Jonathan Gold begins his review this week with a few games of the classic arcade game "Food Fight" before diving into the food at Button Mash, Nguyen and Thi Tran's Echo Park arcade/restaurant. The Trans, known for their beloved tofu balls and Singaporean-style chile crab at the late Starry Kitchen, are cooking pan-Asian bar food here, just the sort of thing you want to eat with a craft beer and game of "Street Fighter II."
While Thi Tran's "best dishes here may be the Vietnamese-style party aesthetic," there's a little something for everyone:
What are you going to eat? Chicken wings, probably, double-fried to a Korean fried chicken kind of crunchiness, slicked with a sticky sauce spiked with tamarind, which gives them the pucker of a Sour Patch Kid, or with a mildly spicy glaze flavored with the fermented Korean chile paste gochujang. And those crunchy fried tofu balls, painted with Sriracha mayonnaise. And maybe an oozing, caloric dish of mac and cheese spiked with bacon, or limp shrimp toast, or tiny roast peanuts flavored Singapore-style (although not forcefully enough) with fermented tofu. [LAT]
The Times critic ends by asking, "if you see me playing 'Food Fight,' wave hi," and recommends the tofu balls, double-fried tamarind chicken wings, popiah, Spam fried rice, and almond tofu.