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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

Follow Eater editors each week as they share their favorite dishes around town

Basturma at Garo’s Basturma in Pasadena.
Basturma at Garo’s Basturma in Pasadena.
Cathy Chaplin

The editors of Eater dine out several times a week, if not per day, which means we’re always encountering standout dishes that deserve time in the limelight. Here’s the very best of everything the team has eaten recently.


January 10, 2022

Pork belly at Here’s Looking At You in Koreatown

Pork belly at Here’s Looking At You in Koreatown.
Pork belly at Here’s Looking At You in Koreatown.
Nicole Adlman

The last time I was in front of Here’s Looking at You, the Koreatown restaurant from chef-owners Lien Ta and Jonathan Whitener, it was to buy a T-shirt emblazoned with its name during the 2020 sidewalk sale held in its final days before a prolonged pause. On its January 9 reopening night, I returned to a restaurant that was warm, warmly lit, full of life. I sat at the bar, where HLAY’s original bar program director, Harry Chin — now based in Honolulu — served my partner and me some of the best tiki-influenced cocktails we’ve had in Los Angeles from a list featuring past heavy-hitters (one diner we sat next to was referenced in a cocktail description for having ordered it religiously prior to a seasonal menu change in 2019).

It felt good to be in HLAY, a beloved neighborhood spot on 6th Street with a menu that always embraced rule-breaking, both in its genre-bending lens and juxtaposition of flavors. We got some of the classics, of course — the salsa negra-crusted frog legs (true to its “just like chicken wings but extra” tagline in a June 2020 Instagram post); the eggy tartare; the maple-sweetened chicken liver — but the best dish last night, for me, was a fatty pork belly slab served with charred pineapple, key lime, and bright Thai herbs. The dish felt joyful, a reclamation of space and a mouthful that proved that though time had passed, almost no time had passed. I would say it was good to be back, but it was my first sit-down meal in HLAY, so I’ll say this instead — it will be good to be back. 3901 West 6th Street, Los Angeles. —Nicole Adlman

Fish plate at Gjusta in Venice

Fish plate at Gjusta in Venice.
Fish plate at Gjusta in Venice.
Matthew Kang

It’s hard to think of a better place to nosh in Venice during the day than Gjusta, which has ample outdoor seating and a consistently ‘lax attitude toward service. It’s also a good place to go knowing your boss might pick up the tab for the first in-person meeting of the year. My favorite thing to order for lunch is the fish plate, which comes with cream cheese, sliced veggies, crusty bread, and the daily selection of smoked or cured fish. Last week it was gravlax, oil-cured anchovies (which I asked for), and smoked whitefish, all of which were delicious. I’m a sucker for firm but gently vinegary anchovies, so that’s the one thing I always make sure I get. But honestly, all of the prepared fish is as good as any top-tier Jewish deli, especially since LA no longer has a Barney Greengrass. My only regret was not ordering the larger plate, but at a cost pushing $60 that’s the kind of thing that I couldn’t ask my manager to expense. 320 Sunset Avenue, Venice. —Matthew Kang

Basturma at Garo’s Basturma in Pasadena

Basturma at Garo’s Basturma in Pasadena.
Basturma at Garo’s Basturma in Pasadena.
Cathy Chaplin

While Pasadena’s Armenian population is quite smaller than Glendale’s, the local contingent is robust enough to support many excellent Armenian businesses, including Garo’s Basturma. The deli and grocery store has been making its namesake cured meat for nearly 40 years in northeast Pasadena. While lesser quality basturma can be a bit chewy and overly dry texturally, the expertly cured beef at Garo’s was meltingly tender, with a delicate crust of fenugreek, cumin, black pepper, and paprika. Marbled just so, wonderful savory, and a touch spicy, there’s a reason why Garo’s is the king of basturma. 1082 Allen Avenue, Pasadena. —Cathy Chaplin

Chicken parm at Nuthin’ But Cutlets pop-up

Chicken parm at Nuthin’ But Cutlets pop-up.
Chicken parm at Nuthin’ But Cutlets pop-up.
Farley Elliott

It’s still magical, somehow, after two very long years of on and off at-home pivots and takeout meals, to saunter up to a residential home on a weekend with the full intent of ordering a meal. It’s novel (for many) and offers a sense of secretive fun and purpose to a weekend meal — and it helps that the year-old Nuthin’ But Cutlets also makes its turnouts a party, complete with a few lawn chairs and lots of (masked) smiles. The Los Feliz home pop-up doesn’t cook every weekend but has managed to draw a loyal following every time it does show up at the side-street address, turning out East Coast-style chicken cutlet sandwiches in a variety of flavors, from banh mi to spicy buffalo to the classic, cheesy chicken parm. Served on seeded rolls, these are big $12 sandwiches meant to be eaten hot and fresh in the sunshine. After all, isn’t LA at its best when dining outdoors? Check Instagram for pop-up dates and details. —Farley Elliott

GGET Breakfast Burrito at Go Get ’Em Tiger in Culver City

There’s nothing good about this surge of COVID cases, but at least I have my little routines. Curbside pickup from the grocery store; a variety pack order from the wine shop down the street; a hike up to the top of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. And Go Get ’Em Tiger’s breakfast burritos. The potatoes are always crispy, the chorizo is always spicy, and the eggs are never overcooked. On weekend mornings, my partner and I leash up the dog, tap out an order on GGET’s extremely well-designed app, and walk 10 minutes to get our coffees and our burritos and maybe a cranberry frangipane scone. The burritos are good, but if I’m honest, more than half the pleasure is in their reliability, and the ritual. 10000 Washington Boulevard, Suite 103, Culver City. —Meghan McCarron


January 3, 2022

Nem nuong cuon at Brodard Chateau in Garden Grove

Nem nuong cuon at Brodard Chateau in Garden Grove.
Nem nuong cuon at Brodard Chateau in Garden Grove.
Cathy Chaplin

My partner is from Orange County, and we spent a lot of time driving the southern half of the 405. Since 2020, we’ve added a new ritual. As we head back to the freeway, I open up my phone and plug an order into the Brodard app. It’s cliche, but the first thing I add is four of the famous nem nuong cuon, the texturally decadent pork spring rolls on which the restaurant group has built its empire. More than merely a perfect dish, they are a perfect pandemic take-out dish. They don’t get cold, or soggy, or melt on their journey back up to Los Angeles in a bag nestled between my feet. The thin, soft wrapper, the dense pork, crisp vegetables, and delightful crunch is nearly as satisfying consumed out of plastic bowls as in the restaurant. To compensate for my basic love of these rolls, I order something new every time. Last Saturday, it was the papaya salad topped with beef jerky and smoked pork liver. Pretty wonderful! Even better with nem nuong cuon. 9100 Trask Avenue, Garden Grove. —Meghan McCarron

Hamburger at Fellow in Westwood

Hamburger at Fellow in Westwood.
Hamburger at Fellow in Westwood.
Farley Elliott

In one of my last indoor dining meals of 2021, I… ate a burger at the bar of an upscale restaurant. Shocking, I know. But the truth is, the bar burger at Westwood’s finer dining restaurant Fellow is anything but usual, combining the talents of chef Chris Flint (Nomad, Maude, Eleven Madison Park) with quality dry-aged beef and owner Philip Camino’s gorgeous restaurant interior. When layered together, it’s the kind of simple, satisfying dining experience that LA has always embraced: Fine, but not fussy. Flavorful, but not formidable. Lots of other dishes on Fellow’s menu — the tempura-fried maitake mushrooms, the black truffle gnocchi with crispy chicken skin — stand out and are worth an evening jaunt to Westwood, but (for me) it’s the simple pleasure of a bar burger on a cold winter night that remains a staple dining experience in Los Angeles. The good news is that it’s all possible at Fellow, with room to blow up the bill or sip quietly at the bar. What more could Westwood, or any neighborhood, ask for? 1071 Glendon Avenue, Westwood. —Farley Elliott

#44 sandwich at Langer’s Deli in Westlake

#44 sandwich from Langer’s Deli in Westlake.
#44 sandwich from Langer’s Deli in Westlake.
Matthew Kang

On a chilly but sunny day last week, a break from the relentless late December rains, we mustered up the courage to head to Langer’s Deli and order curbside. I then subjected my wife, sister-in-law, and her boyfriend to a 15-minute meandering trip through Westlake up into the hills of Elysian Park, creating minor nausea in all of us from the winding roads. But we were rewarded with a newly washed (from the rain) picnic table with pristine views of Northeast LA and Downtown, the perfect place to enjoy matzo ball soup served in a glass jar and this immense #44 sandwich, a pressed Reuben-style creation with sauerkraut and nippy cheese. What is nippy cheese? I’m not exactly sure but it seems to be a kind of cheddar cream cheese, like Velveeta but upgraded. The buttered rye bread got a little soggy from the journey but still held up. And of course, the hand-sliced pastrami, meaty and smoky and tender to the last bite, made all of this effort worth it. 704 South Alvarado Street, Los Angeles. —Matthew Kang

Taiwanese mochi at Corner Beef Noodle House in El Monte

Taiwanese mochi at Corner Beef Noodle House in El Monte.
Taiwanese mochi at Corner Beef Noodle House in El Monte.
Cathy Chaplin

Though it didn’t make a whole lot of logistical sense to lunch in El Monte on a recent drive to San Diego, the allure of homey Taiwanese cooking on a rainy afternoon was too tempting to resist. After settling into a spacious booth at Beef Noodle House, we proceeded to order too much food considering the yet-to-be-had holiday feasting that awaited us. I singlehandedly finished an entire order of slick pigs feet, while my daughter took care of the sweetish sliced sausages. A deluxe bowl of beef noodle soup that contained both tendons and tripe was shared all around. And even though we were much too stuffed to even consider dessert, the Taiwanese mochi went down miraculously easy. The hunks of supple and sticky mochi were ready to take on whichever flavor we fancied: honey-roasted peanuts, bitter black sesame, or best yet, a balanced bit of both. 3948 Peck Road, El Monte. —Cathy Chaplin

Wings and poached Hainan chicken at Cluck2Go in Pasadena

Wings and poached Hainan chicken at Cluck2Go in Pasadena.
Wings and poached Hainan chicken at Cluck2Go in Pasadena.
Mona Holmes

I swore a vow over the 2021 holiday season: to spend less time in the kitchen. That meant easy dishes, or in last week’s case, ordering takeout for a small family gathering from Cluck2Go in Pasadena. When I say this was the way to go, I mean every word. The combo package is enormous with its central star being the Hainan poached chicken. It’s a wonderful, beautifully seasoned, and perfectly cut whole chicken with side dishes of cucumbers, brown rice, green beans, chicken soup, and fried peanuts. I’m a bit obsessed with Cluck2Go’s deep-fried wings, and both — honey garlic or the salt and pepper flavors — will make you want more. There was immense joy when spreading out this bounty in my kitchen. It felt like a homemade meal, but professionally executed, with minimal cleanup. For a moment, can we chat about what holiday gatherings would be like without cooking? And can we make this a thing? 1771 E Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena. —Mona Holmes

Pupusas con queso y loroco at Los Cocos Panaderia y Pupuseria in Del Rey

Los Cocos Panaderia y Pupuseria, a 15-year-old Salvadoran bakery and cafe in Del Rey, had been in my periphery on drives down Centinela for a too-long stretch of time; I finally made it in on one of (the many) wet, rainy Los Angeles days leading up to the New Year last week. The menu here offers a classic array of pupusas, including pupusas with squash, pupusas with beans and cheese, and its “pupusa mix,” more commonly known as pupusas revueltas, a hearty blend of beans, chicharron, and cheese spooned into the soft, pan-crisped masa cake; there’s a separate vegan-friendly menu for those who follow a plant-based diet. I ordered a selection of six to share, my favorite being a melty mesh of queso and loroco, a flower indigenous to El Salvador and other countries in Central America. Served with Los Cocos’ crunchy purple curtido (a colorful spin on traditional curtido) and a cumin-inflected salsa roja, this was a perfect last bite before 2022. 4804 S. Centinela Avenue. —Nicole Adlman

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