Mao's Kitchen on Melrose

I've been to Mao's Kitchen in Venice Beach many times, not too long ago I heard of a Mao's Kitchen opening on Melrose which just happens to be nearer to my home, it's address is 7313 Melrose to be exact.  So on a fine Sunday morning after lolling around in bed until nearly noon I convinced brother Charlie and "squeeze-for-life" Alex to come and try out the new Moa's Kitchen.

One thing was very apparent, this was no rustic hole in the wall Moa's Kitchen as it is in Venice, this Mao's Kitchen was obviously new and it was obviously much more posh?  How about much more hip?  Yes, that may just be the word I'm looking for.

The length of one wall was lined with framed colorful posters of oldcommunist China, there was lots of natural light, a huge chalk board near the entry way had written on it parts of the menu, "Specials" no doubt.  There was an outdoor dining area that had green covering giving an all-around green tinge, a very modern effect I thought.  It was clean, it was comfortable, it was casual and the only thing that was disturbing was how devoid of customers it was- but that very well could have been the time- who eats chinese at noon on a Sunday anyways?

Please grab menus and seat yourself a sign read near the door, 'that's odd' I thought, but I didn't mind, actually, dare I say I liked it?  In a weird way it made me feel comfy, as if a friend or a distant acquaintance was saying to me "make yourself at home" though it was probably the last thing on their mind and more for the one waiter who was working the whole restaurant.

Back on subject, both menus was double sided and had just the right amount of options:  Drinks, Specials and the Regular menu.

I opted to have their Jasmine Iced-Tea which I've never had anywhere else or have seen anywhere else but that may be because I'm not looking hard enough for it elsewhere, but then again why would I?  Mao's Jasmine Iced-Tea is fantastic.

Jasmine Iced-Tea lookin all fresh

It took us a tad bit longer to order since our concentration was diverted by the complimentary won-ton chips and sweet/sour dipping sauce.  Crunch-Crunch-Crunch.

Complimentary wonton chips w/dipping sauce

Brother Charlie started with Hot & Sour soup, I took a couple spoonfuls to try, it was just the right amount of hot and just the right amount of sour, usually I don't go for Hot & Sour or even Sweet & Sour I find that many times it's more one than the other, but I have to admit that Mao's Hot & Sour soup was pretty right.

I decided to try the Harvest soup, which is a vegetable puree, when we finally left the restaurant there was still quite a bit left in the cup.  I didn't mind the puree so much and it tasted just fine, a bit like chicken soup, any more than five spoonfuls however the taste started to disappear- and soon I was just sipping on watery thick textured slightly chicken noodle soup tasting vegetable puree.  And when it cooled down a bit... ew.

Appetizer course?  Chicken Lettuce Cups!  I get this every time I go to Mao's- need I say more?

The lunch specials, which the three of us just happened to order comes with not only a side of soup but also eggrolls.  Fried vegetable eggrolls they are, a little tasteless and not as crispy on the outside as it looks- perhaps you like your eggrolls with a chewy outside?  Then your all set!  For me however, I like that crunch and sadly it just wasn't there though it looked crunchy, how does that one saying go?  "Don't judge a book by it's cover"?  That saying totally applies to Mao's eggrolls.

Brother Charlie man-handling the eggrolls

I got the lunch special Mapo Tofu.  The tofu was soft and supple, with green onions, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, little bits of pepper and a little bit of sauce underneath... on top of rice it was delish.  If you don't mind tofu, this would be one dish I would suggest.

Mapo Tofu

Alex opted for Kung-Pao Chicken and Jasmine Rice, sweet & savory.  I almost never go for chicken dishes because I hate dry chicken and chicken everywhere most time are dry, I suppose it's the nature of chicken.  The chicken in this dish was surprisingly moist though my one complaint would be that it was a bit on the sweet side, then again I don't have much of a sweet tooth.

Kung Pao Chicken

Brother Charlie ordered Orange Ginger Chicken, once again the chicken was moister than in other places I've had it.  This was yummy as well, the first bite into a Orange Ginger Chicken piece is a crunch from the very slightly breaded outside- I think that did wonders for the dish.  Between the Kung Pao Chicken and the Orange Ginger Chicken I'd say "I would like the Orange Ginger Chicken please".

Orange Ginger Chicken

Yes, it was quite tasty, the lunch was yes, quite a success or so Tummy thought.  Overall, the food was yummy but there was a lack of Chinese country authenticity in the taste.  I almost feel a bit of guilt about wanting to compare the food with a posh Panda Express.  No! I'm wrong, it was better than Panda Express but not quite as good as the Mao's Kitchen in Venice Beach, the authenticity of the Country Chinese cooking still seems to be there in the food, you can taste it there at Mao's in Venice.  Here on Melrose, as tasty as the dishes are it failed to deliver the country Chinese cooking taste.

But if you're looking to grub for a few dollars this is the place to do it, and the lunch special ($7.50) though the menu says the portions are scaled down they're still pretty filling, they must eat a lot in China.

Complimentary wonton chips & dipping sauce
a cup of soup
Vegetable eggroll
Appetizer:  Chicken Lettuce Cups (6-8 med-sm servings)
Three lunch specials (incl rice)
Jasmine Iced-Tea


It was eery how spot on the fortune cookie was, "Enjoy the fine goods life has to offer & friends with whom to share it."  I had just the best Sunday lunch at Mao's Kitchen with two very good friends, there was laughing, there was conversation, there were new things to try (and I always love that) - what more can a person want on a fine Sunday afternoon?

Mao's Kitchen
7313 Melrose Ave
LA CA 90046
(323) 932.9681

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...