Jonathan Gold files his take on the new Chego in Chinatown, calling it an improvement over the nondescript Westside location in Palms (which will soon become Phorage). He lauds chef Roy Choi's concept from the start, calling it
"perhaps the purest of Choi's restaurants, the land of the three-culture rice bowl and a fount of culinary postmodernism. Chego was the first place where it was possible to discover Choi's game plan: using the tricks of fine dining to elevate street food"
Gold calls the operation in Chinatown more streamlined and user-friendly,
"A damp cardboard bowl of rice and fried tofu lashed with chile and garlic is tossed with diced ong choy and gai lan, then topped with a fried egg. (Almost everything here is topped with a fried egg.) Does this dish, the Leafy T, lean toward Malaysia, where that particular flavor of chile and browned shallots is common, or toward southern China? Does the particular intensity of vinegary heat indicate Korea? Does the licoricey spark of fresh Asian basil mark it as a Chiu Chow dish from Vietnam?"
In the end, Jonathan Gold loves this version of Chego in Chinatown, recommending the desserts, like that terrific Sriracha chocolate bar.
Besha Rodell of LA Weekly doles out a great review of Little Tokyo newcomer Marugame Monzo, which took over the defunct Fat Spoon space. She calls Monzo "upscale," with "all the care, effort and comfort of a sushi restaurant, only instead of pristine fish, it's the noodle diners come to revere." There's a slew of various hot and cold udon dishes, and many served like Italian noodles. Three stars, which means "very good."
Meanwhile, the busy Rodell gives a mere 2-stars to Manhattan Beach's Fishing With Dynamite, David LeFevre's "diminuitive" seafood shack that delivers on its promise in terms of the raw seafood bar, but has "winners and losers" in the classic and modern dishes. Still, she liked the service from staff, despite a long wait to get a table.
The Elsewhere: Serious Eats takes a first look at Mari Vanna, FoodGPS visits the relatively unknown borough of El Sereno for garnarchas, Gourmet Pigs likes the friendly vibe at Vintage Enoteca, and Darin Dines takes a second look at Ricardo Zarate's Mo-Chica, lauding the inexpensive $27 Tuesday dinners.