Best Vietnamese Experience: Crustacean
Whether it’s the tableside nitrogen ice cream, chef Tony Nguyen’s smoking tuna cigars or matriarch chef Helene An greeting each guest personally, there is no better experience than Crustacean Beverly Hills. The indoor/outdoor bar features dramatic seasonal drinks like the Emperor’s Favorite, made with Empress gin, blueberry lavender, fresh lemon juice and crème Yvette. Check in for the Red Hour on Wednesdays for live entertainment.
Master chef An came to the U.S. in 1971 as a Vietnam war refugee who lost her family fortune when she was given hours to get on a flight out of Saigon. When she landed at Camp Pendleton, she knew one family member in San Francisco and headed north with her young daughters in tow. Soon, she was working three jobs including one in a small Italian deli owned by her mother in law, Diana An. Slowly, she enticed guests into trying Vietnamese dishes and eventually turned the restaurant into Thang Long, the first Vietnamese restaurant in the United States.
With an eight-month-long, 10-million-dollar extensive renovation to the modern Vietnamese restaurant behind her, An together with Nguyen will be opening the long-awaited Dat Lat Rose upstairs at the end of October. A ticket-only gastro-biography of An’s storied career, the elegant space will feature a Vietnamese tasting menu, much of it presented as a performance art of cuisine at the table. —Michele Stueven
468 N. Bedford Drive, Beverly Hills; (424) 303-8108, crustaceanbh.com.
Best Breakfast Burrito in the San Fernando Valley: Sloane’s Valley Village
Located in the former Russian Dacha space and next door to the historic, frozen-in-time Valentine Recording Studios, Sloane’s feels like a neighborhood joint you’d find in 1960s Laurel Canyon, with an affordable and approachable menu. Charming and rustic, the restaurant’s indoor/outdoor entry is draped with a large bougainvillea, paired with delicate hanging plants, mismatched chairs and handcrafted benches lining white stone walls. You can hear Joni Mitchell singing in the background.
Owner Bobby Montes has taken the breakfast burrito to a mind-blowing level. Served all day with the perfect egg to filling ratio, Montes’s version is is made with a flour tortilla generously stuffed with your choice of crispy pork belly, bratwurst or fried cauliflower, American and cheddar cheeses, jalapeños, and unlike any other breakfast burrito in the valley, adds crispy hash browns and two oozy eggs over medium instead of scrambled inside. Pair that with a Barney Flats oatmeal stout float. Popular with locals and the neighboring studios, between dining in, take out, pick-up and delivery Sloane’s sells about 100 of the bulging cylinders every weekend. —Michele Stueven
5338 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village; (818) 509-5828, sloanesrestaurant.