Mao’s Kitchen is located on Melrose a few blocks up from where I used to work, and I’ve always been intrigued. Alex and I stopped by for dinner with a friend on one of our last nights in LA, and were immediately served up some of the restaurant’s wonton strips with a delicious dipping sauce- these ended up being the highlight of the meal, which was pretty problematic. We started with an onion pancake, as one of Alex’s favourite Chinese dishes back in Australia is a scallion pancake- however the onion pancake ended up being very thick and flavourless…not even more of that dipping sauce could help it out. Alex and I split the night’s special- szechuan dan dan noodles, and an order of the life long green beans, while our friend Josh had their coconut curry with tofu and some steamed dumplings. The dan dan noodles had a very watery sauce that failed to stick to the noodles, therefore making the entire dish rather lackluster. The green beans were the best part of the meal, but still failed to really impress- I hate to say it but I would take PF Chang’s green beans any day over these. We also asked for both of these dishes to be spicy, but they came out as mild as mild can be- which again seemed to be a testament to the apparent refusal to impart flavour into any of these dishes. The steamer dumplings sounded delicious- they are stuffed with smoked tofu and wood ear mushrooms, however the combination ended up being overwhelmed by the smokiness. Josh’s curry seemed fine- although the veggies were cut way too large for a curry. On top of all of this, add some awkward service, and I’m sad to say that Mao’s was a huge disappointment. As someone who loves healthy food that it still full of flavour, I was really excited about Mao’s fresh, healthy approach to Chinese food, but unfortunately their efforts fell flat. Now get me some MSG and chili, please!
Peasants’ Onion Pancake
Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles
Long Life Green Beans
Vegetarian Bamboo Steamer Dumpling
Coconut Curry with Tofu