1) Red O: This one was obviously coming. Today SIV files her three star-worthy thoughts on Melrose's chic new addition, Rick Bayless' Red O. But good luck getting in. She does not so much fancy "the irritating treatment at the door," but when it comes to the food, game on. SIV digs the unadorned guac, and the short rib sopes, however she finds most of the ceviches a bit "dull." Back to praise, tamales are "terrific," the tortilla soup has a "rich and clean" broth, enchiladas, too, are "excellent." The restaurant's biggest downfall? Employees' "snooty attitude," and unfortunately she believes, “the success of Red O is getting in the way of the experience.” Overall though, "expect a wait for a reservation — and sometimes for a table — but know that the food, once it comes, will be worth it." [LAT]
2) Quan Mien Trung: This week, J.Gold visits Quan Mien Trung in Rosemead. Tucked away in an area of Valley Boulevard filled with pho and banh mi spots, “Quan Mien Trung is more or less an embassy for the cooking of Central Vietnam, with a roster of dishes new to those of us who learned about Vietnamese food through noodle shops.” This restaurant serves no pho and no bun bo Hue, but rather a unique take on banh beo chen, “the rice-batter cakes, usually steamed and served in tiny condiment dishes, are made here in bowls at least three or four times the size, transforming the one-bite nibbles into burger-size disks, sprinkled with powdered, dried shrimp, croutons and scallions, served eight to an order, which slide like oysters down your throat.” Rather than an American-ized noodle shop, Quan Mien Trung serves just what “Vietnamese expats crave,” including bun ca and a “clean, herbal version" of bun bo Hue, called bun bo dac biet mien trung, “a bowl of noodles in clear beef broth flavored with lemongrass and spotted with red chile.” Although the menu features other noodle soups, J. Gold maintains that “the bun bo is clearly first call.” [LAW]
The Elsewhere: The Find tries Lum-Ka-Naad in Northridge, Diana Takes A Bite at Street, Exile Kiss discovers hearty Japanese fare at Okan in SD, Gastronomy rates the Flying Pig truck, and LA and OC Foodventures goes French at Le Saint Amour.