As you may have predicted, this roils my blubber.

                                                                                                                                                                                  And once again, you can look at customer demographics to predict prices. ROC = almost entirely packed with young trendy people (I often wonder how so many unemployed millenials can so consistently feed the ever-climbing meter of the FUBs™) whereas Hurry Curry was a) not nearly as full and b) had a much more diverse demographic of customers.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                    "(I often wonder how so many unemployed millenials can so consistently feed the ever-climbing meter of the FUBs™) "

                                                                                                                                                                                    NYM did a piece on this: http://nymag.com/restaurants/features...

                                                                                                                                                                                    They're eating whole mortgages away, and sometimes spending WICs at farmers markets. It's a wonderful foodie movement.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TonyC

                                                                                                                                                                                      Wow. Truly stunning.

                                                                                                                                                                                      In an unrelated note, after lunch we wandered through some of the nurseries. As we strolled past the edible herbs, we actually overheard some millenials say "what's the flavor profile of that?"

                                                                                                                                                                                      Although fluent, my wife is not a native English speaker and she asked me what that meant. When I told her, she said "So why didn't they just say 'what does it taste like'?" Good question, dear. I wonder when people started talking like food blogs in real life? I suppose for the millenials, who don't know a world without the internet, it was an inevitable force in changing the way they communicate.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                        I love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        "What's the flavor profile ?"

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                          Was out this weekend with my out-of-town sis and met for lunch with her local friends at the new "Mess Hall" on Los Feliz. (It was their choice, as they live in the area).

                                                                                                                                                                                          As the food was served, I heard the wife of the friend say "what's the flavor profile of that?" It's a good thing they were focused on the food because I'm sure my eyes significantly widened (and perhaps a nostril flared) upon hearing it. My sis quietly poked me in the leg upon hearing it herself.

                                                                                                                                                                                          A few observations:

                                                                                                                                                                                          I read an extremely accurate review elsewhere online which basically said that Mess Hall's menu is a mashup of every single popular food trend of recent time. That was indeed the case. Pork belly, burgers, hatch chiles, etc. They're all there.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Additionally, the server threw out virtually every trendy foodie buzzword as she introduced the "restaurant concept" to us (local, sustainable, organic, buzzword buzzword). My sis was quite turned off by this- apparently they don't do that where she's from in Brooklyn (or maybe she just doesn't go to the right Brooklyn restaurants).

                                                                                                                                                                                          When I called out the server about the "local" Hatch chiles, she had to backpedal on the bullshit... "Well, not everything is local..." Small victory for those of us trying to keep things down to earth :)

                                                                                                                                                                                          I might have felt bad for her for having to spew this nonsense had she not been so insincere in virtually every aspect of her service. i.e. "How's everything? Good?" (walk away without waiting for an answer)

                                                                                                                                                                                          However, the food was actually prepared quite well, so even if the marketing image, "restaurant concept", and service were downright douchey, at least they got the most important element right. Portions were good, and prices were not too bad for being a card-carrying member of the FUB™.

                                                                                                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8531...

                                                                                                                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree with your Messhall review, except I wasn't bothered by any of the hipsterness at all. I mean, it IS in Los Feliz...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                                              >> I mean, it IS in Los Feliz...

                                                                                                                                                                                              That's true... I guess that's a little like going into your grandma's house and complaining about the mothballs.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                bingo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Gotta put on our fedora hat and turn that black keys soundtrack up to 11 whenever you head to Silverlake/Los Feliz.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Gosh, and there I was with my New Hampshire Farm Museum baseball style cap and KRTH 2 oldies playing the last visits to Cafe Stella, Fred 62 and Sqirl Cafe - and yet somehow I enjoyed my food and had good service. That is a puzzlement!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                    For me, it's tough to smile and nod when someone is obviously peddling ridiculous nonsense, particularly if it's being conveyed in an authoritative manner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Around the wrong kind of people, calling these things out it's a character flaw. Around the right kind, it's a strength. What can you do except be honest about the person who you are, and let the chips fall where they may? We all can't get along with everyone on the playground.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    For me, it gets in the way of my enjoyment of the meal, the same way a buzzing fly or someone poking me in the eyeballs would. Apparently for you, it's not the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Vive la difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                      so to keep it slightly chow-iwsh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wjhat did you like to eat at Mess Hall ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Apparently for you, it's not the same. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've always been a function over form guy. That will never change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Function over form means you like great food even if it's served in a dump with crummy service, correct ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          If so, I agree too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The great food takes precedence for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Right. C rating, hats, no hats, psycho-restaurant babble, no babble, millennial customers, AARP clientele, whatever...it's all meaningless distraction from the main event.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree with that sentiment 110% but you already knew that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              In fact, usually I prefer dumpy, decrepit, and perhaps even dystopian atmospheres, if it means it will be more casual.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                First of all, I know you're not making this argument, since anyone who's read my posts over the last decade knows that I'm one who frequents mostly dumpy and decrepit type places. I also describe myself as a function over form guy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                But let's say you can get two equally spectacular plates of food at two different restaurants. One restaurant provides an ideal experience, while the other has an unfixable high pitched, ear piercing whine from the air conditioning unit. All things being equal, are you really going to say the annoying factor doesn't affect your experience because the food is just as good?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The fact is, sometimes you can't separate the form from (environment) the function (food), and each person must decide for themselves what their level of tolerance is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                To answer Kevin's question, we had the "local" Hatch chile omelet w/ fried potatoes. Both were terrific-- the omelet was moist and fluffy, the hatch chiles and cheese generous and flavorful, the potatoes charred (though not overly so) and crispy. The burger was your new wave L.A. FancyGrade™ style burger. Not on the level of Golden State, Umami or Father's Office, but awfully good. Burger came with some very good fries. I believe the burger was $14 and the omelet was $12. All in all, not too bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm saying I don't let meaningless crap get in the way of enjoying the food. If I like the food I'm going to go back again. Hat wearing, so called hippsters and lack of signage will not deter me. YMMV

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yup. The point is, it's not up to you to decide what I find annoying or "meaningless" (and vice versa.) It's not a straight "function over form" argument as you've laid it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just doing my utmost to live by the Chowhound manifesto...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ergo, it's all about the food and the rest is meaningless distraction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Or, meaningful distraction. It's up to the eater to decide.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If it's not consumable it's meaningless

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I still go to the places that end up giving me a headache so bad that tears run down my face...so if that's not a commitment to the food I don't know what is...and now I have a work around plan that involves 4 advil 20 minutes before arrival and ear plugs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  By your personal standard it's meaningless. By mine, it is not. We are both equally correct.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Care to explain how what folks are wearing on their heads, or what year they were born, or if the restaurant doesn't have a sign with it's name on it, can in any way shape for form affect the taste of the food?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And if you think your personal standard is "equally" correct for finding delicious food, while you put up completely arbitrary barriers to trying that food, I have a lovely bridge to sell you in Brooklyn...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Says the one who can't stand Animal due to it's lack of signage ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I never said I couldn't stand Animal. I said that among the FUB™s of Los Angeles, making a conscious decision to not display a sign conveys a particular message of elitism and exclusivity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In Animal's case, it turns out it was not a conscious decision to manufacture false sense of exclusivity. It was a result of not having the money when they originally opened, and then never getting around to doing it. I respect that choice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But the fact remains that without that context, it does stink a little of douchebaggery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree with you.;

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And I'd rather have great food with great servie rather than that same food in a loud, obnoxious, annoying, ear-splitting environment with horrible service.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  that about sums it up for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Read through this entire sub-sub-sub-sub thread, and I still can't figure out how a review of Mess Hall ended up in a post about ROC Star Dumpling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I suppose there's thread drift, and then there is this, which is I suppose "thread tectonic shift"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's been happening a lot. Kind of a "stream of consciousness" movement on our board, as I see it...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i think all of us our guilty of it! although ROC to mess hall is a big jump haha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mr. T's review deserved its own post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It was so detailed and well-thought out (whether you agree with it or not) that it was anything but Faulkner-ish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the problem with your annoyance is you don't take any personal responsibility for it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                to wit:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                you look at the menu, and see prices that annoy you.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                you look at the clientele, and you see hats that annoy you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                yet, you sit down, order, eat and pay. and are annoyed.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                now, really, whose fault is that?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sure, it was my choice to go. But my decision wasn't about eating in Silverlake. My decision was about whether or not I wanted to spend time with my sister (whose friend chose the restaurant). My sister lives on the other side of the continent, and is averaging a visit to LA once every 5 years, so I sucked it up and went despite my aversion to the tiny-fedora weating, "ironic" moustachioed crowd :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i have no idea what an "ironic" moustache is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And you're better off for not knowing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        maybe you could do the class a solid and explain what an "ironic" moustache is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            like many urban dictionary definitions, semi amusing nonsense. how one can tell a moustache is "ironic" without talking to the person sporting it is beyond me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            this is like geraldo lambasting anyone with the temerity to wear a hooded sweatshirt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            makes me sad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              When you see a 20-something in jeans and a beanie in Williamsburg wearing a waxed handlebar mustache, it's a pretty safe bet it's not in earnest, (compared to, say, a 70 year old magic enuthusiast from Waco, Texas).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: will47

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i'm sorry, i don't know what you mean. why would you assume the person doesn't like wearing a beanie and having a waxed handlebar mustache?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i'm not sure i've met anyone who dresses, on purpose, in a way they don't like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Gotta put on our fedora hat and turn that black keys soundtrack up to 11 whenever you head to Silverlake/Los Feliz."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    oh bullshit. i'm an old, fat fucking loser, and i'm not bothered by what anybody's wearing or what they're listening to when i go to a restaurant, whether it's in los feliz, silverlake, williamsburg or gay paris.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    as long as the food's good, i can't imagine how the clientele, as long as they're behaved, could affect my dining experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Linus, there's a zen-like quality to what you're describing (and how you're describing it) and I sincerely hope one day I'm as cool a fat fucking loser as you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mr. t, i'm as far from cool as it gets. however, i suggest a good start might be ignoring the hats and the facial hair and concentrating on the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        if i go to a place and they're all dressed like dick cheney, i can still manage to enjoy my meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        All I'm saying is if you're in Los Feliz you gotta expect the hipsterness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Doesn't bother me one bit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Again, if I'm looking for true fried chicken I just wouldn't consider what HCoT serves as one of my options. But that said, I've had both their appetizer version and their fried chicken curry version at least 15 times. It's good. It just isn't fried chicken the way that I think of the dish. The sandwich at Plan Check is really good. I'll admit it's not huge, but it is pretty filling in the way that breaded fried chicken tends to be. And you have to remember how long HCoT has been in that location. Their lease costs are probably a 5th of what PC pays. I think that PC actually has pretty fair pricing for the quality that they put out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              As to clientele and their hats (or lack of same) or hair color, or lack of same or what have you (signs, no signs et at.). That makes about as much difference to me as any of the other non factors that are routinely brought up on this board that have absolutely nothing to do with the food that is produced at any of these places.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was just so disappointed with Plan Check's fried chicken, for reasons other than price. My expectations were admittedly off (due to their deceptive description) and the high price just sealed the deal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Here was my thought process. Fried chicken is cheap. So what do you do to add value? You smoke the chicken! That's what I was expecting-- something innovative for the price, that I couldn't do easily at home. When I found the smokiness came from what was likely the addition of liquid smoke to a dipping sauce, I lost all interest in the thing. I felt cheated. The high price and small portion was the nail in the coffin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Again, none of this is a slight against the flavor or execution of the chicken, which was good. I'd happily eat it again (albeit with adjusted expectations) if they sold it at half the price (or doubled the quantity).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Additionally, Plan Check could show their quality by renaming the dish "Jidori Fried Chicken with Smokey Sauce"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My reading of their menu told me that they use a smoking technique on the milk that is used in the batter that is applied to the chicken. Nothing about smoking the chicken or using liquid smoke. I was listening to someone ask one of the waiters about what they do and I believe he was telling them that use smoke from wood chips to impart the smokey flavor to the milk, and then the milk is used in the batter. My hearing isn't what it was before I trashed it in the '60's, so I may have not gotten this right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Perhaps my standard is unrealistic. Think about how wonderful a fried chicken would be with the intensity of smoke found in Sichuanese cold smoked chicken, where the smoke is literally down to the bone. Or the deep, intense smokiness of a real Quanjude roast duck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    By comparison, there was nary a whisper of "smoke" in Plan Check's bird. Totally disappointing, *especially* considering the very high FUB™ price.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "There was nary a whisper of "smoke" in Plan Check's bird."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Seeing the photos of Beijing totally obscured by smog/smoke I'll forgo the pleasure of being choked to death by atmospheric detritus and put up with less "smokey" chicken at Plan Check.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yunnan Garden on Las Tunas is closer and less polluted than Beijing. Go there and get the cold smoked chicken from the cold dish case. Then come back and tell me whether you think Plan Check's bird is smokey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've had smoked chicken and it can be too much of a good thing (for my taste) when it comes to chicken. It seems to absorb the smoke to a degree that is too much for my liking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I could agree to a happy medium between the non-smokeyness of Plan Check and the intense smokiness of Yunnan Garden.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            (And that happy medium would include a compromise on price as well.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I really don't think the $10 that PC charges for their chicken sando "smokiness" flavor or no, is out of whack with the quality and overall pleasure I got from eating it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              SOUTHERN FRY 10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              smokey fried jidori chicken, spicy green pimento cheese, duck breast ham, pickles

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Again, I'm talking about the plate, not the sandwich.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                SMOKEY FRIED CHICKEN 13
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                jidori chicken, smoked milk gravy, yam preserves, spicy pickled okra

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        is there still "intense smokiness of a real Quanjude roast duck" around town ? Hopefully the answer is a resounding Yes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No, there isn't. I was referring to my visit to the Qianmen Quanjude in June 2006. Even in Beijing, getting a deeply smoked bird is not such a common thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        well that's weak. I thought it was done the same way Sheldon did it for top chef, actually smoking the chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It may be weak in terms of the technique they are using to impart the smokey taste, but I thought the sando was strong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The sandwich in question is good and for one or maybe twice I'm with you on this one that it is pretty tasty. And there is a lot going on in there with the spread, the duck breast ham, and the pickles. And even though the portion sizes here seem to be small, they are still very filling to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But you are essentially dropping 20 bucks per for a fried chicken patty sandwich or a gourmet burger and a soda with the tax and tip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            One day I only had the pastrami fries and it was tiny but deceptively filling. I had it as a very early, very light lunch and I was not hungry again until very late that evening.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I will say that this joint does not really feel as fucking up market as other joints around town. (I won't name names, no need to start another cyber bar).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "I won't name names, no need to start another cyber bar"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Or be a "Cyber Bore" for that matter...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, no one said it wold be exciting or entertaining.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. A somewhat differing viewpoint here about ROC. I'm apparently not nearly as discriminating, or likely knowledgeable/experienced, about XLB and other offerings at ROC (and I've not made the SGV trek to sample them where they should be tried) as most other posters on this thread; but, living, as I do, only about a mile west of Sawtelle, I am very happy that ROC is there. Four of us had dinner there last week and enjoyed every aspect of the meal. Yes, the pork XLB were much better, flavor-wise, than the crab/chicken. We also enjoyed the scallion pancakes, the fried dumpling w/ shrimp and pork, the fried rice w/ crab, the glass noodles with crab, and the kale. The staff was very pleasant. Just wish they had beer and wine already. Having lived the first 20 years of adulthood in San Francisco, followed by an 11-year exile to southern Illinois/St. Louis, I very much appreciate all the offerings of the nearby Sawtelle strip, including ROC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Wayno

                                                                                                                                                                                                  i have to say i like it too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  But what people are getting at is if you hit up the traditional joints in the SGV you won't like ROC very much most likely.