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 & March 16, 2018 and February 12, 2020
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.
But they did spend some bucks on the gigantic menu. It’s pretty much broad modern mainland Chinese with favorites, a lot of Shanghai and Beijing dishes.
Slightly spiced peanuts on the table to start.
Strawberry smoothie.Mango slushie. For some reason they don’t have boba!
Spicy Cold Cucumber Salad (2/12/20). Good crunch and a bit of garlicky spice.
Cold Spicy Chicken (2/12/20). Very nice. No bones, juicy meat, and a savory/sweet/spicy sauce with excellent flavor.
Xiao Lao Bao (XLB) pork soup dumplings (everytime). 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.
Sticky Rice Shu-Mai (2/12/20). Interesting carb on carb action as these felt like dumplings filled with brown sticky rice!
House Sauce Noodles w/ Pork. Translation leaves a bit to be desired.
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.
Pan-seared green chili pepper w/ minced pork black bean sauce (many times and 2/12/20). 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!
Fish, shrimp, crab, and squid with crab sauce and snake gourd (2/12/20). Snake Gourd turns out to just be a green Chinese squash. Nice light garlicky seafood mush with slightly crunchy vegetable.
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).
Spicy Beef with Tofu (3/16/18 and 2/12/20). Slightly spicy variant on the brown sauce. Nice texture with the firm bean curd. A touch salty.
Pork Belly with preserved vegetables (2/12/20). Meat was a touch dry and the vegetables not as salty/umami as they are in the best forms of this dish, but still enjoyable.
Cumin Lamb (2/12/20). Not very spicy, or massively cumined, but nice.
Pork with Leeks (2/12/20). Perhaps a twice cooked pork? Very nice smoked flavor and porky grease tone to the dish. Made the leeks delicious too.
On 2/12/20 I brought some gelato too:
Raspberry Sorbetto — French Raspberries and a touch of lime juice — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — Unusual for me to go so “straight” with my flavors but I wanted a complement to a complex flavor — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #sorbetto #raspberry
Crackerjack Gelato – Smooth Peanut Base with homemade Dulce de Leche Ribbon, Toffee Peanuts, and Caramel Popcorn! — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — oh my! — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #peanut #caramel #DulceDeLeche #Popcorn #CaramelCorn
In the bowl you can see that Dulce de Leche.
Wines from 2/12/20.
Overall, 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. It’s slightly Shanghai in style but with a lot of Beijing type and lightweight Szechuan dishes in the way that’s very popular in China now.
I do have to say that on my 2/12/20 visit the food had really sharpened up. It wasn’t perfect, or again as good as a very good “higher end” SGV place, but execution was pretty on point and we had many delicious dishes.
For more LA Chinese dining reviews click here.
Wines from 2/12/20: