I went to a couple of places over the holidays - so I thought I would share:
Christmas Eve Dinner - Yi Cusine (pronounced "eee cuisine")
I had dinner at Yi on the corner of 3rd and Fairfax, in the space that was formerly known as the Tiki Lounge. Having seen this place driving by, I was curious as to what it had to offer. Little comments on the boards since it's opening added more fuel to my curiosity. Our party arrived at an empty restaurant in time for our 7:30 reservation. If you were not a fan of the Tiki Lounge and how small it was, you'll be surpried (relieved?) to know that they converted the former outside patio to a secondary enclosed dining room. The space is pretty large, with definite potential to get loud (wooden floors). The ambiance is nice - chic design and minimalist decor.
Surprise of the night.....I was expecting Chinese food or a take on it - turns out the chef if Filipino and a majority of the menu items are essentially Filipino "fusion" (if you're nice) or watered down Filipino (if you're not so nice)dishes. I am not Filipino, but I am familiar with the food - so I saw basic staples of Filipino dishes -Kare Kare (a braised beef stew - this version incorporated ox tails), Pancit Canton (rice vermicelli stir fry). Our group opted for the Chicken Adobo, Brocoli Tempura, a salt crusted strip steak (oven roasted/broiled). The adobo was pleasant, given it's not to "stewy" as I've had it in other Filipino kitchens (homemade renditions) - but rather pieces of chicken breast and legs lightly glazed with an adobo sauce that was quite sweet. I enjoyed this the most. Steak was lackluster, but I think it was overdone (at the mercy of family style dining and menu/prep decisions made by committee). Tempura was good because the batter used was light and not too greasy out of the fryer. We also had the rock shrimp for apps - which were lightly battered and fried shrimp tossed in a tangy mayonaise - these were quite tasty. My party wasn't too keen on trying the Kare Kare, which was the item I was most interested in. We met the sous chef and he chatted us up, he's Filipino too and said that they've been written up by the local Filipino press - so that was good for them.
Food was good and prices were reasonable - but I wouldn't go out of my way to make it a destination spot.
7910 W Third St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Cross Street: Between Fairfax Avenue and Edinburgh Avenue
Phone: (323) 658-8028
Quick Reports -
Sushi Ryo - I know I tout this place often but I have not gone for lunch, just dinner. I went to lunch one day last week and I found the lunch special at Sushi Ryo to be quite a deal - competing with the likes of Sushi Gen (from what I've heard) and Echigo (which I have tried). For 14-17 bucks you can have either a Nigiri or Roll combo, along with two other items (selection of cooked items and sashimi available). With miso soup, seaweed salad and green salad, and pickled green beans with some sort of peanut-buttery sauce as side accompaniments (all included) - it was truly a revelation. I go Nigiri - Sesame Chicken - and Sashimi. Also, I noticed that the salmon is always great - considering I never used to order it - my experiences during the lunch changed my view on the salmon at Sushi Ryo. HIGHLY SATISFYING AND RECOMMENDED.
6779 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90038-1218
Cross Street: Highland Avenue
Phone: (323) 462-7200
I had an impromptu dinner at the Kitchen in Silverlake prior to my New Year's festivities. I've reported on this place before - and I generally enjoy this place a lot. This past experience was ho-hum - I opted for the meatloaf after reading about it - it was rather dry. I did have a wonderful potato and leek soup that came with fried leeks on top - yum. One thing I did notice - the Kitchen does a great job with their sauteed veggie medly - the veggies are never limp and always taste light and just right - next time I will just double the veggies and pass on the potatoes.
4348 Fountain Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029-2226
Cross Street: Sunset Boulevard
Phone: (323) 664-3663