Xinjiang: a region in northwest China, known for its barbecued lamb and mutton, and whose cuisine is influenced by Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. Thus, lamb skewers with cumin.
The owners of 818 JN Kitchen are friends from Xinjiang, so it’s a good bet the skewers are authentic, says pleasurepalate. Cumin lamb skewers are intense, with slightly dry, slightly chewy tidbits of meat.
There are a whole bunch of odd skewers, all flavored with the same cumin-chile mix, like a salty Chinese sausage skewer, chewy and boldly flavored. Yellow croaker fish is the mildest of all the skewers; more lightly seasoned than the rest, it comes out crispy and delicately flavored.
There’s great nonskewered stuff, too. Beef pancake is “a Pac-Man looking sandwich and one definitely worth chasing and devouring,” says pleasurepalate. It’s basically roast beef with cilantro and green onions, inside toasted sesame bread. Cucumber salad is refreshing, crunchy, and juicy.
This isn’t a fine-quality-meat place, says pleasurepalate. This is about bold seasoning.
818 JN Kitchen [San Gabriel Valley]
818 E. Valley Boulevard, San Gabriel