This week Besha Rodell heads to the glitzy "Asian eating house" on Melrose and La Cienaga, EP & LP. The LA Weekly critic gives credit where it's due, and lauds chef Louis Tikaram's deft hand for Southeast Asian flavors. The results are "the antithesis of bland:"
Brightness is the key to almost every dish: Sweet Baja rock shrimp swim in coconut milk with lime and chile in what is apparently a Fijian-style ceviche. It's not that different from other coconut-infused ceviches, but it is delicious and bold and subtle all at once. Ultra-fresh raw kingfish comes in a tangy sauce made of caramelized cashew and jalapeño, with a garnish of cilantro and green mango. [LAW]
However, B.Rod does note the issues that come with restaurants designed with a "clublike vibe," including "a young woman in very high heels [that] was kind of falling down the stairs, obviously sloshed." Plus that bumping music:
It is LOUD in here, and the conversations you'll be forced to overhear all around you will be spoken by beautiful young people in scanty clothing who are either already inebriated or well on their way to getting there. The techno music bumps, and the servers (and cooks) all wear T-shirts with the restaurant's signature design element, which looks like polka dots reimagined as macaroni. (The wallpaper is covered in this design as well.) You will be compelled to order dishes with names such as "Check Yo Neck" and cocktails such as "I've Got 99 Problems but a Herb Ain't One." [LAW]
Still, Rodell thinks most of the food makes for a prime education in New Australian cooking, and awards two stars.