Monday, October 16, 2017
2121 Rosecrans Ave Ste 1399
El Segundo, CA 90245
I reviewed the Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn a few years ago. A few weeks back I read about a Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in El Segundo, and they have a $10 Monday special in October! So, the first Monday I could, I made a trip to El Segundo. Located across Rosecrams Ave from Union Pizza Company, on the ground floor of a business complex, Grimaldi’s is a huge restaurant.
There is a huge dining room to the right as you enter. To the left is a galley style bar area. Red and white checked tablecloths and New York City subway signs finish off the decor.
Service, if you're ordering take out you order at the bar, was good. The bartender, who was working a couple tables in the dining room, was very nice and helpful.
I was disappointed about the quality standards. It would have been a very good pizza, if the crust wasn't well done. I may go back to Grimaldi’s, but I wouldn't rush back to this El Segundo location. I would go back to Union Pizza Company before going back to Grimaldi’s.
Sunday, October 15, 2017
13212 Sherman Way
Los Angeles, CA 91605
Kazuki Sushi was named one of the 12 Essential sushi restaurants in the San Fernando Valley by LA Eater. They have been opened for about 5-6 months. Located in a very industrial area of Valley Glen, which used to be part of North Hollywood and Van Nuys! Guess the NIMBY's wanted to their property values to increase with a name change. Anyways there are a lot of auto repair shops nearby and a very nice vanity and bathroom decor store nearby.
Kazuki Sushi is a repurposed Rainbow Thai restaurant. A fresh coat of paint, and simple decor makes for a nice setting.
Service was good. While the restaurant wasn't busy, they were attentive, friendly and helpful. A minor complaint, they took awhile to bring my check after I finished eating. For about 4-5 minutes they didn't come around at all. They were too busy gossiping. Not a major issue, but something they need to work on.
Overall I was impressed with Kazuki Sushi! I would go back! I just wouldn't order the crunch roll or the halibut again.
Thursday, October 12, 2017
711 Fair Oaks Ave Ste K
South Pasadena, CA 91030
Nori Sushi Wraps is an interesting take on sushi. They put everything you find in a sushi roll, into a sushi burrito! Located in a strip mall on busy Fair Oaks Ave., Nori is a small place. There are tables and high top tables as you walk in. Then the counter is along the back wall, where you order and they prepare your food.
The fries are standard frozen fries, but pretty good. The spicy tuna is very good and they pile it on! They give you a huge portion of the spicy tuna! I wasn't sure about ordering this, fries topped with sushi, but it works! Next time I will ask for the fries to be well done!
Shrimp Tempura wrap, $9.50-Tempura shrimp, cucumber, avocado, crab meat, spicy tuna, and kale lettuce slaw. Inside sauces are Spicy mayo and Eel sauce. This was good, but a bit dry. Ok, maybe I should have put some soy sauce or more spicy maco, but it was dry. But, all the ingredients were good. I'm betting the shrimp tempura was frozen, but everything else is fresh. It's a huge portion and well worth the price.
Service is good. The guy who took my order was new, because somebody was helping him take orders. But, they were friendly and the guy did a good job. The only thing that doesn't make sense is, after ordering they give you a number on a metal stand that you take to your table. So, I figure they will bring my food to my table. Instead they call out your number and you bring the number to them and they give you your food. What a waste! Just say give customers their number on their receipt.
I enjoyed Nori and would go back anytime!!
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
2135 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
A few block west on Sunset Blvd. from Sage Organic Vegan, and right next door to Mohawk Bend, is Elf Cafe, a vegetarian/ vegan restaurant. One thing both have in common is that they are home to douchebag hipsters! I went to Elf about three years ago came away underwhelmed with the food, and a bad taste for their service.
Elf is a very small restaurant with very limited hours, they open at 6pm Mon-Sat. They aren't open on Sundays or for lunch! The restaurant covers two buildings, but they are both small. But, driving on busy Sunset Blvd, it is hard to see their sign, since it is covered by overgrown trees and it's not lit! Look for Mohawk Bend and it is right next door.
You enter Elf there is a bar and the kitchen, and a few tables. Walk into the other room and more tables along with restrooms in the back. It's a dimly lit room with dark paint, making for a very morbid atmosphere!
I ate the meal at a nearby stand, that had very good lighting. The lighting in the restaurant would make for terrible pictures. Plus being around douchebag hipsters isn't my idea of fun.
This was a good dish, full of flavor and very well cooked. But, hardly worth the $20 price tag! There were 3 king oyster mushroom, well cooked, good flavor. 3 small purple potatoes-good. A couple grape tomatoes. The house harissa was well balanced and flavorful. The tzatzki was fine. The wild rice pilaf was cooked well. The quality of the food nor the portion size is worth the price.
Service, this time was good. The server greeted me and was friendly. She told me the order would take about 25 minutes. I came back and she said they were boxing up my order. So, very good communication. My first time at Elf I went with a date. We get there at about 6:10pm. 10 minutes after they open and there are only two people in the restaurant. In a snotty tone the hostess/server asked if we had a reservation. I'm thinking your damn restaurant is empty, you just opened 10 minutes ago, you should be able to seat us. We get a table, we have dinner and by the time we left, maybe an hour later, there may have been 5 tables that had customers! The hostess/server gave off the attitude that we're such a popular restaurant that people need to make reservations! The service wasn't that great that first time either. Our server came to take our drink orders, then our dinner orders, bring our food and then our check. Never once asking if we needed anything or how the food was.
I won't go back to Elf again. Too pretentious, while the food is good, the prices are too high for the quality and portion size. I'll let the douchebag hipsters have Elf all to themselves! Little Pine has better food, better prices, and they are less pretentious!
Monday, October 9, 2017
Avanti Italian Bistro & Bar
187 N Sierra Madre Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91107
Avanti Italian Bistro & Bar is owned by the same owners as the now closed Avanti Cafe. The story is that running two restaurants was just getting too much for the owners. Luckily they brought all the pizza over, but not the wood fire oven!
I went to Avanti Italian Bistro & Bar about 2-3 years ago, had the lasagna and thought it was pretty good. Of course I didn't do a review. So, I drove by the other day and figured I should do a review.
Avanti Italian Bistro & Bar is a huge restaurant on a corner lot. As you enter there is a small bar area. Then the huge dining room. They also have a small patio. At night the lighting is low and it makes for a nice quiet evening.
I sat at the bar and when the bartender finally came by, I got good service. It just took awhile for the bartender, or anybody to get there. Ok, I know it's a slow period. But, this was an hour or so after the happy hour times had started. Somebody should be at the bar.
I may go back and try their pizza. But, I love the wood fire pizza, and they didn't bring the wood fire ovens!
Native Foods Cafe
1114 Gayley Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Native Foods Cafe came onto the scene for vegan and vegetarians like Haley's Comet. Now you see them, now you don't. They had locations in Culver City and Santa Monica, but they closed in early 2016. The only Los Angeles location is in Westwood! I went to the Santa Monica location in 2015. Thought the food was pretty good. Figured I would do a review and went to their Westwood location.
Located in the very busy Westwood Village, Native Foods Cafe, occupies a medium sized space. The line starts to your left as you enter the restaurant. There are dining tables in front and even a couple tables in the upstairs loft-like area. Nothing fancy about the decor. But, the tables were dirty and a couple tables still hadn't been cleared of plates, even though nobody was at the table for the entire time I was there, roughly 30 minutes.
When I went to their Santa Monica location, I had their Soul Bowl- which is a vegan version of soul food- fried chicken with rice, black beans and cornbread! The native chicken was delicious! Full of flavor and it actually tasted just like chicken! I figured I would try something else and got the native chicken, bacon and avocado club. This was only ok. The bottom part of the sandwich with the chicken, was hot as hell! The chicken was ok, a bit tough. The sandwich could use a bit more chipotle sauce, kinda of dry. The avocado wasn't the freshest! The fries were good.
Service was good. The young lady who helped me was nice and helpful. But, as I mentioned earlier, there were a couple tables that weren't cleared off the entire time I was there. The tables had dirty dishes when I walked in and still hadn't been cleared when I left. The table I saw sitting at first, needed to be wiped down, there were crumbs on the table! There were plenty of workers behind the counter just talking. It was a slow time for the restaurant. They could have gotten somebody to wipe down and clear the tables!
I can see why Native Foods Cafe didn't get a hold of the very strong vegan/vegetarian market in Los Angeles. Places like Veggie Grill, serve up better food and their restaurants are cleaner! No reason to come back to Native Foods Cafe.
2911 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
I went to the The Library Alehouse about two years ago. If I recall correctly I had the fish and chips and thought they were pretty good. I was in snotty Santa Monica and dropped in. The Library Alehouse is a galley style bar with the bar on the left and tables running down the length of the building. They do have a nice patio area in the back. Their sign says they have been opened since 1995!
Service was overall good. The bartender, I sat at a table, was serving the entire room, a few people at the bar and a couple tables were taken. So, it wasn't busy. She was nice, friendly, and I didn't really lack for anything. But, she never told me that it was Burger Monday. I saw the sign in the patio when I went to the restroom. Then I saw it on the back of the menu. When I was walking out the door, she didn't say thanks for coming. Little things make a big difference!
I loved the veggie burger and if I'm back in snotty Santa Monica, I will go back. I may try their vegan enchiladas!!
Sunday, October 8, 2017
123 S Topanga Canyon Blvd
Topanga, CA 90290
Rocco’s In the Canyon, according to the sign, has been opened since 1980. Located just off of Topanga Canyon Blvd, next to the Post Office, is a dated restaurant that could use a facelift. The entrance to the restaurant is to the right, in the photo above. The over lattice work is the patio. The interior has dated carpets, walls, and decor.
Service was good. The lady was nice and helpful. What I liked most was she said the pizza would take about 20 minutes! Many pizza places do not give you the amount of time it will take! So major points for that!
I wouldn't go back to Rocco's in the Canyon! I realize there may not be many options for pizza along Topanga, but make the drive into the valley! There has to be good pizza!
Thursday, October 5, 2017
11669 Sherman Way
North Hollywood, CA 91607
Salsa & Beer is a very busy Mexican restaurant in North Hollywood. Their parking lot is so damn small for such a big building, and street parking is tough to find. But, the place is still packed!
It's a dark restaurant with dark woods, and very low lighting. As you walk into the restaurant, the hostess stand is on the left. Walk in further and there are two bars! A smaller bar with just seating along the bar, to the right. A bigger bar with seating at the bar and along the counter. Dining areas are all over.
Shrimp enchilada, $8.99, with rice and beans. The shrimp enchilada was damn good. There was a good amount of small sized shrimp, that was well cooked and seasoned. The tortilla held up well to the sauce. A good dish and really a steal at the $8.99 price! I didn't touch the beans. But, the rice was overcooked. I should have asked for new rice, but I was parking on the street which is only one hour parking.
Service at the larger bar area was good. The lady was nice. She took my drink order and brought chips and bean dip quickly. But, then she took awhile to come back to take my order. She wasn't the bartender, so I don't know where she went. I was looking at my watch because I was coming close to the one hour time limit. One of the biggest reasons, was the bad service by the hostess! She asked how many. I said one. She asked if I wanted to sit at the bar. I looked around, saw no seats and said I'll sit at a table. Then I asked how long is the wait, she said about 5-10 minutes. Well, the wait was more like 15-20 minutes! Come on now! The thing is, as I was sitting in their waiting area with a lot of other people, I saw empty tables!! Get your act together!
While the shrimp enchiladas were very good and a great price, I won't go back to Salsa & Beer again. It's really not worth the hassle of finding parking and the long wait times!
15301 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
A friend and I were going to meet at the Sherman Oaks Gallery for a movie. We got there a bit early and figured we would get something to eat before going to the movies. I was surprised that the Sherman Oaks Gallery doesn't have many stores anymore. It is mostly a dining and entertainment venue.
Anyways, as we walked around we saw Hana Grill and decided to eat there. It's a small restaurant with a few tables inside and, as the above picture shows, there are tables outside. Hana Grill is a mini chain with a few other locations. The only Asian person working was an older lady who maybe the owner. Interesting! It's basically food court food. I'm not expecting much.
Service took too damn long! There must have been at least ten people who got their orders before I did, and they ordered after me!! Ok, most of them ordered teriyaki, but it shouldn't take about 10 minutes to make a damn roll, even though it was during the lunch rush.
The young lady who took my order wasn't friendly at all. But, to my shock she was nice when she was wiping down my table, while I just got back from picking up my order. She said something like "I didn't want to throw away the soy sauce, and napkins. I thought it maybe somebody's." Why she just went through the motions while taking my order, who knows. The other young lady behind the counter was nice. She noticed I was standing there waiting for my order, asked me what my number was, and then, even went back to the kitchen to check.
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the shrimp tempura roll. Was it the best roll ever? No, but a solid 8 on a scale of 10. Which I think is pretty damn good for a food court restaurant!
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
3205 1⁄2 4th St.
Los Angeles, CA. 90063
I found out about L Fish from this LA Eater story. As the story mention L Fish bought the recipe from the iconic El Fenix Puesto in Ensenada.
L Fish is really a stand in front of somebody's house. The main set up with the fryer and flattop is where you order. The tacos come just the fish or shrimp and corn tortilla. On the table along the house is your condiments for the fish or shrimp tacos. They have cabbage, pico degallo, salsa, and all kinds of sauces like crema and chipolte sauce.
Shrimp tacos-$2.50- the shrimp, about three in each taco, was plumb, tender and very good. Same batter as with the shrimp tacos. I prefer the shrimp taco to the fish taco here.
Service is good. The owner is nice and helpful. Eventually the plan is to make this location their actual restaurant.
I would go back to L Fish for their shrimp tacos.
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
11740 San Vicente Blvd
Brentwood, CA 90049
I went to Chin Chin about three years ago and really I don't recall how the food was, I just remember one hell of a boring date! Anyways, I was in the snotty, Brentwood section of Los Angeles, and decided to give Chin Chin another try.
Chin Chin started in 1983 at this Brentwood location, and tried to franchise. Not sure how many Chin Chin locations are franchised now, but they have locations in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Studio City, and Las Vegas. I think Chin Chin is very much like PF Changs- an upscale Americanized Chinese restaurant. The Brentwood location is tastefully decorated in Chinese motif! Located on the second floor, it's an L shaped restaurant. There are tables and booths on your left as your walk in. Then a right turn leads to more tables.
The most interesting thing you notice about Chin Chin, is that there are no Chinese people working there! The hostess was Latino. My server was white. Another server was African-American. Yet another server was Latino! I didn't go to the kitchen, but I'm betting the cooks are Latino!
Service was good.
I don't get to snotty Brentwood often, but I would go back to Chin Chin. I may even try some of their other locations too!
Monday, October 2, 2017
429 N Azusa Ave
Azusa, CA 91702
Not far from Canyon City BBQ, is La Tolteca, a huge Mexican restaurant in Azusa. I went to La Tolteca a few years ago and the service was terrible and the food mediocre. The girl who helped me was rude and just lacked customer service skills! But, I was back in Azusa and decided to do a review of La Tolteca.
I got chips and salsa with my order. I thought you had to order a plate for the chips and salsa to be included. Either way a nice touch, as it is hard to turn down chips and salsa!
Service was great! The guy who took my order was nice, friendly and helpful. He explained how their system worked; this is counter service and they will bring your food to your table. He answered my questions and he even asked things like "Have you been here before?" and "Do you live in the area?"
I'm really glad I went back to La Tolteca. The food was very good and the service was great!
Sunday, October 1, 2017
19601 Ventura Blvd
Tarzana, CA 91357
I went to Sol y Luna a few years ago, but didn't have a camera so I didn't do a review. Recently I was in the area and we stopped into Sol y Luna for lunch. You walk into the bar area that has a few tables and the bar along the left wall. The main dining room is to the right. It's a very busy place, packed both times I've been there.
Service was ok. I waited awhile before somebody came to take my order, but I got chips and salsa and a drink quickly. So, I don't know why it took so long for somebody to take my order. My server never smilled! She was just going through the motions. But, she did refill drinks and asked how everything was. But, she needs to at least pretend like she wants to be there!!
Sol y Luna is ok. I think it's busy because there aren't many good options for Mexican food in Tarzana, so any half way decent Mexican place will be busy. But, compared to other good Mexican places, Sol y Luna is mediocre at best!
Saturday, September 30, 2017
Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen
1714 W Century Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90047
I went to Dulan's back on May 7, 2017. I finally found the pictures, so here is the review. I went to the Dulan's on Manchester, and didn't think too much of the food. But, I read that Adloph Dulan passed away in May 1, 2017, and decided to try the Dulan's on Century Blvd. Mr. Dulan first opened an Orange Julius, an old school orange juice store, that were in malls all over. Then he opened Hamburger City and then expanded to a few locations, including Marina Del Rey. At the Hamburger City in Marina Del Rey, he turned it into Aunty Kizzy's, and his soul food empire took off. There is a Dulan's on Crenshaw, that is owned by his son, and these two Dulan's.
The first Dulan's on Century used to be just went of Crenshaw. But, they moved within the past year or so, to a location a few blocks east on Century, at the location of the former, Berth's, a very good soul food restaurant.
This Dulan's is a small restaurant with the steam table as you enter and some tables at the far end of the restaurant. There are some tables outside. But, this is mostly a take out operation.
This fish is swai, which is close to catfish. This was very well seasoned and flavorful. The fish is mild in flavor and has a nice flakey texture.
Mac n cheese was very good. Nice creamy cheese and perfectly cooked macaroni. I only ate the corn and it was very good. Okra and I just don't get along. The dressing, some may call it stuffing, is very good. Full of flavor, you'll notice pepper and celery, and filling.
Service was very good. There was a huge line on the Sunday I went, it went out the door. But, the line moved very quickly. When you got inside the door, a very nice lady took your order, wrote it on the container and then she dropped it off to the workers behind the steam table. It's a very well run process, and it moved quickly.
The Dulan's on Century was much better than the Dulan's on Manchester! I would go back!
7870 Monet Ave Ste 1050
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739
The Melt is a San Francisco Bay Area based chain. I went toThe Melt at the Americana in Glendale, which is now closed, and thought it was pretty good. I found out that The Melt had a location at the Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga, and since I've never been to Victoria Gardens, I decided to go.
The Melt is on a corner lot with a good sized dining area in the middle of the room. The line to order is to the left as you enter. The Melt trys to appeal the hipster crowd with their decor. I find it boring, but whatever!
The 3 Cheese classic was ok, but I was expecting more flavor! Maybe the muenster and fontina balanced out the sharp cheddar or maybe the sharp cheddar isn't as sharp. But, it was lacking flavor. Good thing I added the jalapenos! That added a nice kick to the grilled cheese. The artisan French bread was good though.
Like an idiot, I ordered the Florentine bacon mac & cheese without the bacon, instead of the trio mac & cheese, which is $3.99. For that extra $1 I got bits of spinach. Totally not worth the extra price. Florentine actually means a dish serve with spinach! But, the mac & cheese was very creamy and the amount of cheese was great. The macaroni was a bit undercooked, too tough and chewy, maybe another 2-3 minutes in the pot and it would have been fine.
Service was good. Nice and friendly. But, you can order on tablets instead of the counter, but the tablets only accept cards, no cash! I wish they would have a sign, wasted a few minutes ordering on the tablets, only to find they do not accept cash.
I wouldn't go back to The Melt again.
Friday, September 29, 2017
2413 S Walker Ave
San Pedro, CA 90731
Busy Bee Market is a San Pedro institution. Almost all locals know about the sandwiches at Busy Bee Market. They are known for their belly-buster sandwich-2 hot meats of your choice. They also have a torpedo sandwich-cold cut combos that are ready made. This is a cash only operation! Go to the ATM before you get there!
It's a small market with lots of soda and chips. They have some condiments like mustard and ketchup, but I didn't see other items you would expect to see at a market-soap, laundry detergent etc. You get in line for sandwich to the left as you enter. Order your sandwich and take it up to the register to pay.
Service was good. The man who made my sandwich was nice and the sandwich was made quickly. The guy at the register was also nice.
I get why Busy Bee Market is popular and busy. I've heard on Saturdays, they are closed on Sunday, lines are out the door! When I went lines were a couple steps inside the doors. If you're a meat eater, all their meat sandwiches look great! I won't rush back because while the veggie sandwich was good, it's not something I would rush back for.
141 A W 22nd St
San Pedro, CA 90731
A few years back I went to 22nd St Landing Seafood Grill & Bar in San Pedro. I thought the food was ok, and I was back in San Pedro and decided to go there for lunch. 22nd St Landing Seafood Grill & Bar is a huge restaurant that seems to take up the entire second floor of this building. The dining area is a dated, a fresh coat of paint and new flooring would do this restaurant a world of good.
The back wall has huge windows which give you a great view of the marina! If the sun is shining, it can get hot but the hostess will say you can pull down the shade. There are booths and tables spread out over the middle part of the restaurant. A good sized bar is on the right side of the dining area.
The halibut was a decent sized portion and was grilled over wood. Good flavor though the top part was a bit tough, as if it had been on the grill a little long. But, it was moist and flavorful. The veggies were ok, too much squash and zucchini for my tastes. Rice pilaf was good, but a very small portion.
Overall, I don't think this was worth the $28 price tag. I got the restaurant about 11:15am, thinking it opened at 11am. But, they opened at 11:30am and during the wait, I checked out the lunch menu at the entrance. That menu said $27 for the Alaskan halibut. Since I already knew what I wanted to order, I didn't really look at the menu that I was given. That menu price of the halibut could have been $28.
Now, it's only $1 but they need to put an up to date menu at the entrance. The server was nice and I wasn't lacking for anything. So, I wasn't going to argue about $1. But management needs to get on the ball.
I won't go back to 22nd St Landing Seafood Grill & Bar. It's only ok, and there are much better options nearby!
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
5759 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Natalie Peruvian Seafood Restaurant has been on my list of places to try for a few years. I'm not usually in the area, but when a friend wanted to try Peruvian for her birthday, I remembered Natalie. Located in a small shopping center with a 7-11, a Thai restaurant, and another California Donut, Natalie is a a small restaurant with about 8-10 tables. It wasn't that crowded when we were there.
I've reviewed a few Peruvian restaurants, and I usually order the Tallarin Saltado which is noodles with usually, shrimp. So, I decided to change it up and order the saltado de camarones. This was an interesting combo with carbs and more carbs. There were about 8-10 small sized shrimp, decent flavor, but nothing great. The fries became soggy in all the juice. The rice was well cooked.
Service was ok. Our server wasn't the friendliest, she just went through the motions. Drinks weren't refilled. And she asked how things were right after she dropped off the food! I mean give us a few minutes before asking.
As with most Peruvian restaurants, I think this is overpriced for what you get. I won't return.