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A Single Star For Wolfgang's Steakhouse, Noodles For JG at Chuan Yu Noodle Town

1) Beverly Hills: First off, let's not get Wolfgang's Steakhouse confused with Wolfgang Puck because Puck is not behind this venture. SIV puts it most appropriately: "It takes some kind of chutzpah to open a steakhouse named Wolfgang's a few blocks north of Spago, where Wolfgang Puck, SoCal's longest-reigning superstar, holds court. But Wolfgang is, in fact, owner Wolfgang Zwiener's given name and the name of a string of steakhouses, including three in New York City where he began." So from there SIV continues on to wonder, "Is it that in these uncertain times, people gravitate toward something familiar, something that recalls the good life as it used to be envisioned? I can think of no other explanation why diners are flocking to Wolfgang's for a steak dinner...Other than one truly great steak, the porterhouse for two, the restaurant doesn't have much else to recommend it." Ouch, and with that she appoints one lone star. The commentary doesn't get much better, "Dining at Wolfgang's, I feel as if I'm in a time warp. With its bluster, bonhomie and fawning service, and the pianist belting out stale standards, the place seems left over from the Rat Pack era." Overall, "The a mixed experience."

Playing it safe is the way to go, "Order some cherrystone clams on the half-shell and a Caesar salad followed by the porterhouse for two, or a lamb or veal chop and you'll come away thinking Wolfgang's is a swell restaurant. Stray further into the menu and your meal won't measure up, and at these prices, these days, it very well should." [LAT]

2) SGV: Today The Goldster talks noodles, specifically dan dan mian, and according to him the top specialist is Chuan Yu Noodle Town. Expect your bowl to be "bright red, mined with Sichuan peppercorns, ya cai slippery, fried peanuts extra crunchy, noodles dense but not unpleasantly so, sesame paste sparingly applied." Also not to be missed "is an unpromising-looking dish of pork belly steamed with ground sticky rice, which comes to the table resembling an upended bowl of oatmeal frosted with unsmoked bacon — it may be the sole unspicy thing in the restaurant..There is a world of flavor within that deflated hemisphere, thick fingers of fat pork belly cooked nearly to gooeyness, a layer of ground rice transformed into strata of meaty, elastic dough, and underneath everything chunks of sweet, meltingly soft Chinese pumpkin that have absorbed all the flavors of the steam...I ended up being talked into it four out of the first five times I visited Chuan Yu Noodle Town, the exception being a hot afternoon when I wanted to be left alone with a book, a cold Coke and a bowl of dan dan mian." [LAW]

The Elsewhere: The Find visits El Pollo Imperial, The Minty tries a Neal Fraser meal at Test Kitchen, Chanfles! dines at El Coyote, Eating LA samples Mix 'n Munch, kevinEats hits downtown's new sugarFISH, My Last Bite sips cocktails at Villians Tavern, Food GPS visits Asal Bakery & Kabob, and Exile Kiss raves about Langer's.