Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What Was I Waiting For?

An epicenter of LA's Asian noodle scene JTYH, parked in a Rosemeade mini-mall. It seems like years since I first read rave reviews of the knife cut noodles at this unassuming, friendly place.
Much like I saw in China -- as we walked in a woman was dutifully rolling dumpling skins and filling delicious pockets we'd soon be thinking about ordering.

I was hoping for the crisp sesame seed covered buns I grew to love in Shanghai (still have not found them in the states). Eric, a wiling partner in a cuisine exploration -- especially if it involves noodles, and I started with these pan-fried buns. Other than delicious I am not at all sure what the crunchy crust was, but it made a welcome contrast to the doughy, somewhat wonder-bready exterior. Eric declared these the same as he had tasted in Vancouver (another city with great Asian food). The filling was flavorful and juicy but with so much dough it's hard to get a real taste of it. I am still searching for my Shanghai style dumplings.
Although we came for the noodles this spicy dish stole my heart. From the look of the other tables in the room, everyone felt the same. Crispy, piquant, barely meaty lamb ribs showered in scallions and chili peppers. Honestly this was a first for me and I am already craving a return visit. A dish worth traveling for. Delicious.
The house specialty, knife cut noodles. To creates this insanely popular dish a ball of dough is held over a pot while the chef shaves pieces off into the boiling water. The resulting fresh dumplings are generally stir-fried or served in soup. Eric and his wife Shari shared a dish of knife cut noodles with cumin while working in Vancouver and we have been on a search for a similar dish ever since. We have found the noodles, which were chewy and delicious, but the cumin sauce search continues. These noodles get high marks though -- great texture, taste, and just a bit of slip.
Onion pancake. A standard dish served in so many restaurants it's almost a test taste. Admittedly I skipped it -- I just couldn't stay away from the lamb ribs and noodles.
A little green for the table. Not remarkable but tasty "chinese vegetable." I'm not 100% sure what it was but the hint of bitterness was a nice contrast to the fattier dishes.
JTYH has been there waiting for me serving great food for a while. I'm not sure what took me so long. Maybe it's just so poplar with LA eaters I doubted it's greatness. But it is exactly the kind of place I love. No pretension, no fuss, just great food at the right price. Extravagant dinner for two (with food for 3 easily) $32. Thanks Eric.

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