Monthly Archives: November 2011

REVIEW: LE CELLIER

Le Cellier is the newest from the China Beach Bistro and Hinano teams and like those restaurants it is just steps from the beach.  It’s a Vietnamese eatery as seen squarely through the lens of French influence on the culture, though if one traveled to Vietnam today they would be hard-pressed to find many menu’s like it in that country.

The space has been reimagined from its former iteration (a tapas restaurant) and it’s a modern spin on the space, with wine prominently on display.  On the day The Monster visits he occupies the only table for lunch, so service is friendly and accommodating as the menu is perused.

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REVIEW: WA SUSHI

It has been years since The Monster has been to Wa Sushi.  His first house in Los Angeles was up Laurel Canyon near the Country Store (it was Boris Karloff’s first house in LA as well for movie buffs) and he used to frequent places like Wa and loved the lobster that tasted like cotton candy.  Once The Monster moved to Santa Monica places like Wa came off the regular rotation.  Would Wa hold up?

With a small sushi bar (8 or so spots) and 6 tables plus one small private room with a TV playing weird commercials Wa is a small space with high energy.  Jazz is playing and the crowd is hopping.  That it is on the second floor of a nondescript mini-mall is pure LA.

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REVIEW: SUNNY SPOT

UPDATE 5/20/13

Had a horrible experience over the weekend at this once promising spot.  Only one server for the entire restaurant.  Drinks took half an hour to get.  Food took almost two hours.  The manager was rude beyond belief and the place wasn’t even crowded so there are no reasonable excuses.  Will not be going back.

Why go?  You enjoy abuse.

Monster rating: 0/5 Monsters

PREVIOUS REVIEW:

Sunny Spot, the much feted Roy Choi’s newest in the former Beechwood space in Venice trades in his emboldened Asian flavors for a pan-Caribbean menu and vibe.  The once starkly lined room is now a playpen of color with island music blaring and a hip but relaxed crowd nibbling on his newest creations while sipping on Brian Butler’s (A-Frame) cocktail creations which lean heavily on rum.

Opening night sees the restaurant, bar and patio jammed with Choi running around the room and kitchen while his staff, already in mid-season form confidently dole out the vittles and drinks.  Akin to his other boîtes, expect some dishes to knock your socks off while others may leave you scratching your head.

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REVIEW: PIZZERIA IL FICO

On chi-chi Robertson is Pizzeria Il Fico a new entry in the Los Angeles Italian restaurant wars. Concrete floors, light wood tables, a long marble bar are its dominant features, it’s a casual but good looking spot.  Prices are a tad high perhaps, but this aims to be more than a pizzeria, an Italian spot to seek out and not one to just pop into while shopping.

As the lone diner on a lazy afternoon The Monster takes his time looking over the menu.  While there is a large selection of pizza on offer, there is also a lengthy list of starters, pasta and salads.

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REVIEW: EMPANADAS PLACE

Empanadas Place is a delicious little spot with ten or so jam packed tables, homey and kitschy with the walls covered in photos and Argentine banners. You order at the counter, take a seat and wait for the piping hot food to be delivered.

These are deep fried, not baked empanadas so they are a bit heavy. A hungry Monster could probably eat five of them but two or three is really all one needs. At $2.99 a piece (cash only) it’s a relative bargain on the pocket book.

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REVIEW: MERCATO DI VETRO

Mercato di Vetro is SBE’s West Hollywood entry into Italian and it’s food for pretty people.  From the moment you enter the beautiful space this is more a wonderful scene than a serious restaurant, a place where Ladytron can be cranked up on the soundtrack and everyone looks marvelous as they nibble on the shared small plates and drink from the crafted libations menu.

That’s not to say that the food at MDV doesn’t have its moments, because it does.  And the service is top notch.  But this is more a great time out than a great restaurant.  And there is nothing wrong with that.

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DUMPLING FACTORY TOUR!

Dumplings. Oh so delicious. Is there a person out there who doesn’t love these wonderful pillows of joy? Every culture has their version, be they called ravioli or pierogi or momo or kreplach. So it was with great anticipation that The Monster was a guest of the CYR factory in Alhambra where one hundred and sixty one thousand dumplings are made per day for the Green Chopsticks label!

Our wonderful host and guide John took us through the entire factory, explaining how the dumplings are made and the fresh ingredients that go into them. CYR takes great pride in their terrific product and it was a ton of fun to take a piping hot dumpling (or ten) off the conveyor belt and plop it into The Monster’s mouth.  Savory and succulent!

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