Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pine & Crane: Silver Lake's First Good Chinese Restaurant, Like, Ever

Let us thank the restaurant gods that the space on Griffith Park Blvd. formerly occupied by Cru has been taken over by Pine & Crane, a restaurant that believes in actually applying heat to their food. Whenever the raw restaurant Cru was mentioned, the conversation always went like this: "I tried Cru. It's really not that bad. The salads were good." Well, aren't salads normally raw anyway? And isn't kind of fishy when "not that bad" is all most people have to say?
beef noodle soup

Fortunately Pine & Crane has arrived and remodeled the space with clean pale wood ceilings, modern furniture and vintage photos of the owner's grandfather at Taiwan's Pine Crane Noodles. Still in a soft opening stage, Pine & Crane has a short and simple Taiwanese menu that concentrates on dumplings, noodles and a few main dishes and sides.
Don't be put off by the line

Prices are quite reasonable and there are even six taps of draft craft beer and several bottled selections from Taiwan and California as well as wine and sake.
There's a line to order at the counter but it moves fairly fast and we were able to grab a table. With the street in front closed off anyway, I'm sure there will be tables outside as it gets warmer too.
Mapo tofu with pork

Soon our Taiwanese cabbage, scallion pancake, Taiwanese sausage, beef noodle soup and mapo tofu dishes started to arrive. The noodles in the soup were nice and chewy and it had a clean flavored broth with a hint of anise that wasn't quite as deeply funky as some SGV soups, but was still nice. Mapo tofu had a hint of heat and there were plenty of condiments to doctor everything up to your taste.

This is Taiwan-style comfort food -- no crazy amped-up flavors or bacon this and that, just fresh, well-priced regional food in an exceedingly pleasant room. And that's a big plus for Silver Lake. I'm looking forward to popping in again for some dan-dan noodles or potstickers, the beef roll and Jidori chicken. Plus, you can pick up some baby bok choy or pea shoots to take home from the restaurant's garden.
And don't forget, just like the places in the San Gabriel Valley, they're closed on the unusual-for-this-side-of-town day of Tuesday.

Pine & Crane
1521 Griffith Park Blvd.
Silver Lake

Pine & Crane on Urbanspoon

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