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Restaurant recommendations, new openings, and highlights from the LA Chowhound community.

More of Mozza

Osteria Mozza, the long-awaited counterpart to Pizzeria Mozza, is finally open … but good luck getting in the door. As with the pizzeria after opening, the osteria is booked solid for the next month—call first thing in the morning for a reservation a month from that day. You can try your luck at the bar, where they offer the full menu and take walk-ins.

It’s a little more formal than Pizzeria Mozza, but not so much that you wouldn’t feel comfortable walking in on a whim and eating at the bar, says Dylan, who had dinner there and saw Mario Batali dining with his family, orange clogs and all, while Nancy Silverton worked the line in the kitchen.

There’s a selection of mozzarella appetizers, and among the pastas, first responders are raving about orecchiette with sausage and chard melting together in a satisfying combo; an ultrarich giant raviolo filled with ricotta and a soft egg yolk in brown butter sauce; and pasta with Bolognese sauce.

For secondi, standouts are lamb chops with Greek yogurt; fish stuffed with herbs and served whole; moist and flavorful pork; guinea hen; and spot prawns.

Side dishes are small but delicious, such as a custardy slow-cooked broccoli, small Yukon Golds that seemingly had been poached in chicken broth and then sautéed in olive oil, and the spinach.

There’s a cheese course, and impressively interesting desserts including almond cornette, an almond croissant infused with floral syrup and served with an intense stewed plum; frozen Greek yogurt, like Mozza’s take on Pinkberry; olive oil gelato; and bomblini fritters—mini beignets served with raspberry coulis.

Wine list is all Italian, nothing local, but it looks good. Like at the pizzeria, you can order by the carafe for a few glasses rather than a whole bottle.

Osteria Mozza [Hollywood]
6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles

Board Links: Opening night at Osteria Mozza
I got my Osteria Mozza reservation!

Luck of the Draw

Formerly a Korean-Chinese joint across the street from hound favorite ice creamery Scoops, Pure Luck has changed hands and is now a pub with Fat Tire ale and other good beers on tap, plus … vegan appetizers.

No word on the food, but the beer is tops and the place works great as a neighborhood pub, says Normal Garciaparra.

Pure Luck [Hollywood]
707 N. Heliotrope Drive, Los Angeles

Board Link: The Pure Luck in East Hollywood

The Great White Loaf

Sometimes poptisserie craves the springy sweetness that only a processed white bread can offer. But that doesn’t mean Wonder Bread. Asian bakeries specialize in this stuff, and some of the best comes from Cream Pan, where the loaves are ethereally light.

Décor, a bakery inside 99 Ranch Market (warning: It’s not inside every 99 Ranch) makes a wonderful light bread out of some special wheat, says WHills. Also, Kee Wah Bakery has good, very fluffy bread that’s sliced double the thickness of a regular slice.

Try catching the bread at Diho Bakery fresh off the cooling rack, at about 9:45 a.m., advises arisu. It’s great even plain. A huge loaf will set you back $2.75.

Speaking of fresh off the rack, for fresh croissants hit the Frances bakery between 8:45 and 9 a.m., says gomagoma.

Cream Pan [Orange County]
602 El Camino Real, Tustin

Décor [Multiple locations]
99 Ranch Market

Kee Wah Bakery [Multiple locations]

Diho Bakery [Orange County]
14130 Culver Drive #J, Irvine

Frances [Little Tokyo]
404 E. Second Street (Honda Plaza), Los Angeles

Board Link: Asian Bakery with the softest, fluffiest, light as a cloud loaf of bread

Sea Smoke Signals in SGV

If you like wine with your Chinese food, stop by Wing Hop Fung when you’re in San Gabriel Valley, suggests mssreatalot, whose mention of the “big selection” of Sea Smoke Pinot Noirs set connoisseurs buzzing. There’s an impressive selection, reflecting a growing interest in wine on the part of the Chinese community.

There’s something for every budget, but the majority of wines are red, and on the moderately to very expensive side, says monkuboy. He did, however, stumble onto a tasting of three sparkling wines for $3.

As for the Sea Smoke, it may not be that hard to find, but wine shops sell out of it pretty quickly. The Southing goes for $75 at Wing Hop Fung, and the Ten is $110.

Wing Hop Fung [Chinatown]
727 N. Broadway #102, Los Angeles

Wing Hop Fung [San Gabriel Valley]
725 W. Garvey Avenue, Monterey Park

Board Link: Wing Hop Fung Wine!!

This Must Be Plov

Bring your friends and get ready for a Central Asian feast at Uzbekistan, says Woolsey.

Go for the Uzbek bread, a hybrid of yeast bread and biscuit that comes with herbed cream cheese. It would be great just with a salad—the Asiatic Delight, mounds of shredded carrot with roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant in a dill-heavy vinaigrette, is indeed delightful. (Assorted pickled vegetables also go great with the bread and a beer, adds Henry2054.) Samsa is the Central Asian version of a samosa, a flake pastry filled with chunks of lamb and onions, lightly spiced. The same filling is found in parmuda, baked buns dusted with sesame seeds. Pass on the crêpelike blinis with salmon “caviar,” though.

Shashlik is just another version of kebabs, but Uzbekistan’s lamb shashlik is well flavored and perfectly tender. It comes with roasted zucchini and a potato that somehow seems like a single giant french fry.

Plov is the national dish of Uzbekistan, sweet stewed lamb piled atop rice loaded with shredded carrots, some whole peppercorns, and the odd chickpea. A vinegary, slightly sweet carrot-and-cabbage slaw comes on the side.

A nice assortment for five people, without alcohol, comes to about $20 apiece.

Uzbekistan [Hollywood]
7077 W. Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles

Board Link: Uzbekistan: Lunch with Borat’s Neighbors

Good Times for Guys and Dals

The menu in the window at the 23rd Street Café lists mostly Mexican dishes, but this place near USC is a great find for unpretentious and delicious home-style Punjabi food, says AmarV.

Matter paneer is a vegetarian’s delight, spicy and full of flavor, with plenty of paneer. Aloo gobi is also tasty, with fresh, slightly crunchy cauliflower pieces contrasting with tender potato. Raita seems to be made with homemade curds, plus just the right amount of veggies and spices. Both the rice and dal are tasty enough to eat on their own. Lassi is one of the more authentic versions around, properly watery rather than an Indian-style milkshake, and tasting of homemade yogurt.

Chicken curry is delicious, and shane murgh (marinated roast chicken) is tasty, with ginger, cumin, and chile, but it’s on the dry side. Samosas are better than many in LA, but not amazing—just nice, crisp skin enclosing a flavorful blend of potatoes and peas with a good kick to the seasonings.

The naan, unfortunately, is reheated rather than freshly made—there’s no tandoor oven in this place.

23rd Street Café [Downtown]
936 W. 23rd Street, Los Angeles

Board Link: Delicious Home-style Punjabi Food

Whole Lotta Hunanese Joints Opening Up

Hunanese restaurants are rising again in the SGV, with two new places in San Gabriel, notes Chandavkl. Both Hunan Mao Jia and Fortune Bistro have a full menu of spicy Hunanese specialties.

Although Fortune Bistro can easily be mistaken for a Hong Kong coffee shop (especially since it’s right across the street from the former Fortune Grill, an HK coffee shop), it’s straight-up Hunanese all the way, heavy on the salt and plenty of spices, says ipsedixit. Even the dishes that aren’t marked as spicy on the menu seem to have pepper lobbed in for fun. Smoked duck is good, as are fried chicken dishes. Cold dishes are solid, but no word on the stinky tofu.

Hunan Mao Jia [San Gabriel Valley]
Shopping center at NE corner of Valley Boulevard and New Avenue, San Gabriel

Fortune Bistro [San Gabriel Valley]
545 W. Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel

Board Link: Two New Hunan Style Restaurants In San Gabriel

Sawtelle’s New Sushi Sweet Spot

The lunch menu at Yuzando, which replaced Sushi Tenn on Sawtelle, definitely does it better, says ming, who declares, “This may just become our favorite west side sushi lunch spot over Mori, Kiriko, and Echigo (It is, of course, no match for Sushi Gen’s lunch special…but what is?)”

Sushi-sashimi combo ($18.50) comes with one piece each of ebi, salmon, tuna, and yellowtail sushi; three pieces each of albacore and salmon sashimi; and two pieces each of tuna, yellowtail, and snapper sashimi. The fish is fresh, the cuts generous. There’s also an eel and avocado cut roll.

Chirashi comes with a similar assortment of sashimi, plus kanpachi and flying fish roe. It’s really good, but a bit pricey for chirashi (also $18.50).

Yuzando [West LA]
2004 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles

Board Link: Yuzando (Sawtelle) Sushi Lunch

Great Chinese in the Far East … of the SGV

When people talk about great Chinese food in the SGV, West Covina doesn’t usually leap to mind. But one little gem should, says calabasas_trafalgar, calling Beijing Cuisine Garden the best northern Chinese restaurant since Tung Lai Shun (which recently closed after its conversion to a Taiwanese restaurant didn’t really take).

The cuisine in question is northern, but not Islamic, so plenty of pork is on offer. That’s in addition to, not instead of, the usual TLS-esque offerings. Try the beef roll, a burritolike wrap of spiced beef and cilantro, says monkuboy, who’s also a fan. And pineapple shrimp fried rice, while not typically northern Chinese, is delish.

Beijing Cuisine Garden [Inland LA]
965 S. Glendora Avenue, West Covina

Board Link: Beijing Cuisine Garden

Plot Points

Need a meeting point halfway between you and your friend in Pasadena? Looking for a great restaurant in your own ’hood? psyber has done a great thing for all Chowhoundkind by translating the annual (unofficial) favorite-restaurants poll into a map, with restaurants color-coded by price.

To avoid clutter, though, the popular but increasingly ubiquitous King Taco and Zankou Chicken have been left out.

Green = $
Yellow = $$
Cyan = $$$
Blue = $$$$
Magenta = $$$$$
Gold $ = Urasawa = $$$$$$

Board Link: Google Map of Chowhound Ultimate Los Angeles Restaurants