Imperial Cuisine of China Arrives in L.A. - Is This Really What Emperors Ate? Bistro Na's (Na Jia Xiao Guan) [Review]



Sounds like perhaps a bit of skip for now… Thanks for the beautifully detailed review.

Can’t wait until they go out of business so I can buy their plateware.


Very nice decor, unfortunate food not commensurate

Those are amazing examples. But it would be sad to think of my kids plating some microwave chicken nuggets on them - blasphemy.


Thanks @paranoidgarliclover. :slight_smile:

Yah, for a special occasion and if you can carefully order (pick out the hits), a dinner at Bistro Na’s is quite enjoyable. But there are so many landmines (mediocre, bland, not that memorable dishes) to avoid that there’s a risk of getting something so-so.

Now that we’ve been enough times, we know what we’d order and avoid for sure. There are a few other items we haven’t tried yet (perhaps next time if any of our friends drag us over there), so we’ll see how it goes. :wink:

Or is the juxtaposition of high-end and low-brow actually a hispter-cool way to make a comment on the economic disparities present in modern society???


Or maybe I’m just giving your kids too much credit? :wink:

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Good report @Chowseeker1999! Even though the food was hit or miss (maybe a little more miss?) I think your point of it being a nice place for a special occasion is still a good idea, especially with a group. I love the plateware and those tea cups (glasses). Good pictures! The green onion pancakes look divine.

[quote=“paranoidgarliclover, post:7, topic:4724”]
the juxtaposition of high-end and low-brow actually a hispter-cool way
[/quote]Interesting. I used to work with a lot of bands. I got a kick out of the alternative rock guys. They had this trend of wearing thrift store clothes, not eating in fancy places or drinking expensive liquor, but would drive brand new Cadillacs or some other American luxury car. And almost all played golf. They were probably making some kind of a statement. I don’t know what it was. But I thought it was kinda’ cool.

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Thanks @TheCookie. :slight_smile: Yah, if you’re careful with navigating the menu and choosing their successful / delicious dishes, it can be a great meal, and their Teas are wonderful (all in a nice setting). :slight_smile: I do hope they improve and can pull the rest of their menu forward, improving it all.

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The teas do seem wonderful.

Bistro Na’s isn’t really doing Imperial Cuisine. Not in the true classical fashion.

But be that as it may, as I said before, “if looks could kill, Medusa should be worried. Problem is, looks can’t cook.”


I don’t know what the hell that means. But I’m glad to see you posting again.

perhaps he is suggesting that there is a disparity in the amount of attention paid to the decorating & plating compared to quality of the cuisine being served.



The more I read about this cuisine (or cuisines), the less idea I have of what it is or was, or what “authentic” would mean. Seems like different eras had different cuisines, and there’s a lot of modern reinvention.

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Thanks for thinking of me!! I would like to try that intestine dish! I love that funky offal smell ( was that a one hit wonder song from the 80’s…?) Combined with the hits you found in the menu!

Dropped by for lunch today. I showed up first and the waitress offered to seat me immediately but I said I’d wait for my friend. Took a peek inside and the large dining room was empty. My friend arrives a couple of minutes of later, but the waitress is gone, but a waiter is outside. He asks if we have reservations. I say no and he says he’s not sure we can be accommodated. I told him the waitress said it was OK, and she eventually comes out and takes us into the dining room.

We ordered the spinach sesame roll, the honey pepper beef and the Beijing style noodles.

Basically it’s a rectangular cube of spinach smothered in a sesame sauce and topped with sesame seeds. The spinach was incredibly tough. Was it a different kind of spinach? Taste was OK.

The honey pepper beef was the highlight.

Tender, moist and flavorful.

Strangely when we ordered the Beijing noodles they gave us a warning–just use a little bit of the sauce (which was in a separate cup) first because it might be too salty. This was a totally average dish, particularly the noodles which didn’t eat like hand made noodles.

Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about lunch was that virtually all of the customers were women. You’d think they were casting for The Rich Housewives of the San Gabriel Valley or something.


Thanks for the report back @chandavkl.

Yah when we saw the spinach with sesame “cube” picture on the menu, I felt like we should probably skip it. :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the tip on the honey pepper beef; sounds wonderful.

The noodles: I wish you’d seen my warning; we had the same impression (really bad noodles / average dish).

We did see your review beforehand. Zha Jiang Mian is sort of a litmus test for comparison, kind of like ha gow or cheung fun for a dim sum place, so it was worth ordering for that reason.

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Hi @chandavkl,

Ah I see. Good point. Thanks. :slight_smile: