PROFILE: L.A. Lunch’er “Nguyen” From Starry Kitchen
As is customary on Midtown Lunch, every Tuesday we’ll profile a random reader to get their recommendations for the best spots to lunch near their work. This week it’s Nguyen, who despite being the owner of one of the better lunch spots Downtown (Starry Kitchen) does a lot of amazing eating in Downtown and beyond.
Occupation: Pan-Asian Comfort Food Presenter/Poser + Level 3 – Janitorial Engineer
Where in L.A. do you Work?: The deep dark depths of the dingy dungeon called Starry Kitchen / DTLA – Financial District/California Plaza
Favorite Kind of Food: Most Pan-Asian / Asian
Least Favorite Kind of Food: Off the top of my head, Tibetan (which does fall into the Asian category), but I haven’t had anything I crave yet.. I’m always ready to be convinced otherwise
Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch: Fisherman’s Outlet (529 South Central Ave., Downtown) is one my FAVORITE blue collar paradises, and forget the fried stuff- get the grilled (to perfection) Sea bass drenched in their garlic butter seasoning. Chin-Ma-Ya (Weller Court, 123 Astronaut Ellison, Downtown): Tan-Tan-Men w/ Chicken Karaage (I swear, best karaage I’ve had… so damn crunchy.) Langers: not exactly DTLA, but close enough. #19 – Pastrami & Cole Slaw w/ Russian Style dressing sandwiched in a beautifully crispy & yet brittle bread… so good. Mendocino Farms (what, we can’t like a competitor? ^_^): DUDE, that secret PB&J sammie w/ the carmelized bananas… off the f’ing CHAIN. (Editor’s Note: Too bad they stopped serving it at the end of April!) Daikokuya: shredded pork w/ ramen combo (kotteri / extra fatty style)… actually my favorite things are the things leading up to the ramen – the cabbage salad/slaw w/ this AWESOME ginger sauce + the shredded pork bowl w/ a TON o’ ginger. Curry House (123 S Onizuka St, Downtown): Curry Pan + Extra-spicy Ginger Curry Rice… yuuuuum. Grand Central Market (317 South Broadway, Downtown): can’t remember the place, but there’s one on the side that serves a delicious heart attack of a Torta Cubano “uh huuuh.. pork, cheese, fried pork, tapatio and more meat = heart attack… yuuum” Pitfire Pizza: haven’t been to the one in DTLA, but assuming it’s the same… the freakin’ Burrata Pizza is NICE! And did I mention Fisherman’s Outlet??? :)
“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? Well, we serve lunch so I can’t go until the weekend, but recently it’s been Fisherman’s Outlet… been taking (i.e. MAKING) everyone meet me there. I just love it. it’s inexpensive seafood, fresh, fun and tastay!!!
The farthest place you’ll drive for lunch on a normal day? While I would like to say SD/Mexico (my wife would never let me do that), Orange County (Westminster + Irvine): Quan Hy (9727 Bolsa Ave, Westminster): awesome Bun Bo (Hue) & Banh Beo. Quan Hop (15640 Brookhurst St, Westminster): great filet mignon pho. Pho Thang Long (9550 Bolsa Ave, Westminster): one of the few places that opens LATE and I think might be the original “popular” filet mignon pho. Brodard (the original on 9892 Westminster Ave, Garden Grove): did someone say Vietnamese spring rolls??? Canton Restaurant (8550 Westminster Blvd, Westminster): their Cha Ca Thang Long (grilled dill + tumeric fish) is so good… light, nice and awesome in a wrap or w/ vermicelli. Fukada (8683 Irvine Center Dr, Irvine): who says surburbia doesn’t have their gems. This place is pretty (EFFIN) awesome. They make their own soba, and have awesome udon + donburi (Japanese comfort rice dishes)
If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Tokyo – ramen, curry, okonomiyaki (it’s like a Japanese SAVORY pancake), shabu-shabu (the good kind, none of that watery crap here in the US… sorry guys, they have like kimchi broths and stuff!), Japanese italian/french/american food and a sea of LIMITLESS soft drink machines w/ a million different permutations of liquid refreshment to quench my lunch-hungry thirst
Is there anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers in L.A.? It’s self-serving, but what do you guys like to eat that you feel might be under-represented in LA/SoCal or in the US (any cuisine)? We’d love to know.. that’s the inspiration for a lot of our dishes, lots of Asian comfort food only served in the homes and not necessarily many restaurants.
Got something you’d like to see served at Starry Kitchen? Put it in the comments, and as always if you would like to be next week’s Profiled: L.A. Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate), email me- firstname.lastname@example.org.