Best Do-It-Yourself Takeout - 2011
Chego - CLOSED
The first time you order to go at Chego and the cashier directs you to a rectangular holding cell near the kitchen, it's sort of befuddling. You survey the piles of napkins, sheets of tinfoil and biodegradable cardboard lids and think, "WTF?" The policy of having a customer bundle up her own takeout seems to flunk a Gilbrethian time-motion efficiency study. Does leaving you to box your Ooey Gooey Fries or 3 PM Meatballs really make Chego run that much faster? The answer is probably no, but is that the point? While you're waiting for your assigned number to be called, not only can you spy on the hustling line cooks in Chego's tiny kitchen but you also can breathe in an aromatic perfume made up of equal parts Chinese broccoli, Indonesian sambal, Thai basil and red jalapeno (the ingredients of your Sour Cream Henhouse). But the best part is that when you're in charge of packing up, you never arrive home with Buttered Kimchi Chow sloshing around the inside of your sodden brown paper sack because a restaurant staffer didn't secure the container properly, or find your order of Chubby Pork Belly missing and something you didn't want in its place. And when it comes to takeout, getting what you paid for is truly a blessing. 3300 Overland Ave., Palms. (310) 287-0337, eatchego.com.