Where the Chefs Eat is an ongoing series in which we ask a local chef to give us his or her favorite dining options. This week, we check in with Jeff Mahin, chef/partner of Stella Barra Pizzeria and M Street Kitchen, for the six spots he frequents when he's not slaving away in his own restaurants.
"I live right down the street from this place and I'm there at least once a week. They have the best hot and sour soup in L.A. -- always adding a little extra vinegar and white pepper which makes a big difference. They do a little bit of both Korean and Chinese dishes. Take for instance their kimchi fried rice, which is another go-to of mine."
5. Cinco Puntos
"This is really more of a market than a restaurant, but I go for there for the tacos. There are some amazing women making tortillas by hand and cooking them on a 20-foot comel. I usually just grab a few tacos and eat them out in the parking lot. The market has great herbs, spices and other Mexican products."
"The food here is very simple; good yet well thought out. One of my favorites is the chopped arugula salad, and any of their bowls. They also have one of the best patios in LA. You feel like you're in someone's house. Overall, this is the way I like to eat."
3. Sushi Zo
"There's not a menu. You just come in and the chef asks you what you like and what you don't, then serves you until you tell them to stop. The fish is cooked and cut perfectly and the sushi rice is perfectly warm. The chef takes a lot of pride in making nigiri."
"They have the best eel in the world. It's marinated in gochujang, and then grilled. It's absolutely fantastic! The seared cow's tongue and octopus is also really good."
"The wood grilled vegetables are awesome and have a unique flavor profile -- more composed and nice balance of flavor. Also, I'm a sucker for crab and their Dungeness crab tagliatelle hits the spot every time. Plus, their staff and management team is really awesome."