Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Good Eats Under $5: Golden Deli

I'm starting a series of posts of cheap eats in LA. These will be good meals for under $5 (not including tax and tips - hey this is LA!).

First post is the Golden Deli Vietnamese restaurant in San Gabriel! I come here a lot since Caltech is pretty close. The standard dish I get is the 'bun thit nuong':Rice noodles with bbq pork, served with fish paste in the small bowl (just dump it all into your noodle bowl!). $4.75
****UPDATE! The current price is now $5.25 :( ****

They are really generous with their portions and also how much meat they give, especially considering the price! I guess it is not that uncommon being in the San Gabriel area :)
There usually is always a line, but if you're only a party of two you get seated pretty quickly.

I also got a cherimoya drink, which was $1.75. If you get a drink your meal won't be under $5 anymore though :P
AGolden Deli

815 W. Las Tunas Dr.
San Gabriel, CA

Golden Deli on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ita-Cho: Standard Japanese, Unusual Dessert

This was a long overdue post - this dinner was on the same night as my first visit to Milk. I couldn't decide where to go one night and decided to try out Ita-Cho, an izakaya type restaurant on Beverly. The plus for me is that it was across the street from Milk :)

Ita-Cho was relatively empty, but they did have quite a few tables filled. They actually have quite a few interesting items on the menu. I ordered the octopus karaage:
The octopus was pretty tough and the batter falls apart whenever I try to take a bite. It was a little bit greasy but pretty tasty nonetheless. Nothing particularly memorable, but good.

We also got the broiled hamachi kama (yellowtail collar). I mean, don't we all lo~ve yellowtail collar?
This was my favorite dish of the night. A solid and well-done dish! The hamachi kama was so tender and flavorful.

For dessert, I was surprised to find that they serve fresh cherimoya fruit. It was $3 for one fruit, though, which is expensive compared to grocery store price but I guess this was "one dessert dish".
It was a good cherimoya - the ripeness is just right. They sure did pick a good one.

All in all, I thought Ita-Cho was nothing particularly special, but they do a solid job and have interesting items on the menu. The prices are also reasonable. If it was close to where I live I would go there frequently. As it is, it's a bit far for me to come back frequently, but I may just come back there when I want some more Milk ice cream :)

7311 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036-2534
Phone: (323) 938-9009

Itacho on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Finally, Sushi Zo! Mmm ....

I finally went to try out Sushi Zo after reading all the rave reviews it got on Chowhound and Yelp. Went pretty late on a Monday. They close at 9:30 and we arrived at 9:00. The hostess asked if we had been there before and we told her no. Then she started putting on this concerned face and saying "Oh, we only serve sushi here". Me: "That's fine". Her: "We don't have california rolls or things like that". Me: (getting a little annoyed) "That's fine." Her: "And we close at 9:30." Me: "That's fine ... "(so you better seat us soon so we can eat and get out of here shouldn't you?)

It's really just the way she said these things, as if anyone who hasn't been to sushi Zo clearly only eats california rolls or something... but anyway, now that we're done with the initial annoyance, we sat down and ordered omakase.

Keizo san started us with the oyster and abalone. The oyster was good, though not outstanding.
I'm also not really a fan of abalone sashimi ... Too tough and chewy for me. But it was fresh and pretty good.

Then there's the maguro. I usually don't dig maguro that much, but the one served here was actually really really tasty. The sushi here is on the small side, but it really does fit perfectly in your mouth in one bite! I can finally eat sushi without making a mess or having to bite the fish in two.

After that was the scallop sushi. The rice on this one was a bit warm :/ But the scallop was good.
Next is the hamachi, served with Yuzu!! Delicioussss ... definitely one of the best hamachis I've had.
Also got the mirugai. It was good, but again I'm not a big fan of the tough chewy ones, compared to melt-in-your-mouth toro .....
Then finally! Finally the toro came! OMG OMG!
This toro was outstanding!!! This is right up there, right after Hiro Urasawa's seared toro! Having toro melting in your mouth is ... heavenly.

Then I had the yellow striped jack. Again, mmmmmmm. Words are superfluous ...
Love the texture, love the taste.

And then there were the ones that I can't remember the name of for the life of me :( I think I have an idea but for fear of being wrong, I'm going to refrain from trying. If anyone knows what they are, please tell me!

I stopped after this last dish: the uni and ikura. Isn't it beauuutiful?
A very sweet uni, I loved it.

I could've done without the abalone and oyster and gone straight to the sushi! But the fish that I had were all very very good indeed! I will definitely, definitely be back.

Sushi Zo

9824 National Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
(310) 842-3977

Sushi Zo on Urbanspoon

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