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Jan 22, 2014 11:02 AM

Best Fusion Restaurants in and around Pasadena

After looking at the Equator Cafes beautiful website I was prepared for great fusion dishes with a serene environment surrounded by Buddhas and the chic edginess their website promised. What I found when I arrived at Equator was a tattered, dingy version of the pics from the website with the ambiance of a grunge club. The food was hit and miss with most of it being a tragic 'miss', and almost all the food seems to be pre made frozen stuff that can be found at Costco. The menu is confusing and overly ambitious, dishes did not match menu descriptions, and servers seemed equally confused on what was in each dish. Service was good, but the kitchen seemed to have trouble getting the dishes out in any kind of reasonable time and I was one of only three tables. I did take a peek at the kitchen, very tiny, messy, but not near the disaster that the ladies room was in.

Is there good fusion cuisine in Pasadena?

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    1. re: Jack Flash

      Drats! What about close to Pasadena, maybe even DTLA?

    2. Equator began as a coffee house. So perhaps the kitchen was never expanded or roomy enough to serve a restaurant?
      The only fusiony thing that leaps to mind is Shiro in South Pas--a sort of Japanese-French fusion but I think it's best days have passed. ;(

      8 Replies
        1. re: Ernie

          Shiro sounds interesting, thanks!

          1. re: Ernie

            I'm in the like Shiro camp.

            It's kind of a sleepy south pass classic.

            order the chinese ravioli and some whole sizzling catfish and you are beyond good to go.

            damn, i wanna go now.

            which other hounds likes this joint ?????????

            1. re: kevin

              I love that combination too. Catfish is amazing and those raviolis so delicious

            2. re: Ernie

              Shiro's has excellent service and very reasonably priced cocktails. Their catfish is disappointing if you enjoy Chinois on Main's version. Spice Table in DTLA was my favorite fusion option that was close to Pasadena but it is now closed. Roy's is a good option and I think stronger than Shiro's, Abricott, and Daisy Mint but I rather drive into the west side for Lukshon or Chinois.

              1. re: foufou

                I find nothing disappointing about Shiro's catfish. It is quite delicious, crisp and very fresh. Chef Hideo Yamashiro is an old pro and has been delivering quality fusion dining since 1987

                Roy's is OK but it has a distinct corporate/chain vibe to it that I do not care for. While I have not had anything bad at a Roy's, I've never had anything truly amazing there either and portions tend to be small for the price

                I have not been to Abricott, but have heard a couple negative reviews from trustworthy sources and haven't been inclined to try it

                1. re: Ernie

                  I like Roy's and their happy hour is decent. I find the sauces used very sugary.

            3. re: mc michael

              That explains a lot! Next time I will bring my lap top and order a cappuccino, the one thing that I had that was really excellent, even though it took 30 minutes for them to make one little cappuccino in a relatively empty restaurant.

              Seriously though, as a coffee house it works, add some spirits to the coffee, and it would really work ;)

              1. re: chrishei

                Daisy Mint and Abricott, both run by the same guy. I don't know if "great" is the exact adjective, but we've had lots more hits than misses, and the misses have been predictable – vegetarian pho, anyone? Daisy Mint is too crowdy for my taste, too damn popular for the room size, but the food's good. Abricott is more laid-back, you order and pay at the counter and are given a number thingy to take to your table, and just about every entree can be made to fit one's dietary preferences. Just … avoid the veggie pho.

                Daisy Mint is on East Colorado a few blocks west of PCC; Abricott is on South Lake, between Cordova and Del Mar, with a back door facing the Shoppers' Lane parking lot – two hours free.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  We got a gift certificate to Abricott and went recently for dinner. This was my third time eating there or getting take out food. I have also been to Daisy Mint when it first opened, but because it is quite small and often crowded, have not been there for a while.

                  Abricott was a miss for us. We went close to 8 pm and the two wait persons were extremely busy - so we got minimal service.
                  We had an order of the sweet and salty fried wings - but this was close to the worst wings I have ever had. The wings were just fried - nicely crispy - but not sauced. There were two very ordinary sauces that came with it. Just dipping the wings which now had little incentive to pick up the sauce was a terrible taste experience. Unless you sauce the wings when they are just hot off the frying pan, I thinks defeats the whole purpose of blending the skin fat, meat, and a tingling sauce. Simply awful!

                  The mains were the pho - just so so - and the yellow curry chicken with potatoes and carrots. I recently made yellow curry at home using fresh turmeric root, galangal, garlic, kaffir lime etc. This is of course the Thai version, and I don't think there is a Vietnamese version. Abricott's yellow curry did not even come close to what I was able to make at home, or versions I have had at Thai restaurants in Pasadena and elsewhere.

                  It will be a while before I go back to Abricott.

                  1. re: suvro

                    I think
                    Abricott is a go for a leisurely lunch kind of place. Stretch out, try different things, have some conversation. Easy. Not a real dinner pick.

                2. re: chrishei

                  +1 on Daisy Mint. Never been to Shiro, but I did very much like Orris on Sawtelle.

                  1. The answer to your question is one of the following:

                    Daisy Mint

                    Go forth! Explore, enjoy.