Originally, we had reservations to try out Mario Batali's Pizzeria Mozza, but due to being stuck on I10 aka "the parking lot", we had to call the restaurant to cancel. Let's just say the lady at the other end of the phone was not impressed with our cancellation (talk about attitude). Anyways, with the interchange of the I405 approaching, I remembered that we had missed eating at ROC a week ago. So off the freeway onto surface streets we went...
Seeing how many have boasted about their Xiao Long Bao, we got an order to start. These featured a thin, yet firm skin not unlike Din Tai Fung. There was a decent amount of soup which was sweet while not displaying any real distinctive flavours. The meat filling was moist and not overly fatty. Not as good as DTF, but pretty good nonetheless. Next up was the Ox Tail & Beef Noodle Soup. We thought this was pretty good with a spicy soup that was fairly flavourful and wide noodles that were chewy. There was a significant hit of star anise which was probably due to the big ox-tail (residual stewing liquid). As much as the slices of beef were sufficiently tender, the ox-tail was pretty stringy.
We got an order of the Stir-Fried Rice Cake for the kiddies and it was pretty interesting as we've never had it prepared in such a "light" manner. It was as if there was not enough wok heat that the flavours didn't have a chance to caramelize. Furthermore, there was an overabundance of veggies which probably led to the lack of rich flavours. The rice cake itself was soft and chewy though. On the other hand, the 3 Cup Chicken was full of impact, in particular, the level of sweetness. There was some tang and aromatics to go with it though. The chicken itself was a touch dry, but went well with the complimentary bowl of rice.
Lastly, we had the Gai Lan and it was downright terrible. It was older than an 80's one-hit wonder featuring discolored leaves and super chewy dynamics. We were not sure why they even served it as it was pretty clear from the visuals that it was past its prime. But other than that, the food was pretty acceptable and the XLBs offered up respectability. Not the cache as a Mario Batali restaurant, but it served to satisfy our Chinese food cravings while we escaped traffic purgatory (Elaine was still stuck on the I405 after we got back to the hotel!).
- Respectable XLBs
- Friendly service
- Okay pricing
- Smallish portions
- What's up with the crappy gai lan?