Dear Mr. Gold:
My wife and I are having a hard time finding quality Chinese (especially dim sum) and Vietnamese restaurants on our side of town. For Asian food, the Westside seems like a wasteland. Any suggestions?
—Eric A., Mar Vista
I’ve tried — believe me, I’ve tried. But I still haven’t uncovered a good Chinese restaurant on the Westside, at least not good in the sense that you would apply to restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley. Hop Li is passable, but no more than that. I am grateful to Twin Dragon for feeding me through my teens, but there is nothing more than nostalgia flavoring the food these days. People tell me it is possible to eat well at Hu’s, but they must be ordering off a menu I’ve never seen. You’re just going to have to jump in the car. For even passable Vietnamese, you have to go at least to Koreatown, where the pho restaurants are basically interchangeable but humming the right tune — try Pho 2000 on Western. If you’re willing to broaden your scope to Southeast Asian food, I do like Jasmine, an Islamic Burmese restaurant on Sepulveda that I reviewed a few weeks ago, and there are a couple of decent Indonesian places on National in Mar Vista — Indo Cafe and the grungier, but possibly more haimish, Simpang Asia across the street.