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Amazing Decor, Mixed Reviews on the Fare at Chi-Lin

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<a href="http://www.elizabethdanielsphotography.com">Elizabeth Daniels 5/13</a>
Elizabeth Daniels 5/13
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Chi-Lin opened its pretty Studio Collective-designed doors in mid-May to starlets, papparazzi, and overflow from sister restaurant RivaBella at the former Hamburger Hamlet space in the heart of the Sunset Strip. In the ensuing months, the market for high-end Chinese cuisine landed another major player with the introduction of Hakkasan down in Beverly Hills. It's all a ploy to reach into the Mr. Chow game, where Hollywood power brokers and scenesters congregate for roast duck, lobster medallions, and lettuce wraps. Opened by IDG, consulting chef Cecile Tang, bar manager Aaron Alvarez, Yujean Kang (who's since decamped and replaced by current chef de cuisine Tyson Wong Ophaso), here's a rundown of the pros and cons of dining at Chi-Lin, from blogs, 'hounders, Yelpers, and critics.

The Early Word from B-Rod: "The menu is ambitious in places and not in others -- there's crab and uni xiao long bao and also BBQ orange baby back ribs. That xiao long bao had wrappers that were slightly tough and a seafood filling that was pleasant but not particularly uni-ish...right now the place is very good for a certain type of people-watching and a fabulous place for decadent Hollywood sensory overload. The jury's still out on whether it might become a good place for eating." [LAW]

The Chi-Lin versus SGV News: "A place like Chi-Lin has a definite place in LA, but one's tolerance for it will be wholly up to the individual. Many will choose to drive out East instead and incur bad service and ugly rooms for cheaper and more authentic food while some of you will be quite pleased slinging on the hip (you hope) outfit and throwing down the platinum (or black) card. Why go? You do not do San Gabriel." [Feed the Monster]

The Dim Lighting News: "The only thing being passed around more than the cocktails were smartphones. The restaurant was so dark, nearly every table could be seen perusing menus with a flashlight app or an actual mini flashlight." [LAT]

The Decor News: "The atmosphere at the restaurant is a perfect ten. Honestly, it's one of the most beautiful restaurants I've ever seen, making it a great place to get a drink or just hang out for a while. Unfortunately, however, you can't eat atmosphere. The food is extremely lame, and it would have gotten only one star from me if it weren't for the sheer beauty of the place." [Yelp]

The Scallops & Steak News: "Scallops with Toasted Black Beans and Garlic: Super spicy and super delicious. Scallops were excellently cooked. The heat is in the finely diced garnish, so don't keep scooping that in your mouth if you're afraid of the heat. Dummy. Black Pepper Two Basil Filet Mignon: One of the best things I've ever put in my mouth!! Oh my god, this crap is good! Bold, tangy, mildly spicy sauce on crazy, crazy tender beef. I want more. I want more NOW." [Bun Boy]

The Yelper Harassment News:
"I was just yelp messaged by an anonymous person who I believe works for or is affiliated with this restaurant (dj r- who left clearly fake positive 5 star review for this restaurant) stating, "this place is amazing, excellent, you morons who complain about $11 dollars for parking should not be going out to nice restaurants, take the bus to dennys next time, what a loser" Seems like this restaurant is doing SO bad they are harassing people on yelp who are leaving HONEST yelp reviews. They should just cut there losses and CLOSE for gd sakes...All in all I wish I did go to Denny's the food would be better than nasty Chi Lin." [Yelp]

The Noise & Disapointing Peking Duck News: "The noise level can get loud, but that's par for the course at a Sunset Boulevard hotspot. From the appetizers, skip the prawn, crab and asparagus toast in favor of the wok-fired clams with lap xuong sausage and XO sauce. Continue with Alaskan king crab legs cooked in crispy garlic and chile or "Kang style" black cod braised in ginger and star anise, served with fava beans and pineapple stalk. Unfortunately, the Peking duck did not live up to our expectations as the meat was dry and the skin not crispy enough." [Gayot]

The Boozy Ice Cream News: "So there were these two shivering scoops of Madagascar vanilla ice cream. They yearned to bathe in 3/4 of an ounce of vodka and 1/4 of an ounce of allspice dram. At Chi Lin, the scoops attained true happiness. Then you ate them." [UrbanDaddy]

The James Bond News: "Spectacular setting that feels like a movie set from an exotic James Bond film. In some ways maybe too much stimulation. Very unique. The service was very attentive, perhaps too much so in the beginning to the point where I felt the server was hovering and rushing us." [Chowhound]

The Cocktail News: "Asian notes are found throughout the innovative cocktail list. For a nice balance of sweet and sour, try the Ginseng Cure made with Bacardi 8 rum, citrus, amaretto, house-made ginseng syrup and a Myer's dark rum float. Another great drink is the frothy Pearl of the Orient, made from Belvedere intense vodka, green chartreuse, grapefruit, egg white and bitters." [CBS Local]
·All Good News/Bad News Coverage [~ELA~]

Chin Lin

3742 NE 21st Avenue, Los angeles, CA


9201 W Sunset Blvd West Hollywood, CA 90069