Restaurant: Tasty Noodle House
Location: 2117 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025. (424) 248-3232
Date: November 27 & December 15, 2017 and January 5 & February 23, 2018
Cuisine: Shanghai Chinese
Rating: Large menu modern Chinese Cafe
Sawtelle Blvd is on fire and has 4-5 new opening in the last 2 months. One of the latest is Tasty Noodle House which is a very Chinese, SGV style, modern Chinese cafe. Pretty much appealing to 20 year old Chinese — and me. A bunch of these new openings are actually Chinese so the street focus is drifting from all Japanese to pan-Asian.
I think it used to be the Okonomiyaki place.The interior looks exactly like all these cheaper Chinese places on the street. Basically how to get a hint of decor while spending the least money possible.
Slightly spiced peanuts on the table to start.
Xiao Lao Bao (XLB) pork soup dumplings. These are the best XLB I’ve had on the westside. They were considerably better than at nearby ROC which actually specializes in them. They had a tastier filling. You add the vinegar and soy sauce to the ginger bowl above.
Pan fried Shanghai Dumplings. These are the breadier, more fried version of the pork soup dumplings — awesomely tasty too.
Mixed up. I enjoyed this dish a lot. The sauce is very sweet with a broad bean base and a TON of pork. If you mixed in a cup of Szechuan chili oil, some sesame paste, and used less sauce it would basically be a dan dan mein. I’m not sure they have real dan dan here. I’ll look next time. But this one, despite being sweet, did have a flavor profile I really liked. Noodles were a touch thin.
Plain noodles for my son.Pan-seared green chili pepper w/ minced pork black bean sauce. Probably the same sauce as the house special noodles, but delicious just the same. I really liked this dish.Prawn with spicy minced pork sauce noodle soup. The soup itself is a mild light pork broth like a super mild cabbage ramen. Actually fairly tasty.Then the prawns come on the side like this. The sauce for the prawns is that goopy, garlicky, slightly spicy sauce that is often used for shrimp and I LOVE. It went well enough in the soup, but I will have to get this dish in a variant with lots of the sauce over rice on a return trip.
And here it is a few weeks later, the full sized prawns doused in sauce all by themselves (comes with a bowl of rice on the side) — yum!
Spicy fish filet and tofu with rice (2/23/18). Pretty much similar to the Szechuan boiled dish below, but a sauce over rice. Almost more successful in this format, I enjoyed the soft textures.
Fish Fillet & Beef w/ Spicy Sauce. This is a Szechuan dish, but it’s not really a Szechuan place. There was plenty of garlic, but not much mala. The chili oil was too one note for my taste, it should have been fried with aromatics. So this dish turned out to be like a 6/10 for it’s type (which is a very typical Szechuan type). They actually have a better one across the street at Popcorn Chicken (and that one isn’t that great either). But as I said, this isn’t a Szechuan restaurant and you can bet the chef isn’t central Chinese (but more likely from Shanghai or Taiwan).
Overall, and I’ll have to be back for more dishes, I’m glad to have so many real Chinese dishes move to the westside. This is a cafe style restaurant, like Northern Cafe, and as such has more casual cooking at a lower level than a big menu more “dinner” restaurant like Beijing Tasty House. But it’s very welcome because it gives yet another great option to an already awesome area.