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Aug 20, 2013 09:31 PM

Moon House -- New Chinese in WLA

Moon House took over the Winchell's and the burger place behind at the east end of the strip mall on the S/E corner of Santa Monica Blvd. at Sepulveda, with the newish Del Taco next door and the Fatburger replacing the Yoshinoya on the west end. Moon House is surprisingly large and very nice, with good lighting and black tables with some booths and some nice chairs. Owner is from Mandarin Kitchen and came by to ask how things were.

And they were good. Dropped in for lunch today. Told my server I liked spicy and he recommended the top dish on the lunch special menu, the Zi Ran Lamb ($7.50). Hot 'n Sour daily soup was mediocre -- needed some hot chili oil (which they have) to spice things up. Lamb dish was very good and a generous serving -- I took home enough for a substantial snack after eating as much as I could. Seemed close to a Mongolian lamb -- thin-sliced meat, green onions, thin strands that i thought were chives but ws told were cilantro stems, in not much sauce. I requested spicy, and with some spoons of the hot chili oil added it was. Lamb was mostly tender, a couple of bites chewy or gristly, but generally high quality. Owner said the flavor I couldn't place was cumin. Good dish.

I'll be back.

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  1. Now you've done it. Stepping all over Chandavkl's territory! (g) Sounds good and in our home orbit. Wish I liked Fatburger and Del Taco better, but you can't have everything. Was there much of a crowd, or are people still finding them?

    Someone over on Yelp said that the owners of Hop Woo are involved. So Hop Woo and Mandarin Kitchen are the same owners then?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      I came in at about 1 for a late lunch, and several other tables were occupied. And a few more parties came in while I was eating. It is a large dining room for a neighborhood Chinese restaurant.

      The more formally dressed guy who came over, sat down across from me (!?), and asked me how I liked things said he recognized me from Mandarin Kitchen -- which I used to frequent much more often than now.

        1. re: PeterCC

          The other good thing about Moon House is that they have one of those Chinese language devices that sends orders back into the kitchen. That, and their upcoming Chinese menu, have me encouraged.

          1. re: Chandavkl

            Channeling kevin for a moment, "Chinese language devices that sends orders back into the kitchen???"

            Pen and paper? Sound waves generated from larynx?

            I am cautiously optimistic that they seem to be improving. My expectations were in line with Ciao Bob's experience on the other thread...

            1. re: PeterCC

              You see those TV touch screen type devices in a lot of the SGV restaurants. Spits out a Chinese language receipt that they bring to your table.

      1. Sounds like it's worth a visit. A few yrs back, that strip mall was such a dump, but it seems like it's picking up nicely....

        1. i went there last week and had the same lamb dish,thought it was great.i felt the same way about the hot and sour soup-i asked for some more vinegar.

          3 Replies
          1. re: yogacat

            Really liked the hot and sour soup I had the other night at Little Hong Kong on Sawtelle...

            1. re: Servorg

              If Moon House does have an association with Mandarin Kitchen, hard to fathom their blah hot and sour soup. Mandarin Kitchen's was usually pretty good, both hot and sour, though on the thin side without too many solid ingredients.

              Best hot and sour soup I've had in SoCal is at Bamboo Forest, a little place on the south side of Burbank just east of Kester. It comes hot (both spicy and temperature) with a sour note, has an appropriate amount of slivered bamboo shoot, black mushroom, egg, etc. and is not overly thickened. Their lunch specials (get the orange chicken, aromatic shrimp, or mongolian beef) come with soup, a small salad, big entree, rice, egg roll and fried wonton for under or over $6 (depending on meat or shrimp).

              I go to Bamboo Forest after golf. Between them, Hu's (like the chinese chicken salad course that comes with the lunch combo), and now Moon House (will definitely try again), Mandarin Kitchen has fallen out of my rotation. Especially since that strip mall has troublesome parking during lunch rush and I often choose a philly cheesesteak at Philly West if I'm there.

              1. re: nosh

                Got pickup, they were able to identify me from my phone number which is the same thing Mandarin Kitchen does and I was in their system. So pretty much the same operators. Prices I think are a $1 more than Mandarin Kitchen. Chow mein and pea sprouts were exactly the same as at Mandarin Kitchen. The lamb dish was interesting - definitely a lot of cumin. They gave complementary cream cheese fried wontons. I don't think I've eaten one of those since a Chinese restaurant in Minneapolis over 15 years ago. Decor is nicer than Mandarin Kitchen, they advertise free wifi, only one Asian customer only when I popped in. The parking lot is definitely better set up than the mall that contains Mandarin Kitchen.

          2. They do have a web site with some discount coupons on it, And good news is that they serve till 1am 7 days a week.

            1 Reply
            1. re: wienermobile

              In their window, they have a lobster dish or a steamed chicken dish for $2.99 with a $30 purchase. On their takeout menu (which they did a mass mailing in the vicinity) there is a percentage off offer -- don't know whether a lunch special would disqualify.

              Relatively big place, very nicely appointed. At least two or three servers, a girl at the desk, the well-dressed guy circling, to say nothing of kitchen staff, when I was there on a Tuesday. I'm sure hoping I find new dishes I like.

              They offer some standard menu dim sum items, shu mai and the like, starting at $3.50 I think. Have no idea if these are from frozen or house made. If they could do some actually good dim sum, on weekend mornings when that otherwise crowded strip mall would be fairly deserted, they could hit a westside jackpot.

              1. re: PeterCC

                Is that #18 (pork bellies) on the menu? I was going to ask if someone would try it but, after seeing the picture, I'm not so sure. Judging by the menu, I thought the dish was similar to one of my favorite Thai dishes, cha po.

                1. re: mucho gordo

                  Despite the name, It is definitely not pork belly, a.k.a. samgyeopsal, a.k.a. un-cured/smoked bacon. It is in fact pork stomach.

                2. re: PeterCC

                  You've seen the Hop Woo Secret Menu, right?


                  The Secret Menu applies to the Broadway location AND the West LA location as well.

                  1. re: PeterCC

                    Did you "Chinese awful on the Westside"?

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Shh, that was supposed to be subliminal...

                      And I think you a word.