Jonathan Gold takes a general liking to Little Sister, the Manhattan Beach restaurant opened in July by restaurateur Jed Sanford and chef Tin Vuong. The popular eatery is offering a medley of pan-Asian dishes that are better than one would expect:
As the murderous butterflies suggest, Little Sister is a date-night restaurant with mayhem at its soul, Vuong's menu suggests a pan-Asian small plates restaurant retooled to operate in the San Gabriel Valley, each dish twisted not toward the comfortable trio of sugar, garlic and chiles, but toward the wilder palette of fermented flavors, dried fish and gooey texture most common on the other side of the Los Angeles River.
And although there is obvious craft in the Burmese-style flatbread stuffed with minced lamb, kima platha, the Cantonese-style clams with black bean sauce and the limp if tasty Malaysian duck sate with pear, it is clear that Vuong is at his best with Vietnamese-inspired dishes — rougher than what you might find in Rosemead or Little Saigon but not bad with a glass of nut brown ale.Goldy compares Little Sister to famed Bay Area modern Vietnamese eatery The Slanted Door, stating that it may not be up to par just yet, but "it is one of those rare restaurants where you eat far better than you think you're going to." [LAT]
Photo by Elizabeth Daniels
B-Rod declares the exotically flavored Pizza of Venice in Altadena worthy of two stars: "Is Pizza of Venice worth making the trip to this odd little corner of a strip mall? It depends on what you're looking for, I suppose. There's plenty of pizza and Korean wings and chocolate chip cookies between Venice proper and Pizza of Venice that are more worthy on a purist level than the bizarre, sometimes uneven things Woolner and St. John are turning out here. But if you're looking for exuberance of spirit, and soul-stirring limeade, and an endearing list of cross-dressing pizzas, that trek to Altadena just might be a necessary pilgrimage." [LAW]