Owner and CNN Hero, Bruno Serato, presents diners with variegated menus packed with Italian and seafood entrees prepared under the culinary eye of Executive Chef Eddie Meza. Bob for apples of dough with the gnocchi gorgonzola, with small potato and flour dumplings soaking up the flavor of tomato and gorgonzola sauce ($14.95 lunch; $19.95 dinner). The restaurant's signature dish, brasato piemontese, sports boneless beef short ribs braised in an italian barolo reduction for three hours and topped with a touch of horseradish and a dash of extravagance ($22.95 lunch; $30.50 dinner). Steamed salmon sweetens its style atop belgiun white chocolate mashed-potato purée ($23.95 lunch; $29.95 dinner), and the pesce bianco's sautéed whitefish inherits a spicy attitude by hanging around moroccan couscous and japanese peppers ($17.95 lunch only).
Those accustomed to traditional dim sum are in for a shock at Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant. Instead of ordering from standard steam carts, customers mark their order on a checklist and servers return with egg tarts—CNN Travel’s dessert of choice—or root veggie dumplings, a favorite of Los Angeles magazine.
Who said you can't have wings for breakfast? To be fair, those wings do come with eggs or waffles. At R&J Southern Home Cooking Restaurant, a prominent southern influence springs forth starting with the first meal of the day. It carries through the afternoon and culminates at dinnertime, when cooks presents diners with an eclectic spread of seafood and soul food. A quick peek at their cookbook reveals the source of this inspiration; rather than using the generic recipes found as prizes in cereal boxes, the restaurant relies on time-tested family favorites, including some recipes that originated in Louisiana and Arkansas. Those guidelines now fill the menu with authentic southern eats, including entrees such as smothered steak, catfish filets, and gumbo.
Elite Restaurant might seem like strictly dim sum and seafood at first, but regulars know that the real specialty is the egg custard tarts. Crispy on the outside with a not-too-sweet crust, the custard has inspired a cult following, according to LA Weekly.
Nestled in the building that previously housed renowned restaurant Ponchito, which drew celebrities and even former president Ronald Reagan, Mission 261 is steeped in culinary tradition and a history of lavish entertainment. The restaurant continues that legacy, regaling diners with extravagant performances by the Dancing Fire Dance Company. The dancers dazzle eyes with Tahitian, hula, samba, and LED Glow performances dressed in Vegas-show-style garb, and conclude the evening with a glowing LED-light finale. During these grand displays, guests feast on a Hawaiian buffet of coconut shrimp, huli-huli chicken, and fire-roasted kalua pig.
Though the chefs experiment with Hawaiian cuisine, their specialty is a menu of finely crafted Cantonese delicacies. Dim sum and tea fill out the lunch menu, followed by entrees such as bird's nest soup and braised abalone with oyster sauce at dinnertime. Diners can also opt for traditional Chinese favorites including kung pao chicken, Peking-style pork chops, and sauteed scallops with chili peppers.
Their dining room is as expansive as their menu, with a series of banquet rooms and an outdoor patio?marked by dramatic architecture and photo-ready d?cor?that host up to 800 diners. This makes Mission 261 a go-to choice for those planning a wedding, family reunion, or impromptu chariot race.
Food critic Jonathan Gold advises approaching Wang Xing Ji’s crab and pork buns “cautiously, as if an undiffused bomb.” Seasoned patrons will understand and heed his advice––though the dumplings’ steaming contents are tasty, it’s best not to bite until the near-boiling juices cool.