Best Gyoza: Daikokuya
gyoza at Daikokuya
I know many purists who will not order gyoza, serene in the conviction that any restaurant dumpling can not compare to those they make (or their mothers make) in their own kitchens. But it would be a shame to forgo the gyoza at Daikokuya, that insanely popular Japanese noodle palace where you can find excellent ramen, possibly better rice bowls and a line out the various doors (there are four outposts) that could make even the bouncers at Red O happy.
Daikokuya's gyoza are the pan-fried variety, as opposed to the pale, boiled kind, and do not come crimped like little purses as most of them do, but folded into rectangular packets, their edges seared to crisp filigrees, their seasoned interiors dense and pork-heavy, a handful of thinly sliced scallions scattered over the top. And while they can be happily eaten in many contexts, perhaps the most fun is to order them at the narrow bar at the Monterey Park restaurant, where the line is almost acceptable, the loud shouts of the servers (in Japanese, of course) will reverberate above your head, and your tablemate will in all likelihood be a 5 or 6 year-old girl shouting "I want noodles." Don't we all.
Daikokuya: 111 N. Atlantic Blvd., Monterey Park. (626) 570-1930.