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Restaurant recommendations, new openings, and highlights from the LA Chowhound community.

A Sandwich Oasis in the South Bay

Eschbach is a sort of trad-Euro oasis in an area where it’s a lot easier to get loco moco or okonomiyaki than a good deli sandwich.

The roast beef sandwich comes with a generous portion of meat, a good cheese slice, nice ’n’ fresh tomato, pickle, and lettuce on a Giuliano’s roll—all for $3.75, says DiveFan.

Liverwurst is extremely creamy, and a sandwich is just $2.98, adds Foodandwine. Good pickle, too.

Smoked pork chops and homemade German sausages to cook at home also are great here. Mr Grub is particularly fond of the weisswurst and says all the sausages are better and cheaper than elsewhere.

And Clinton has got to have the last word on this place:

“I brought a wild hog I shot while hunting a while back and had Eschbach smoke the two hams and make spicy sausages with some of the shoulder meat. They did a great job smoking the meat and the sausages were outstanding!”

Er, nuff said.

Eschbach Meat Products [South Bay]
18045 S. Western Avenue, Gardena

Board Link: Unexpected S.B. sandwich find–Eschbach’s

What, No More Brass Cupids?!

This is your last week to check out the distinctively Bavarian outrageousness of Lowenbrou Keller, which closes at the end of the month after being sold. OK, the décor may be more of an attraction than the German fare, which gets mixed reviews. But how many places look like “Liberace and a German Dominatrix did a pile of blow and then decided to decorate” (rednyellow)?

Lowenbrou Keller [Silver Lake]
3211 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles

Board Link: Lowenbrou Keller Closing!

Down to the Hoof

Heads up, goat-meat-lovers: Koreatown’s Goat House has what you want. There’s goat skin salad, tossed with wild sesame leaves, sesame oil, and chile. There’s goat’s liver, grilled, or, as the real connoisseurs eat it, raw. And there’s goat meat, steamed or stewed.

Steamed goat ribs, carved tableside, have plenty of meat. Just sprinkle on some coarse salt and dip in one of the sauces that come with—pure essence of goat, says modernist.

If you’re both adventurous and lucky, you’ll hit the restaurant on the day it gets its meat delivered; it’s freshly butchered, not frozen. Goat House will have fresh raw goat liver by the slab. Says Mr. Bokum, “Each large mouth-filling bite had a smooth, rich almost creamy texture which only in the final chew surrendered its livery funk. The combination of cool slipperiness and Soju was perfection. This is a special plate of food—completely different and oddly luxurious.”

On other days, you can get goat liver marinated and grilled, topped with chopped scallions, or boiled, which has a powdery texture that may not please everyone.

Goat foot comes complete with gelatinous tendon in a sweetish chile’d sauce. You’ll be given plastic gloves to handle it (each piece is about six inches long), but this is some slippery stuff.

For a sampling of what’s on offer, the restaurant does five different goat specials for brunch, 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Goat House [Koreatown]
3732 W. Sixth Street, Los Angeles

Board Links: goat madness at goat house in ktown
Ktown goat: Thx Modernist

My Big Fat Gyro Sandwich

LA isn’t as well known for Greek food as, say, Chicago, but you can find a good gyro here. Firehouse Greek adds a little twist to its version: After shaving the meat from the spit, they crisp it on the griddle for a bit of crunch, says trojans. “Then when you get it you bite into a garlicky, garlicky delicious tsatsiki sauce that makes the whole sandwich scream hallelujah.” They also make a delish lamb souvlaki (kebab), notes debra.

When it comes to Greek, the great standby is Papa Cristo’s. A bit more expensive than days of yore, but still damn good.

kek is khmer disagrees, saying Papa C’s food is oily and salty. kek prefers George’s Greek, where salad is included with your meal.

The Mad Greek, an oasis on the long, dry trip to Vegas that’s a favorite of estone888, also has a branch in Stanton.

And SecretAsianMan puts in an enthusiastic vote for Mediterranean Delight in Glendale and its fantastic gyros.

Firehouse Greek [West San Fernando Valley]
18450 Victory Boulevard, Tarzana

Papa Cristo’s [Midtown]
2771 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles

George’s Greek Café [Long Beach]
318 Pine Avenue, Long Beach

George’s Greek Café [Belmont Shore]
5316 E. Second Street, Long Beach

George’s Greek Café [Downtown LA]
735 S. Figueroa Street Unit 131, Los Angeles

Mad Greek Restaurant [Orange County]
12120 Beach Boulevard, Stanton

Mediterranean Delight [Eastside]
126 S. Brand Boulevard, Glendale

Board Links: Good Gyros in LA?
Firehouse Greek – Reseda

Manna From Hawaii

Shakas Hawaiian can cure that craving for bacon fried rice, says Bon Vivant. And how.

This stuff is sublime, packed with bacon, Portuguese sausage, and slivers of fish cake. The fish cake makes it cool. The bacon fat makes it awesome.

Kalua pig is great, served with steamed cabbage that might also be slightly pickled and that goes really well with the pork.

Also delish: spam musubi, teriyaki steak. Macaroni salad is a minimalist version, not runny or gooey, with a hint of grated onion. Avoid the dry, wan teriyaki chicken unless you’re repenting for something.

Shakas Hawaiian Flavors [San Gabriel Valley]
101 W. Main Street #C, Alhambra

Shakas Hawaiian Flavors [San Gabriel Valley]
2300 Garfield Avenue #D, Monterey Park

Board Link: REVIEW (w/foodie flix and pix!) Shaka’s Hawaiian Cuisine

Neapolitan Flava in the SGV

The newly opened Bollini’s may be the best place in LA for true Neapolitan pizza, says Jeryy.

“It’s not a restaurant, not a date spot, it would even be an insult to formica. In the hallowed tradition of the East Coast, it’s a pizzeria. To me it’s a cathedral.”

Let’s get one thing clear: Neapolitan pizza is not New York pizza, and it certainly ain’t no California Pizza Kitchen. With a cracker-thin crust and a scattering of toppings, it’s more of a snack than a meal.

Bollini’s uses a wood-fired oven to turn out a chewy, smoky, splendidly crispy crust. As for the toppings, there are two extremes: The purist white pizza is bursting with flavor, while JeetJet prefers the regular cheese.

There are also specialty pizzas, including a steak pizza with homemade horseradish sauce. Did you cringe over the horseradish sauce? So did Jeryy, but it was love at first bite, he says. The horseradish sauce has a touch of Parmesan and adds a bit of sharpness, but nothing jarring. Fontina cheese actually works better than mozzarella, and the fennel sausage is specially made for the restaurant at a place in Vernon. JeetJet finds the sausage too much like hot dog, though.

Chef-owner Christiano Bollini is a local boy who apprenticed with Celestino Drago and did time in Italy (learning about regional cuisines, that is). Make sure to try his wild mushroom fettuccine with chicken, laced with truffle oil and garlic. It may be the best $10 entrée in the city. Salads are really good too, and portions generous.

A 12-inch pie is $8, and toppings are 50 cents—no, that’s not a typo. As noted, though, the pies are not all that filling. Other dishes run about $10.

Over the next few weeks, the restaurant is having tasting nights to try out specials to add to the menu.

Bollini’s Pizzeria Napolitana [San Gabriel Valley]
2315 S. Garfield Avenue, Monterey Park

Board Link: Now Open- Bollini’s–The Best Pizza in L.A.

Getting Schooled on Boba

If you’ve been frequenting the likes of Lollicup or Shau Mei or Tea Station for boba, chances are you’ve either forgotten what real boba tea should taste like, or you’ve never had it in the first place, says ipsedixit.

Thankfully, Tenju Tea House is here to show you the way. “Boba is NOT supposed to be tooth-achingly sweet,” says ipsedixit. “You should be able to taste tea, yes, tea. And the boba should be soft on the outside, but chewy (not rubbery) in the middle, with just a hint of tapioca. Most commercial, chain boba stores have these balls that are either mushy or distant cousins of jaw-breaker candies. Plus, their boba is made fresh, not scooped up from some bag distributed by the Asian equivalent of Sysco.”

There are plenty of choices of tea, of course—at least 25. The snacks also look and smell good, including popcorn chicken and a hot dog with cucumber.

Meanwhile, over at Boba Time the real find is Korean shave ice on the Westside, announces greengelato. There are three flavors—mixed fruit, mixed fruit deluxe, and mango—and green tea and coffee ice cream, plus generous amounts of toppings including sweet red beans and mochi. The shave ice goes for $5 to $6.

Tenju Tea House [San Gabriel Valley]
5817 Rosemead Boulevard, Temple City

Boba Time [West LA]
Corner of National and Sepulveda boulevards

Board Links: When serendipity knocks, TENJU TEA HOUSE answers
korean shaved ice in the westside!

Kansas City, Here’s Your ‘Cue

After tasting a lot of barbecue in the San Fernando Valley over a period of several months, Steve2 in LA has determined that the ’cue from Kansas City BBQ Company is superior to just about everything else sold by that name in the valley.

Beef and pork ribs are juicy, smoky, and extremely flavorful without the sauce. This ain’t no meat-baked-in-sauce masquerading as barbecue. The flavor comes from a dry rub of paprika, sugar, garlic, black pepper, and spices, plus, of course, smoke. There is a really nice hot-and-sweet sauce, too.

Barbecue beans are amazing: sweet, smoky, and packed with chunks of smoked beef. Sweet potato fries are fab, especially with that barbecue sauce. But potato salad and slaw are nothing special.

Two meat combos with Wonder-type bread and two extra sides run just under $40.

It’s not a destination restaurant, but Joey’s Smokin’ B-B-Q opened recently in Manhattan Beach and Tustin, and it’s surprisingly good, says Nicole, citing the pulled pork and brisket as particularly tasty. Ribs aren’t Joey’s strong suit, and the barbecue sauce is awfully sweet. Avoid the sides, which Xericx describes as “proportioned junk filler instead of being real sides.” OK, it’s not the most authentic ’cue joint ever, but it’s a good option if you’re in the ’hood, and it’s pretty cheap. Burgers are supposed to be worthwhile, too.

Uncle Flip’s is a pretty good option in the area also, with some of the best beef sausage around—juicy and spicy, with a snap in each bite, says Steve2. Try it on a sandwich with some of the tasty sauce and some slaw.

The beans are terrific, too. Sweet, smoky, and meaty, they’re a close second to Kansas City BBQ Company’s. And the chow-chow relish is different and really great. Meatless greens and dirty rice are also good.

Baby back ribs are good, if not spectacular—juicy and flavorful. The pulled pork (that’s Niman Ranch, mind you) is moist and pleasant.

Look out for the Kobe beef sandwich and ribs—they go fast. Lunch here is a steal: A pulled pork sandwich with two sides and a drink is $5 even.

Kansas City BBQ Company [San Fernando Valley]
4141 Lankershim Boulevard, Studio City

Joey’s Smokin’ B-B-Q [South Bay]
3200 N. Sepulveda Boulevard, Manhattan Beach

Joey’s Smokin’ B-B-Q [Orange County]
Tustin Marketplace
2915 El Camino Real, Tustin

Uncle Flip’s Smoke Pit [San Fernando Valley]
4715 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood

Board Links: BBQ in the Valley
is barbeque in the Valley a contradiction in terms?
Uncle Flip’s Smoke Pit in North Hollywood
Joey’s smokin’ bbq in Irvine

Last Chance for Nirvana at Wat Thai

It’s a Chowhound emergency: The weekend food court at Wat Thai, the Thai Buddhist temple in North Hollywood, is slated to close because of neighborhood haters (something about needing to park?). This coming weekend (August 11-12), temple insiders say, will be its last. There’s a petition in the works to keep the food court alive, but this may be your last chance to grab kanom krok, boat noodles, and perhaps the best green papaya salad in LA in the cheery yet laid-back atmosphere of the temple’s parking lot.
Thai chef Jet Tila will be there on Saturday at 10 a.m. doing a segment for local media; he says he’s happy to show people around and answer questions.

Wat Thai Los Angeles [Thai Town North]
12909 Cantara Street, North Hollywood

Board Link: Wat Thai Temple- foodcourt closing?

Like Manna From Maui

Hawaiian shave ice, fluffy as snow, is down to a science at Shave It in Thousand Oaks. There’s one person to take your order, another to shave and shape the ice, and a third to apply the flavored syrup of your choice.

The ice is the perfect consistency, says Diana, calling up blissful memories of Hawaiian vacation.

Basic flavors include litchi, mango, and watermelon; there are sugar-free syrups and seasonal flavors like pumpkin as well. Each additional flavor is about 50 cents more, and you can also add on cream, ice cream, or sour powder. Unfortunately, you’re still in Thousand Oaks—no sweet red beans here. There are combos with a twist, like the root beer float of vanilla ice cream with root beer shave ice.

Shave It [San Fernando Valley]
11 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks

Board Link: Shave It, Thousand Oaks-Review