A new restaurant opened this week in Silver Lake in the same strip mall as the endlessly hip Trois Familia. Run by a partner in the rapidly expanding Sticky Rice empire, Fat Dragon is a small, counter-service restaurant serving a variety of Hong Kong–inspired tea drinks and a food menu described by an employee as “sort of Cantonese.”

That menu is pretty interesting for the Chinese food enthusiasts among us. Five-spice quail, homemade wontons and pork jowl stir-fry with dried tofu and vegetables are much more complex dishes than what you might expect out of a location that was previously a doughnut shop. But the restaurant is going all in on the culinary front: The owners are planning to offer Dungeness crab on the weekends.

There are American Chinese crowd-pleasers on the menu, too, just elevated a touch: The orange chicken is made with birds from the chef-favorite ranch Mary's Chickens, while the nuts in the honey walnut shrimp are candied in the kitchen.

Drinks make up almost half the menu (which might create some customer confusion — can we write our screenplays here?) and include milk teas, green teas infused with fruit, and purported health tonics such as goji-honey-ginseng.

This particular Silver Lake strip mall resisted yupster-fication for a long time, but between Trois Familia, the newly pivoted El Cochinito, which is reaching out to a younger clientele, and now Fat Dragon, the food on this block has become a lot more interesting. Of course, there is still a Domino's storefront, which isn't going anywhere now that marijuana is legal, and a Baskin Robbins, because no one says no to Jamoca Almond Fudge.

But first, mapo tofu.

3500 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake. (323) 667-9193, fatdragonla.com.

LA Weekly