My husband and I will be in Pasadena the 2nd week in August, and we've heard that some of the towns south of there (like Monterey Park) have wonderful Chinese restaurants. I have to confess to being a bit confused about Chinese food, at least as it's presented in Chicago: Why is it never as good as what I cook at home? Since I'm using cookbooks by experts like Hsiang Ju and Tsuifeng Lin, and enjoyed wonderful food ("high" and "low")in Hong Kong, I don't think we're overly Americanized in our tastes. I know there's an aspect to Chinese food that I find too raunchy (like that fried stinky tofu they sell by the Star Ferry in H.K.), but is it too much to expect good, non-greasy, non-raunchy Chinese food with "high production values?"
We'd love to get recommendations for the following: best place for dim sum. Best white-tablecloth haute-Chinese (Cantonese and/or "Mandarin"). Best hole-in-the-wall dumpling house. Best Szechuan, Hunan and Shanghai places.
We'd also like to find great Japanese restaurants if they exist in L.A.(Chicago places are almost exclusivelly fixated on sushi). Best robotayaki. Best izakaya (sp?). Best place for tonkatsu. Best fancy beef restaurant (would love to find a place even a little bit like the ones I've been to in Tokyo and Kyoto). And, yes, best sushi joint.
Any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated.