Restaurants & Bars

Los Angeles Area

Cafe Luna, Cafe Brasil, Sanamluang - three reviews

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Restaurants & Bars

Cafe Luna, Cafe Brasil, Sanamluang - three reviews

Jennifer W. | Nov 18, 2002 06:10 PM

Had a busy, eating-out weekend! Hit Cafe Luna, Cafe Brasil and Sanamluang all for dinner this past weekend and here's my take:

The only reason I go--or anyone should go, for that matter--to Cafe Luna (on Melrose) is because it's open late. My friends and I were famished after watching a play. It was 10:30 and not much open in that neck of the woods (didn't feel like hot dogs at Pink's) so we ventured into Cafe Luna and of course had ugh food. Terribly boring penne bolognese (sauce was not rich or meaty at all; tasted like it came straight from a jar), a bland roasted, sauceless gnocci (should have noticed sauceless would mean dry) and the jambalaya risotto looked and tasted more like rice in soup than risotto. The antipasto plate was the only acceptable dish but really, there's no cooking involved--it's just cured meats, buffalo mozarella and jarred roasted red peppers and olives. At the moment, Cafe Luna's kitchen is under renovation, so their menu is extremely limited. Only pastas and a handful of wraps and salads available. Still, I don't expect the food will get better after the remodeling is complete.

Next night the bf and I went to Cafe Brasil in Palms. Been there once before for a friend's birthday and once again really enjoyed my food. I had the feiojada--pork stew with black beans that's only available on weekends. The beans were muy tasty, especially on top of the rice, and the pork was so tender! Didn't need a knife at all. But, the taste of the stew was not much richer than the bowl of beans my bf had. Probably cooked together? He also got the steak ranchera. A fatty flank steak grilled and topped with some concoction of onions and tomatoes. Maybe because of the perfectly crisp, sugary fried plantains by its side but the steak had a banana-ey taste to it. Made the meat "tropical", in a good way. Topped it off with a cool, frothy, refreshing passion fruit juice and the delectable apple tart. Unlike last time when the apple tart was TOO burnt, this time it was caramelized to perfection. Gobbled up in a few quick bites. Sitting outside on a nice night, on the wrought iron benches plopped up next to huge pillows, eating by candlelight, the cars on Venice Blvd whizzing by masked by potted palms... now that's what I call a good dinner!

My first time to Sanamluang (on Hollywood in Thai Town) on Sunday and we left disappointed. I've seen mixed reviews on this board. Some love it, other are ambivalent. My family falls in the latter. Being a soup noodle family, and being swayed by their slogan that they have the best noodles in town, we ordered roasted duck noodle soup, yen-ta-fo (thai hot & sour noodle soup), spicy beef stew noodle soup, and pad kee mow with pork. The duck noodle soup was very good. Broth was rich (musta poured a lot of duck jus into it!) and garlicky. Yen-Ta-Fo broth was nothing more than just red vinegar. Spicy beef noodle? Not spicy, and beef was very overcooked. It came in clumps, like they threw into the bowl a big ball of raw beef and forgot to shake it out. The Pad Kee Mow wasn't bad though. Nice heat. Will I be back? Um, probably not for a while. Many other Thai places to try out first.

A pet peeve of mine: I know that bean sprouts are a pain to clean (that was my chore as a kid), but could noodle places *please* remove the stringy ends? They can be downright nasty when the sprouts are old.

That was my food-eating weekend... Thanks for reading. :)

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