I dont habitually read the Manhattan board, but in todays HotPosts I happened across a very cool post entitled "Anomaly Alert: Excellent Hole in the Wall Kosher South of Times Square."
It describes a tiny middle-eastern place hidden behind a loading dock on West 38th that, against all expectations, turns out to be excellent, the best Kosher place our correspondent has found. Exactly the sort of place you could discover only by sheer luck, or by reading Chowhound devotedly.
Anyway, the charming phrase Anomaly Alert got me thinking about what sorts of places in SoCal would qualify. Places that are truly eccentric and confounding, that leave you feeling off-center, bewildered that such a place actually exists, but (hopefully) glad you went.
If you try to search this concept on the Web you mainly get references to odd architecture like Tail o the Pup or the Chili Bowl. But odd architecture does not equal anomalous dining. Defunct examples might include the Haitian place in the carwash at Pico & Beverly Glen (its now a locksmith), or that alleged Cuban diner in the alley off Westwood Blvd. that never seemed to be open. I used to consider anomalous such places as Al Gelato (unpublicized, gifted cucina di mama in an ice cream parlor); the Sanamluang branch on Sherman Way (fried morning glory at 3am in what used to be the middle of nowhere); and the original beachside Jody Maronis (nice Jewish guy with fake Italian name selling great sausage and mouthing off to all the good looking girls in bikinis). But theyve all become mainstream.
Creative Sushi on Main St. in Santa Monica, with its mad genius owner and chattering mechanical monkeys, might qualify. Oki Dog (assuming you think the food is edible). Maybe Chili Johns, Neptunes Net, Thai-American Burger. I run out of candidates too quickly. Maybe I just dont get out of the Westside enough anymore.
Surely there are better examples here in our beloved "land of fruits and nuts." Your candidates are hereby respectfully solicited.