Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Rate-A-Restaurant, #152 in a series
(Flickr photo by Freakpower.)
Restaurant: Mao's Kitchen
Location: 7313 Melrose (Melrose/La Brea)
Type of restaurant: Chinese
We stipulated: Taking a break from all the strike news, looking for something on the way back to the office -- and have been meaning to try Mao's Kitchen for a while.
They stipulated: Parking -- a rarity on Melrose -- is available, particularly at lunch; Mao's is also, handily, open until midnight. Strangely, entrees with tofu cost more than chicken or beef. Less strangely, entrees with shrimp or fish also cost more.
(Flickr pic by Cabayarea.)
What I ordered: Lunch $7.50 special: Sichuan eggplant (above, sweet & spicy wok-sauteed young eggplant, with choice of protein -- in this case, chicken); also comes with sweet and sour soup (tofu, tomato, wod-ear mushrooms and delicate egg in spicy vegan broth) and Beijing spring roll (fried vegetarian roll filled with seasoned cabbage, celery and carrot)
High point: That lunch special is amazing. I had enough of the eggplant dish to eat as a second lunch the next day! The food was pretty good, particularly the eggplant (although it was a little too saucy). Decor was a cool, red-tinged minimalist take on post-revolution China.
Low point: Service was terribly slow, which was particularly frustrating because the restaurant was mostly empty. Also, the brown rice was crunchy, forcing us to switch to the white.
Overall impression: Glad we tried it; glad the Venice Beach restaurant has finally made it a bit east, so that we could finally try it ourselves.
Chance we will go back: Absolutely, it's a new "where to go when we don't know where to go" spot.
(For more than 150 restaurant reviews, visit Franklin Avenue's companion Rate-A-Restaurant site.)
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