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Chop Suey Cafe

347 E. First St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213-617-9990

Details

  • Sun.-Thu., 5-11 p.m.; Mon.-Thu., 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
  • $
  • Lunch, Dinner
  • Full bar
  • Patio/Sidewalk Dining, Takeout, Wifi Access
  • Street Parking
  • Reservations Accepted, Reservations Not Necessary
From 1935 until it faded away 50-odd years later, the Far East Cafe was a mainstay of the Little Tokyo neighborhood, with battered wooden booths, tall ceilings and a neon “Chop Suey’’ sign outside as grand as anything out of an Edward Hopper painting — also a reputation for unusually tired Chinese food. Freshly reopened, cobwebs scrubbed away but otherwise looking pretty much as it did in the mid-1980s, the redubbed Chop Suey Cafe seems to pick up just where the Far East left off: a mixed clientele of hipsters and old-timers eating sweet-and-sour pork flavored with one part vinegar, two parts nostalgia — there are probably dishes here you haven’t tasted since Richard Nixon was in office. As a re-creation of a culinary style that has been discredited for more than 30 years, the menu at Chop Suey Cafe does present some conundrums. Is the gray, cornstarch-thickened gravy on the cashew chicken a glitch or a feature? Is the steamed rice authentically gummy, or just gummy? But there is some funk in its step — the string beans stir-fried with ginger and garlic were quite good. Happy hour is a specialty. And if you are so inclined, Chop Suey Cafe is an aromatic, Chandler-esque place to kill an afternoon.

Related Stories (2)

  • Far East Building in Little Tokyo Gets Facelift
    Monday, September 12, 2011 at 3:08 p.m. by Elina Shatkin

    The Far East Building, home to the Chop Suey Café (a.k.a. the Far East Café) and some of the best neon signage in downtown Los Angeles, will be getting a facelift. Its brick walls, which were damaged in the 1994 Northr...

  • '80s Redux
    Wednesday, July 26, 2006 at 12 p.m. by Jonathan Gold

    From 1935 until it faded away 50-odd years later, the Far East Café was a mainstay of the Little Tokyo neighborhood, with battered wooden booths, tall ceilings and a neon “Chop Suey’’ sign outside as grand a...

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