This month, with its outrageous temperatures, might not be the greatest time to launch a lasagna-focused restaurant. But when you learn that Chinatown's newest creation, Secret Lasagna, delivers till 3 a.m., it starts to make a lot of sense.
The pop-up restaurant/takeout spot/delivery service, which officially launches July 19, is taking a cue from Unit 120's rotating takeout window in Far East Plaza, the current center of excitement in Chinatown's food world. Secret Lasagna is located in Mandarin Plaza, which doesn't yet have the same culinary pedigree. (It was home to Pok Pok, the much-maligned, then ignored, Thai restaurant with good food and a branding problem.)
This concept is much more in keeping with Chinatown's current low-budget, experimental ethos. The chef behind the food, Royce Burke, has worked at Chimney Coffee, one of L.A.'s low-key gems, and if all goes well, his casseroles, vegetable sides and lamb/beef blend burger will be just as good as the food there.
The lasagna comes in two varieties, sausage and vegan with mushrooms and tofu; there's also a duck casserole with broccoli and gouda. There are a few other items on the menu, all hearty, filling dishes that won't seem too heavy in the middle of a summer night. The lasagna can be ordered by the pan, too … you know, if you're “having a party.” And there are tots. This could all work out pretty nicely.
970 N. Broadway, Unit 114, Chinatown; secretlasagna.com.