Category Archives: Local Eats

MaDang 621 Korean BBQ Restaurant

621 S Western Ave
Ste 100
Los Angeles, CA 90005
 
(213) 384-2244
 
madang621.com
 
http://www.yelp.com/biz/madang-621-korean-bbq-restaurant-los-angeles

 

MaDang 621 is located in the same shopping complex as the CGV Theater on Western.  One of my Korean coworkers had recommended the lunch specials, since she knew that I love Korean food.  The lunch specials include set lunches, where you get your own individual banchans (side dishes)!

Parking is plenty in the large structure, and MaDang validates 4 hours.  For people who do not want to deal with the narrow parking spaces, I believe valet parking is also available.  MaDang 621 is located on the ground level of the complex, and is near the Western Ave side.  It is a pretty large restaurant, with a sizable outside seating area — although the outside area was not open during lunch.  The restaurant itself is pretty airy, with a modern Korean feel.  Our party of 6 was seated right away during lunch time, so not sure if reservations are needed for dinners.  During dinner time, I think the restaurant operates as a high-end Korean BBQ place.

 

Follow the sign!

 

The entrance leads into an open kitchen and bar area.  The seating area is just beyond the walkway.

 

The lunch specials menu — yes, even during weekends!!  ^ ^  The soo rah sang and jung shik sets come with individual banchans.  All of the other dishes come with large communal banchans.

 

The large communal banchans (from top left clockwise) – steamed broccoli, spicy radish and cucumber, dried anchovies/fish and walnuts, salted bean sprouts, spicy veggies, and kimchi slices.  All of the side dishes were really good.  Our favorite was definitely the dried fish with walnut!

 

The Jung Shik with Yun Aw Gui (grilled salmon).  The Jung Shik comes with your choice of meat or fish and similar banchans as the communal ones above, although it also had a marinated spicy garlic/jalapeno, and the spicy squid side dishes.  For rice, you get a choice or regular or purple rice.  Seaweed and the denjangchige (bean paste soup) rounds up the set.  Salmon was cooked perfectly and the side dishes all taste so good!!!  $12.99

 

Yook ge jang – spicy red chili soup with shredded beef, glass noodles, eggs and shitake mushrooms.  The noodle soup had enough kick, but was not overly spicy.  The shredded beef was pretty tender, and I really liked the glass noodles!  $9.99

 

Will definitely be back to try the other lunch specials!  Nom nom nom….

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Lawry’s The Prime Rib – Tailgate!

http://www.lawrysonline.com/lawrys-primerib/beverly-hills/catering/Tailgates

One of my new favorite food finds is Lawry’s tailgate!!!  I love eating at the restaurant in Beverly Hills and did not know that they throw a catering tailgate at every USC home football game until this year.  I think they now have it for all UCLA home games as well.  So for all of you guys who love the restaurant experience, you will also love the catered tailgate as well!

The USC tailgate has grown in size, so now it is under a massive tent, near Gate 1 at the Coliseum.  I had gone to the homecoming tailgate, and it was around 30 tables.  Reservations must be made and paid in advance through Lawry’s.  Seats do get sold out so be sure to make reservations in advance!  Reservation details can be found on Lawry’s website.

The check-in table and the crowd by the open bar.  Line moves pretty fast though!

 

Tailgate is $75 per person.  However, it is ALL-You-Can-Eat and All-You-Can-Drink (including alcoholic drinks)!  Food is just like what they serve at the restaurant – prime rib and turkey carving stations being the staples.  The rest of the menu changes, by the theme/state of the opposing team.  The menu can be viewed through the Lawry’s website – it’s usually available 1 – 2 weeks before the game.

 

For the homecoming game, there was the usual prime rib, with Lawry’s famous creamed spinach and potato au gratin.  There were also buffalo wings, and a refreshing apple salad.  The prime rib is more thinly sliced than the restaurant portion, so that people could make sliders, if they wanted to.  Since it’s AYCE, go for seconds or thirds!  🙂

 

Save some room for dessert too!  Double Rainbow Ice cream was the dessert at the homecoming game and let me just say, the coffee flavor even beats the Haagen-Daz version that I love.  Nom nom nom….

 

Lawry’s Tailgate is such an awesome experience and not to mention value.  Will definitely be back for more next year!

Island Eats Hale Aina

19106 Normandie Ave
Ste 2
Torrance, CA 90502

(310) 329-3835

http://www.yelp.com/biz/island-eats-hale-aina-torrance

 

I’ve been on the hunt for good Hawaiian food in the South Bay.  There are actually quite a number of Hawaiian joints in South Bay, but not too many that have decent Yelp reviews.  Island Eats is one of the few that has 4 stars on Yelp, and is relatively easy to get to (just off the 405) and park.

Island Eats is located right at the corner of 190th and Normandie, tucked between two tall buildings (a credit union and a storage place I think).  There’s plenty of seating, both inside and outside.  The restaurant itself is pretty casual and relaxing.  Simply place your order and pay at the register, then wait for the food.  Everything is made to order so might take a while for the food to be ready! During most of the weekdays, Island Eats is only open for breakfast and lunch (until 2pm).  Fridays and Saturdays are the only 2 days that they open for dinner, so plan accordingly!

Island Eats serves up quite a variety of Hawaiian favorites, such as lau lau (pork wrapped in taro leaves), loco moco (hamburger patties covered with gravy, and topped with sunny side-up eggs), kalua pork, saimin, spam musubi, poke and garlic shrimp.

The restaurant has a small signage outside.  Look for the canopy!

 

Poke rice – recommended by a lot of Yelpers and it did not disappoint!  This is listed under one of the side items.  It is a meal by itself — generous amounts of tuna poke on top of wasabi cream sauce drizzled warm rice.  For those of you who do not know poke, it’s basically raw tuna marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil, then sprinkled with scallions, sesame seeds and seaweed.  Kind of like an Asian ceviche.  Yum!  $8

 

Uncle’s Fried Chicken plate – “island style” boneless chicken thigh pieces, comes with salad, potato mac and rice.  The island style chicken has a sweet batter (I think Hawaiian style chicken usually uses a bit of rice flour) and is well marinated.  It was freshly fried, so very crunchy on the outside and still juicy on the inside.  The potato mac was a little bland though.  Overall, decent portion size and well prepared.  $8.95

 

Will definitely have to come back and try other dishes that Yelpers also recommend, like the lau lau and the loco moco!  🙂

Tofu Village

15128 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90247

(310) 527-3737

http://www.yelp.com/biz/tofu-village-gardena-2

 

This is one of my favorite weekday lunch spots, although I don’t make it out here often.  Tofu Village is located in a small strip plaza, near the corner of Western and Marine.  Parking is easy to find inside the plaza. Even though Tofu Village is usually pretty busy,  table turnover is fast, so not much wait during lunch time.  Service is normally good and quick.  Most of the clientele is Korean, so that should tell you about its authenticity!  I like it better than Lee’s Tofu down the street — the taste is more on par with the soon tofu places in K-town.  : )

 

Tofu Village is located inside this shopping plaza.

 

Sample of the lunch menu — all of the lunch specials look pretty good but I’ve only tried the soon tofu so far.

 

The banchans (side dishes) are all really good and usually includes kimchi, spicy pickled radish and cucumber, bean sprouts, potato salad and chap chae (Korean glass noodles).  There’s even fried yellow croaker (a small fish), similar to the ones at BCD Tofu House.  You can request for complimentary refills on the side dishes.

 

There’s an assortment of different soon tofu to choose from (seafood, combination, kimchi, etc), as well as the spiciness.  I usually get the combination medium (which has seafood and beef).  Comes with purple rice in a stone pot – the servers will scoop it up into the steel bowl for you.  At the end of the meal,  add water to the rice stone pot to make crunchy rice soup.   Yum yum yum…. $7.99

Fishbar

3801 Highland Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

(310) 796-0200

fishbarmb.com

http://www.yelp.com/biz/fishbar-manhattan-beach-2

 

Fishbar is my favorite Manhattan Beach restaurant lately.  I’ve been here a handful of times and food has always been consistent.  Fishbar is located at the old Sharkey’s space, in north Manhattan Beach, right by El Porto.  It’s a pretty casual place, and set up like a sports bar, with lots of TVs inside!  I haven’t had any difficulty finding parking – there are plenty of metered street parking and there’s even the metered parking structure across the street.  The good news is, the meters now take credit cards!  I think it’s about $1 per hour.

Fishbar is actually a large restaurant and I haven’t had much of a wait here.  I’ve been during brunch, lunch and dinner.  It’s a “Seat Yourself” kind of policy, yet the service is prompt from the moment you sit down.  The only time I experienced some wait was when Fishbar was really busy, and so I had to flag down a waiter in order to get the check.  There’s a daily special almost every day – Shrimp Shack Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Crab Wednesday, Lobster Thursday, Saturday Brunch, etc.  Check the restaurant’s website for menu details.

Here are some recommended items:

Brunch

I was on the hunt for a brunch place in Manhattan Beach which wouldn’t have much of a wait.  From experience, most of the brunch places in MB (North End Caffe, The Kettle, etc) have at least a 30+ minute wait during the weekends.  I was getting ready to write a post on Fishbar, when lo and behold, I see that they also have brunch.  The menu looked really good, so the decision was easy.  And it turned out to be an awesome idea!

 

The lobster hash – crispy fried potatoes & brussel sprouts tossed in sweet & spicy chipotle sauce, sauteed lobster, two eggs sunny side up, and spinach hollandaise.  The brussel sprouts were out-of-this-world good!  I couldn’t really taste the spiciness of the chipotle sauce, but this dish had the perfect combo of taste and texture.  So good!!!  $14.99

 

Flat iron steak & eggs –  flat iron steak with 2 eggs any style, crispy fried potatoes & brussel sprouts.  My friend omitted the potatoes but really enjoyed this dish and said that we should make Fishbar our new brunch spot!  $13.99

 

Lunch

I’ve been here for Taco Tuesdays lunches for a few weeks now and have tried an assortment of different tacos.  The tacos at Fishbar, are of course, for the most part, seafood!  So here are my favorites:

 

Seared ahi tuna tacos – ahi tuna with cabbage, avocado mousse, pico de gallo and Thai chili sauce.  The Thai chili sauce adds just a bit of a kick, not that spicy.  $10 for an order of 2

Blackened salmon tacos – salmon with cabbage, avocado mousse, pico de gallo and cotija cheese. $8 for an order of 2

Sauteed lobster tacos – lobster with with cabbage, avocado mousse, pico de gallo, taco sauce and cotija cheese.  $9 for an order of 2

 

Hope you guys enjoy this place as much as me!  : )

 

Marion Crepes – Pop-up Store @ Torrance Mitsuwa

21515 S Western Ave
Torrance, CA 90501
 

Marion Crepes, the famous patisserie from Harajuku in Tokyo, has a pop-up store inside the Torrance Mitsuwa for a limited time!!!  I chanced upon it while I lunched at the food court last week, and vowed to be back during the weekend when I had more time.  The pop-up store will run until 3/30/2014, and there’s a 30 minute break daily between 4pm -4:30pm.

The line was pretty long today.  We waited in line for about 15-20 minutes just to place our order.  Once our order was in, we waited another 5 minutes for the crepes to be made.  There are only 2 workers at the pop-up store, so expect a bit of a wait.

 

 

The display case with the model crepes.  There are so many choices!  It’s mostly dessert crepes, with 2 different savory tuna crepes.

 

There’s also the option of adding additional toppings.  Go for the green tea ice cream!

 

All of the crepes are made fresh-to-order.

 

We got the #16 – nutella with banana crepe, and added the green tea ice cream.  The nutella crepe is a warm crepe, so they left the crepe on the pan longer – the result is a wonderful crispy wafer cookie texture.  The green tea ice cream really complemented the crepe – it’s so rich and creamy!  The gooey warm nutella and banana are winning combinations with the crepe.  So yummy!  $7.09 including tax

 

For sure, will be back before the pop-up store closes, so that I can try the other flavors!  🙂

Harry’s Chicken Cafe

1721 W Redondo Beach Blvd
Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 324-4231
 
http://www.harryschicken.com/
http://www.yelp.com/biz/harrys-cafe-gardena

 

This place was recommended to me by a co-worker.  It’s been around for many years, but was formerly known as Harry’s Aloha Chop Suey.  So as you can probably guess by its former name, Harry’s serves Hawaiian food.  Harry’s is located on Redondo Beach Blvd, in a tiny strip mall.  Parking is a bit sparse, but I think you should be able to park in the parking lots of the adjacent strip malls.

 

Besides the obvious Hawaiian-style fried chicken, there’s also Hawaiian favorites such as loco moco, saimin, chicken katsu, teriyaki chicken, spam musubi, etc. The fried chicken comes in regular and boneless versions.  The restaurant itself is a bit small, with only a few tables, which is why I think most people were ordering to-go.  Even though I ordered food to be eaten at the restaurant, they still served it to me in a to-go box, which worked out since portions are generous!

 

The store front

 

Menu is up on the board and there’s just a few tables inside the restaurant

 

I got the Harry’s Mixed Plate which comes with Harry’s Fried Chicken, char siu pork, spare ribs, fried wonton, macaroni salad and rice.  The fried chicken is coated in a sweet batter and was moist and flavorful.  My favorite was the spare ribs, which were fall-off-the-bones good, and drenched in a gravy.  The macaroni salad is actually a mix of a macaroni and potato salad, and pretty tasty.  The char siu (Chinese-style bbq pork) was also good.  The fried wontons were only ok for me.  Portions are pretty generous.  $8.95.

 

So far, this is one of my favorite Hawaiian joints in LA.  I’ll be back to try the loco moco!!!