Restaurant: Yanbian Restaurant [1, 2]
Location: 4251 W 3rd St. Los Angeles, CA 90004. (213) 383-5959
Date: October 15, 2014
Cuisine: Yanbian Chinese
Rating: Great food, incredible deal!
Yanbian is an autonomous prefecture in the borderlands between China and Korea. But like any place, it has its own regional cuisine, and LA, being rich in Asian culture has at least one restaurant specializing in the area. My Hedonist group has been going here 1-2 times a year forever, but this is my second visit.
This Koreatown hole-in-the-wall might not look like much, but the food is excellent and they did a great job handling our oversized party.
2007 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Clos Häuserer. 91 points. Nice dry riesling.
No restaurant with Korean influences would be without the Kimchee!
And this other spicy vegetable (left) and crunchy celery (right). Pretty tasty for celery.
This mild crunchy marinated vegetable.
2012 Dönnhoff Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spätlese. IWC 89. A subtle honeysuckle aroma blends with hyacinth and lime on the nose. Polished peachy fruit and a refined minerality drift across the palate. Delicate and eminently drinkable.
agavin: I thought this went very well with a lot of the spicy food.
Walnut shrimp. With their light fluffy fry and a nice hint of mustard in the sauce these were some great walnut shrimp.
From my cellar: 1996 Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques. IWC 91-94. Very saturated red-ruby. Bright, sweet black raspberry and cassis nose. Very sweet and intensely flavored, but bracing acidity gives the wine great dynamism and cut. Really explosive in the mouth. Very long, vibrant finish. Grand cru quality.
Sweet and sour pork. Sticky sweet and very fried this looks hideous but tastes great.
Potstickers. These are typical Chinese dumplings.
The tasty spicy sauce for the dumplings.
Shoestring potatoes. Like fried shaved potato. Kinda delicious.
Pork hock. Tender porky goodness.
Mountain potatoes and eggplant. Hot and savory.
It’s autumn, so fried pumpkin is in order. This wads pretty scrumptious with this heavy but fluffy fry.
2006 Kendall-Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon Highland Estates Trace Ridge. 92 points. Fabulous nose.. Solid finish.. Great wine.
Greens and tofu. Colon sweeper, but with a nice earthy flavor.
2011 Double Diamond (Schrader) Cabernet Sauvignon Bomber X. 90 points. Big & bold, lots of fruit and a little tannin. This wine could wait awhile.
Spicy fried chicken. This is one of those dry Hunan/Szechuan style dishes. Hot and delicious.
Potato “pizza”. A kind of giant latke with a spicy sauce.
Cabbage and pork. This had a fermented vinegar flavor.
2006 Alban Vineyards Syrah Reva Alban Estate Vineyard. IWC 94+. Glass-staining purple. Blackberry, boysenberry and licorice pastille on the nose, with mounting spice and floral notes and a strong wallop of cracked pepper. Deeply pitched black and blue fruit flavors expand with air and pick up strong spicecake and candied flower notes, along with velvety tannins. More backward than the Lorraine today, and showing a darker profile. The finish completely stains the palate and lingers with intense floral and spicy persistence. This is still a baby.
Spicy pork. See those peppers? They are real Szechuan peppers and they left the mouth and face numb!
And the sauce was great for soaking this “purple rice.” What makes it purple, I’m not sure. Some kind of bean?
Glass noodles. There is pork and celery in here. These were delicious.
Egg with tomatoes. Slightly sweet, a kind of Chinese omelet.
2001 Pride Mountain Vineyards Petite Sirah. 85 points. Our bottle seemed corked.
Purple fried rice. Anyone want a wafer thin mint?
Overall, Yanbian was great fun, great food, and all of the above was $30 a person! Including tax and a 35% tip! Wow! It’s really really good, and we had so many dishes I was full for the next 12 hours. People carted home some of this stuff.
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