When it comes to the Filipino food movement in Los Angeles, which is reinventing the city's experience of the cuisine, there is one restaurant that stands out as the beacon of its most modern expression: LASA. Helmed by brothers Chase and Chad Valencia, LASA (the Tagalog word for flavor) can be found inside chef Alvin Cailan's culinary incubator Unit 120, operating as a long-term pop-up on weekend evenings. Inside the transformed space you'll find Dr. Dre playing on the stereo and patrons sipping San Miguel beer. Chase maintains the front of house with natural ease as Chad prepares the nightly offering in the kitchen. The tasting menu rotates monthly, featuring dishes such as red snapper kinilaw, a Filipino ceviche of sorts, with black plum, fermented Fresno chili, lemon cucumber and sugar cane vinegar; twice-cooked pork belly with smoky eggplant bagoong, summer vegetables and ampalaya powder; or a cassava cake of toasted fig leaf tres leches and black mission figs. While the menu may very well be different on your visit, it's safe to say the experience won't be.
Crispy duck arroz caldo at a previous LASA dinner; Credit: Paulo Rafael