QUESTION: I’m trying to find a restaurant to go to for Thanksgiving dinner. Could you recommend a restaurant or two that does a traditional but interesting Thanksgiving menu?
ANSWER: Traditional? The Tick Tock is long gone. Hotel restaurants are too stuffy. And I actually ate the $4.99 turkey dinner at Norm’s one Thanksgiving — I don’t recommend it. Joachim Splichal has traditionally decreed Thanksgiving dinner in all the far-flung outposts of his empire, and you could do worse than the pumpkin bisque and chestnut-stuffed farm-raised turkey breast on offer in his new, Gehry-designed Patina at Disney Hall.
But the most intriguing holiday menu of the year has to be the Thanksgiving Day banquet at Mission 261, the spectacular new Hong Kong-style restaurant that occupies San Gabriel’s old City Hall. For about what you’d spend at Patina on a bottle of California Cabernet, you can feed 10 people at Mission 261 — on lobster and turkey salad, filet of turkey steamed with cured ham and black mushrooms, fried noodles with turkey, sweet corn pudding, and six other courses of spike sea cucumber, shark fin, surf clams and the like. Your grandmother probably never got around to steaming turkey rolls with bamboo pith or simmering turkey and top conpoy into soup, but then again, that’s rather the point. 261 S. Mission Dr., San Gabriel, (626) 588-1666.