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Gold Loves Uyghur Lamb & Noodles at Omar's; Momed Gets 1.5 from SIV

1) San Gabriel: Jonathan Gold heads out to San Gabriel to visit Omar's Xinjiang Halal Restaurant, which recently took over the MaMa space on New Ave. Gold calls it "Islamic Uyghur cooking...that more closely resembles the cooking of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan...Central Asian cooking approached from the East rather than the West." Hits include the homemade drinking yogurt ("some of the best...I've ever tasted"), the classic mutton kebabs and the meat-loaf sandwich: "a flat, fried pastry, big as a phonograph record, stuffed with minced lamb and carrots." But it's the "terrific" noodles that really draw his attention, "beaten and pulled to order...long, thick ropes...the size of telephone cords, cratered and irregular" and some "as thick as leather straps." [LAW]

2) Beverly Hills: A star and a half for Momed, a new casual Mediterranean eatery on S. Beverly Drive. SIV is particularly taken by owner Alex Sarkissian who "moves around Momed, his 6-month-old eastern Mediterranean cafe, like Papa Bear" and describes his restaurant's cuisine as "eastern Mediterranean with forays to Morocco, Tunisia, Iraq, Egypt...with the sureness of someone who grew up in that part of the world" or someone who knows geography, presumably. The "smokey...scorched" pide (Turkish flatbread) is a hit, so is the fattoush bread salad "with shards of crispy pita, tomato, cucumber and Little Gem lettuce" and she's also a fan of Momed's breakfast offerings, especially the "juicy, house-made merguez" and "organic oven-baked eggs scrambled with marinated artichokes and dusky wild mushrooms." Not a lot falls flat, just the "bland" Moroccan carrot salad and the Persian cucumbers that "could use a bit more oomph." And for those of you who indulge in a little Schadenfreude every now and then, Ms. Virbila cautions about the tricky street parking, revealing that she found a space "and came back to find a $90 ticket on my windshield." [LAT]

1718 New Ave., San Gabriel CA