I really wanted to like Chop Suey Cafe in Little Tokyo.
With beautiful neon signage outside and cherry wood enclosures with 1930s-vintage wooden chairs inside, you're brought back to days gone by.
With its detailed restoration, Chop Suey Cafe is truly a gift back to the community - a community that once made the former Far East Cafe the main cultural center pre-World War II.
With rumors of Chop Suey Cafe being a favorite haunt of author, Raymond Chandler, one wonders what ideas he may have come up with for his novels while dining there.
There's a lot to like about Chop Suey Cafe. Unfortunately, I can't say that about their food.
Dining with two friends on a Monday night, only the small plates menu was available so we ordered 6 different dishes. We started off with the shitake potstickers which consisted of a wrapper that was too chewy and a filling that was really dry.
Unfortunately, what came next was worse - curry beef wontons that were over-fried with beef filling that had no flavor, let alone the curry flavor we were expecting.
The "Thai" Scotch eggs which were deep fried eggs with tamarind sauce was an improvement. There was a nice tang to the tamarind sauce, but the egg yolks were a little too dry.
Next came the grilled black cod with miso. One bite was enough for me. It was just too fishy.
The Jakarta hot wings had a nice spike of spicy flavor to the chicken skin but the crisp factor was missing plus the same running theme existed in that the dark meat which should be moist was again dry.
Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel was the "Green Lotus Cake" which is basically a round stack of crab, salmon, tomatoes and avocado. The presentation was very pretty plus the dish offered some much needed moisture to the meal.
It's been awhile since I've been so disappointed in a restaurant and even though I really am thankful that the current owners put so much time, money and effort in bringing this restaurant back to life, the food has to count for something, too. Unfortunately, I won't be making a return visit anytime soon.
To see pics, go to:
Chop Suey Cafe
347 East 1st
Angeles, CA 90012