Pan-fried dumplings at the new ROC on Sawtelle.
Two new restaurants on Sunset Boulevard. Right next to each other at Sunset Plaza Drive. THE CHURCH KEY at 8730 Sunset Blvd. on the ground floor of the Sunset Tower Bldg. is now open; it is a large and elegant eatery. Just wonderful, with its roving food carts and unique menu. (See my Huffington review of last week.) And in the location which once housed Le Dome and then BLT Steak, Victor Drai is about to open his RARE by Drai's (8720 Sunset Blvd.) featuring "the sexiest steaks in L.A," though I haven't yet determined what constitutes a sexy steak. (Juicy, rare, delicious?) Also worthy of a major review when it opens in mid-December. These are just another reason we are blessed by living in the most vibrant community in the country....
Like most gentlemen of a certain age, I am rather fixed in my habits, regularly shopping for groceries at the Trader Joe's near LaCienega on Santa Monica Blvd. and then going to the upscale Pavilion's down the street. This week, as I was driving from one to the other, I saw a sign for a new, small restaurant called "The Bossy Wife." at 8719 Santa Monica Blvd., (310-435-2724) and I pulled into the parking lot right next to it. Any restaurant with that name deserved a look....and what I discovered was a truly enchanting little shop serving breakfast and lunch. In addition to the regular such menu items (burgers, eggs), it had a few Indonesian dishes on the menu. I met the smiling young woman who runs it, Mariannne Rumantin, an Indonesian girl who just moved here from Melbourne with her Australian husband (who gave her the name for the restaurant.) We may do a full review shortly but I indulged in several Indonesian dishes cooked up by jovial Caribbean-born chef Akeila. There's a dish called Mie Mie ($10) which was a large bowl of Indonesian chicken noodles served with mushrooms and bok choy, delicious, I then went for the Crouching Tiger ($15), a grilled salmon with teriyaki sauce and steamed rice. Excellent. My neighbor at the outside table raved about the Outback ($17), a large plate of four grilled lamb chops, and I tasted his roast potatoes and marveled. Having had three somewhat bossy wives, I appreciated the humorous name, but also appreciated the loving effort and marvelous fare coming out of the little kitchen. Great waffles, eggs, smoothies and the like. I will be back here often on my regular shopping expeditions...
Marianne Humantir is the Indonesian woman who has opened The Bossy Wife.
NONNA Empanadas has 47 varieties on display at any one time.
The empanadas are baked, not fried, so they are not greasy.
We are preparing a new review of NONNA'S EMPANADAS which is at 8570 W. Third Street, two blocks east of Cedars-Sinai at Sherbourne Drive. You may recall that we wrote the first review of this wonderful little empanada shop when it opened. Since then, they have expanded their selection of empanadas from around the world to feature over 40 varieties of these delicious little filled-pies plus now offering sandwiches and frozen packages of pies to go. And they deliver (310-385-0445). Oh, my, I go crazy when I come here after visiting my doctors across the way. I always end taking a half-dozen of the beef pies home..they are filled with ground beef, onions, red pepper, olives and egg, and only cost $2.95 apiece. But I have discovered so many other choice ones that I will be returning soon for anothe dozen....including dessert empanadas and their soon-to-appear Mexican churros. Remember, these savory delights are baked (not fried) fresh every morning...use only prime fillings, and make a wonderful appetizer for parties and such. Once you stop in, you will become a devoted fan like me...
The dumplings are served in a steamer container.
Shanghai soup dumplings are the most popular item on the menu.
I recently wrote an article for Style Magazine about what has been called the world's best Chinese dumpling restaurant, Din Tai Fung, which is located in Arcadia and is opening next Spring at the wondrous South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. But I expressed a desire for such an eatery closer to home on the Westside..and my dream has been answered! ROC (2049 Sawtelle Blvd, two blocks south of Olympic Blvd.), humorously named for Republic of California, which has opened to much acclaim. No wonder, it is a sensational Chinese dumping and noodle restaurant which can be so addictive you will find yourself going a few times a week if possible. One of my Huffington fans, Jill Kossow, took me there for lunch, and I already am looking forward to my next visit this week. Shanghai Soup Dumplings are the epitome of handcrafted dumplings, and here they have pork, Dungeness crab and pork, lobster and pork (my favorite), shrimp andpork, seafood ..ranging from $7.25 to $12. for 8 pieces. Scallion pancakes ($4.50), steamed pork or vegetable buns ($3.75), fried rice with various fillings ($11.25 to $12). Lots of seasonal vegetables (all $7.50) and then some specialties. Crispy Pork Chop ($10.75), Pepper Beef ($14.75), Sauteed Shrimp with shishito peppers ($13.50). Oh m, this is such a wonderful find. See for yourself, and if you see a white-bearded old gent stuffing himself, it will probably be me.
To subscribe to Jay Weston's Restaurant Newsletter ($70 for twelve monthly issues) email him at email@example.com.