Caveat that I haven’t paid a lot of attention to Westside Chinese news lately, but I don’t recall seeing or reading on the board that Dry hot pot being available at the newer Chinese places on the Westside.
At any rate. iFood Chinese (I know, ) is located on Sepulveda and National in the Vons shopping center. It took over a generic steam table Chinese place in between Vons and the photo place on the south end of the mall.
I saw the Grand opening sign and out of curiosity popped in and grabbed a menu. What caught my eye immediately was the house special listing of Dry hot pot.
This is a low key place that has a half dozen plastic fold up tables seating four to a table. The kind of tables you grab at costco and throw in the back of your car for a picnic. After reading the menu at home, we immediately decided to go the next time we wanted a quick low fuss meal.
We ordered the green onion pancake, cumin beef, dry hot pot with chicken and the spicy beef noodles.
Green onion pancake
Not bad. Not greasy, crispy, decent layering, but the flavor was only okay. Not a lot of green onion taste. Still for the $3.49 price, it was a good deal to scratch the itch.
Cumin beef, $12
Liked this. again, not greasy. Good balance of flavors, tender beef and good sized portion
Finally the chicken dry hot pot, $16. This came out last and it definitely took a while. It was placed on top of a brazier to keep warm, although the flame went out mid meal.
Generous portions of lotus root and chicken, it also had potatoes and cauliflower with the bean sprouts hiding at the bottom. The bottom of the bowl had a healthy amount of oil but everything above it was crispy and not greasy. Unfortunately we thought the chicken was heavily salted. The seasoning on the vegetables was much better but not sure why the chicken was so salty. It wasn’t inedible but certainly needed the rice to cut through it. Loved the cauliflower and lotus root.
Hot and spicy beef noodle
This was a huge bowl chock full of meat and noodles! Amazing for $9. The broth was good beefy with a touch of spicyness in the aftertaste, chiliheads would be disappointed but most people would like the bit of heat. Noodles were a good texture. The plentiful brisket all braised to proper tenderness, could have used a bit more 5 spice for my taste, but still good. Bok choy still crisp.
Overall, I wouldn’t say this is destination by any means but it’s a hole in wall neighborhood joint I’d expect to see in SGV and shocked to see on this side of town. Peering into the kitchen, it was manned by a couple of grizzled old Chinese cooks moving with unhurried yet quick pace of a veteran cook. Exactly the kind of guys you’d expect to see at a SGV joint. The prices don’t seem completely out of whack for westside, they probably expect to do a lot of take out and seem set up for it. The portions are generous for the price and it looks like there’s several menu items geared more for mainsteam tastes
The rest of the menu for reference. I’m curious about the braised pork shank and they also had some specials up on a white board written in Chinese only. Neglected to take a pic, wish I had, looked like some fish specials.
Curious what people think if they decide to try.