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

Scarfing Down Spicy Mudbugs

Reporting on yet another Vietnamese-Cajun restaurant in OC (indie pub Squeeze OC has a story on the trend), MeowMixx says the little critters at Rockin’ Crawfish indeed rock.

The standard order is: seafood (crawfish, of course, or Dungeness crab or head-on shrimp, all very fresh) in a spicy boil with corn on the cob. The crawfish in particular are extra large and extra tasty. Unfortunately, the Cajun spices seem to be mostly garlic, even the “spicy” orders. And while oysters are good, MeowMixx’s group got a bunch of dud clams. Oysters are $13/dozen; clams $9/dozen; crawfish $7/pound; Dungeness crab $11/pound. Four people can eat well for $100.

Cajun Corner makes it nice and spicy, but their crawfish isn’t always the freshest.

Boiling Crab is usually a good spot, but their crawfish have been on the small side lately. Now that they’re about to be in season again that will hopefully change, says “Hershey Bomar”.

The Squeeze story also mentioned Cafe Artist and Artist Restaurant as having spicy seafood boils.

Rockin’ Crawfish [Little Saigon]
9211 Bolsa Ave. Suite 120, Westminster

Boiling Crab [Little Saigon]
14241 Euclid St. #C-116, Garden Grove

Boiling Crab Saigon]
13892 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove

Cajun Corner [Little Saigon]
15430 Brookhurst St., Westminster

Cafe Artist [Little Saigon]
14281 Brookhurst St., Suite A, Garden Grove


Artist Seafood [Little Saigon]
7402 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach

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Rockin’ Crawfish–oh, yeah

Porridge to the Max

Get top-notch Korean porridge at Bonjuk, says rameniac, who experienced their juk recently for lunch.

The quality of the rice and other ingredients make this place stand out. There’s a mind-boggling selection–we’re not talking about Quaker Oats here. Most are savory porridges filled with generous chunks of abalone and mushroom; or octopus and kimchi, surprisingly delicious; or beef and mushroom. You get a few kinds of kimchi, including water kimchi, with each bowl, and some salty shredded beef.

Make sure to get the Korean plum juice for dessert–flavorful and unusual.

Premium porridge ain’t cheap, however. The least expensive bowl is $8, the most expensive $30–that’s the special abalone, as distinct from the regular abalone, which is a mere $16.

Parking note: Go ahead and park in the “medical plaza” lot behind the building. The restaurant validates.

A completely different school of juk is at San, a beloved dive where the rice porridge is thick and spartan, the abalone’s authenticity a little shady, and you get a (raw) egg to break into the whole thing.

Bonjuk [Koreatown]
3551 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles

San/Mountain Cafe [Koreatown]
3064 W. 8th St., Los Angeles 90005

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Oh so genteel porridge

A Chicken in Every Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie at Daily Grill is one of the best around. Wonderfully flaky crust, plenty of white meat, some veg and a rich, rich gravy. They also do a damn good lobster pot pie, with big hunks of lobster in bechamel sauce. Chicken pot pie is $16; lobster is about $19. Look for their promotional fliers, which offer good deals on these dishes.

Henry Moffett’s is a chicken pie place, but the dine-in experience really isn’t worth it. Get a pie to go–they’ve got very tasty chicken, nice gravy and a good, firm crust. The food served at table, on the other hand, seems like it’s been sitting around waiting for a sucker like you. Mashed potatoes are a tiny cloud of starch, and bread a tasteless cottony puff. Biscuits, on the other hand, are top-notch–you can get those to go, too. Chicken pie is about $5.

Clementine, a great spot for baked goods and homestyle take-home entrees for the kitchen-averse gourmet, also offers a chicken pot pie for $9.

Daily Grill [Multiple locations]

Henry Moffetts LA-ish]
16506 Lakewood Blvd., Bellflower

Clementine [Century City]
1751 Ensley Ave., Los Angeles

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Chicken pie challenge
Opinions on lobster pot pie
Lobster pot pie report

Nibbles and Sips and Sips and Sips

Tasca just got its beer and wine license, so they’re pouring as well as serving up tasty tapas, says can’t talk… eating.

There are small plates and larger ones, nothing cutting-edge, just tasty food like potatoes with linguica, duck and polenta, and grilled scallops.

It’s a laid-back place, pretty much the antithesis of loud, cramped Cobras & Matadors. Two people can dine for about $40 before tax and tip.

Tasca [Fairfax Village]
8108 W. Third St., Los Angeles

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Legal at last
Loving Tasca

The South Bay’s Nishimura

Tucked away in South Bay, Sushi Ken is on par with the likes of Nishimura and Mori, says ToroTaku, but much cheaper.

Sushi is traditional and they don’t do rolls, but the owner, who’s the sole chef, is no nazi. You can’t get a California roll, but feel free to ask for more (or less) wasabi. Nigiri is just the right size for the rice.

The clientele is mostly Japanese, being in Torrance, and the decor is new and very clean–a wooden counter and black-and-marble tables. Rather brightly lit, though.

Omakase runs $60-75.

Sushi Ken [South Bay]
22831 Hawthorne Blvd. # Bi, Torrance

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Outstanding sushi joint

Royale Burger Is a Real Showstopper

You’ll find a grand item of slow-food/fast-food at B&R, says kevin: the Royale burger. It’s like a Fatburger in heaven. We’re talking two half-pound burgers of well-seasoned beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, house-made beef chili, a fried egg, relish, other condiments, and a few slices of bacon (or is that pastrami?). You’ll need a knife and fork.

The menu’s motto is, “Our fresh meat and produce purchased daily.”

It’s an excellent burger for just $5.

B & R Old Fashion Burgers [South Bay]
3512 W. Rosecrans Ave., Hawthorne

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B&R’s burgers the old fashioned way

Howzabout a Fish Taco Face-Off?

Determined to pit the kings of the fish taco against each other, Das Ubergeek arranged a face-off between Tacos Baja Ensenada and El Taco Nazo.

The fish in tacos from both places was a bit dry (but they’d traveled a bit to the face-off), but Tacos Baja Ensenada came out the winner. TBE’s cabbage was shredded more finely, and the crema was fresher. TBE’s fried hot peppers also have a tangier seasoning.

El Taco Nazo, though, takes the crown for shrimp tacos. Shrimp are juicy and wonderful, fried in a tempura-like batter. Salsa is good (better than the crema), but all it really needs is a hit of lime.

Tacos Baja Ensenada [East LA-ish]
5385 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles

El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
121 S. Beach Blvd., La Habra

El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
9611 Garvey Ave. # 105, El Monte


El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
13032 Valley Blvd., La Puente

El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
163 N. Azusa Ave., Azusa


El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
14676 Pipeline Ave., Chino Hills

El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
5250 Philadelphia St. # P, Chino

El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
635 E. Bonita Ave., San Dimas

El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
1620 W. Foothill Blvd., Upland

El Taco Nazo [South OC]
701 S. Weir Canyon Rd., Anaheim


El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
320 E. Foothill Blvd., Pomona


El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
18013 Valley Blvd., City Of Industry


El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
356 S. Glendora Ave., West Covina


El Taco Nazo [Inland of LA]
14343 Ramona Blvd., Baldwin Park


El Taco Nazo [East LA-ish]
13128 Telegraph Rd. # A, Santa Fe Springs


El Taco Nazo [East LA-ish]
8713 Washington Blvd., Pico Rivera

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El Taco Nazo vs. Tacos Baja Ensenada

Someone (New) Is in the Kitchen at Samosa House

The aunties have “retired” and there’s new blood in the kitchen at Samosa House. (Some of you may know Samosa House as the restaurant addition to Bharat Bazaar.) “What were formerly delicious samosas only available with a whisper and wink toward under the counter have actually now gotten even better–they are now literally made to order. Only in India or my own kitchen have I tasted samosas so fresh!” says aliris.

They serve great jackfruit, and occasionally, outstanding lily root, says westsidegal.

Meanwhile, Asian Kitchen has changed hands and is now Mayurama–still a South Asian restaurant.

Samosa House [West LA]
formerly Bharat Bazaar
11938 West Washington Blvd, Los Angeles

Mayurama [Culver City-ish]
formerly Asian Kitchen
10406 Venice Blvd., Culver City

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Samosa House serving up lily root
Asian Kitchen becomes Mayurma

Middle Eastern Flatbreads Bursting with Flavor

Word has it that the best, most flavorful lahmajoun–a ground-lamb-topped Middle Eastern flatbread–are at Partamian’s bakery. Partamian’s also sells bourek (turnovers) and manti (meat-filled ravioli).

The mom-and-pop vibe at Arax is part of its appeal–and so are their herbaceous maenesh, boureks (the bready type, not the filo-like crispy type) and lahmajoun, says modernist.

Arax has the edge in lahmajoun, but Sasoun has better bourek, says Normal Garciaparra.

Koko’s Bakery is a solid place for lahmajoun.

And modernist got a mysterious tip that a place in St. Vincent Court downtown has amazing lahmajoun.

Abraham Partamian Armenian Bakery [South LA]
5410 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles

Arax Bakery [East Hollywood]
4871 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles

Sasoun Bakery [East Hollywood]
5114 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles

Sasoun Bakery [East San Fernando Valley]
625 E. Colorado Blvd., Glendale

Koko’s Bakery [Pasadena-ish]
1674 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena

St. Vincent Court [Downtown]
Alley between Broadway and Hill, and 6th and 7th Sts., Los Angeles

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Where to get lahmajoun?
Where to get Syrian pizza?

On a Big Sugar High

The latest cupcakerie to pop up is Big Sugar Bakeshop. They have a massive variety of treats, and their cupcakes are way more affordable than the competition’s cupcakes (i.e., Leda’s).

Maxmillion goes for their hummingbird, coconut and mocha cupcakes. There are also small bites like fudge squares and peanut butter buckeyes, and cake whole or by the slice.

Cupcakes are $1.50-$2 apiece. Cookies are $1. Check the Big Sugar blog for daily specials.

Big Sugar Bakeshop Fernando Valley]
12182 Ventura Blvd, Studio City

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More cupcakes in Studio City.