Showing posts with label new zealand mussels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label new zealand mussels. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Neighborhood Nook

Nook was quite hard to find. Not only is it in an ordinary looking strip mall, it is also in the back corner of said mall. And while the website boasts a red arrow, the actual place is marked by a big blue arrow (that does not say Nook). After walking round and round I finally found the place.

The restaurant was not too crowded or loud - it is a good place to have a nice dinner and actually have conversation! Plus free parking.

Instead of bread or amuse bouche, Nook does something different: boiled peanuts. Not very friendly to the peanut-allergy folks out there, but this reminds me of my childhood when I used to buy boiled peanuts at the zoo (you're supposed to buy them and feed the elephants but I thought I deserved them more than the elephants!).

I ordered some "New Orleans style gumbo" and a portion of the proceed goes to the hurricane relief fund - good cause!
As far as the gumbo goes, though, I thought it was just okay. Good but I've had much better gumbo. Well, let me put it this way: It was a good soup - but if you ask me, it ain't gumbo! Can't compare to the one I had at Luke in NOLA.

Crispy Fried Calamari ($10)
Tossed with citrus-soy vinaigrette and wasabi dipping sauce.
This was a good calamari - not too greasy as it sometimes tends to be. The wasabi dipping sauce is interesting and is a delicious twist - it helps cut the grease of the fried calamari.

Shiitake and Gruyere Bread Pudding ($7)
Quite a flavorful and aromatic bread pudding! Liked this dish a lot (although it could use more shiitake for better texture) - it was better the next day when the bread has soaked up all the flavors :P

New Zealand green lip mussel pan roast ($12)
with linguisa sausage, oven-dried tomato, garlic, herbs and white wine saffron brot
Really loved the broth for this dish. The mussels are also big, plump and juicy. Probably my favorite dish of the night, and not bad for $12 (there were more mussels, this was half eaten)

Sauteed Brown Rice Bowl ($12)
With tofu, carrots, broccoli, and egg white this is a very healthy dish. And tastes kinda healthy too :P It is much better the day after as a leftover, just like fried rice is much better when made with day-old rice. Pretty basic dish, nothing special.

For dessert we got the chocolate pot de creme, as it was recommended to us ($7)
It's a pretty small pot but definitely a delicious dessert. The current menu online lists chocolate pot de creme with fresh strawberries, but I believe the one we had were blueberries.

The prices are Nook Bistro were pretty reasonable and the food is delicious (even if they can't do gumbo, IMHO) with good quality ingredients. An excellent neighborhood bistro and a pretty casual dining place. Nothing mindblowing but definitely good comfort food. I'll definitely be back.

Nook Bistro
11628 Santa Monica Blvd #9
Los Angeles, CA 90025
T 310.207.5160

Nook Bistro on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Catfish Flakes and the Giant Mussels

I've been hearing so much about Jitlada, a Thai restaurant on Sunset. It's a bit far (waa~y past the Sunset Strip), so I haven't been. But we've recently made the drive to try it out.
Jitlada sits in a small strip mall (like many, many other good restaurants in LA ... what is it with strip malls in LA ..) that, most definitely, lacks parking spaces. We drove around but couldn't find parking or street parking, so we ended up parking across the street at the 99c Store (I think that's what it was). Psst ... don't tell please ...

We ordered a pad thai - standard and safe.The pad thai is pretty good and I thought it was definitely one of the better ones in LA. Not much for me to say here though, it's really pretty standard? And I've been getting bored of this sweet dish. Moving on to the more interesting items! :)

I've been hearing a lot about the catfish and green mango salad, so I got that also.
I've read the reviews so I've been expecting this. The fried catfish is, well, really looks nothing like a catfish! It looks like fried flakes ... only when you eat it does it taste fishy, although the texture is again not really what you would expect out of a 'catfish'.

The crispy-but-slightly-soggy flakes, the sourness of the green mango, and the flavorful crunchiness of the peanuts make this dish great. The first bites were a bit of a surprise regardless and seems weird, but it really grew on me. By lunchtime the next day (leftovers) I was chowing this down and craving more ...

Lastly, we ordered what Jonathan Gold proclaimed as one of the "Best Dishes of 2007", the New Zealand Green Mussels! (How can you not try it??)
What came were possibly the biggest mussels I've ever seen:
I mean, usually, the meat of the mussels occupy only 1/3 of the space the shells provide, but these mussels .... these fat, juicy mussels, fill up the shells like they're pregnant!
The slightly spicy broth were excellent but not overpowering. Just right.

Jitlada is definitely a great Thai restaurant. I do wish it was a bit closer to me so I can go more often! I'd definitely be back whenever I can find someone to drag all the way over here for Thai food ... (not like it's close to anything else either :/ )
Those mussels are definitely, definitely, worth the trip over and over again ...

Jitlada Thai Restaurant
5233 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 663-3104

Jitlada Thai on Urbanspoon

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