Warrior: I am surprised nobody has mentioned that a new branch of Mian opened recently in West Adams, a few blocks from Alta and Mizlala. Personally, I don’t like Mian’s noodles because they are too soft and don’t bite back. I also thought the mapo tofu topping was on the bland side. But a couple of sides–the broccoli and wood ear mushrooms–were solid.
The Chinese noodle places I like are Meet Qin Noodles, Shaanxi Garden, Chongqing Special Noodles, and Northern Cafe (Monterey Park, not LA). Also, Qin West for liang pi (an exception to the rule that all noodles must be al dente / QQ).
When I walked into Mian West Adams and mentioned I had eaten at the San Gabriel and Rowland Heights branches the proprietor immediately made the disclaimer that the food at West Adams had been altered to meet local sensibilities, primarily meaning the spice level has been toned down. Somebody else made the complaint that they used lettuce where bok choy would have been expected. Don’t know what other adaptations have been made. The good news is that the clientele seems to be about a quarter to a third Asian so it’s good enough to save a trip across town. And growing up in West Adams it’s great to have Chinese food again on W. Adams Blvd. There’s been no Chinese food, not even a steam table/heat lamp express place on that part of Adams since 30 years ago, when one of those old combination Chinese and American food eateries shut down.
Warrior: All five tables around me were Asian. Strange. I think this restaurant would do well in a place like Silver Lake.
Not strange at all, lots of young Asian families are moving to West Adams and Jefferson Park for their proximity to work and also Asian Enclaves like Koreatown and Gardena. It’s also not too far from SGV or Sawtelle (especially if you take the rail line). It’s part of the reason I love living in the area even though I am non Asian.
There is also a Qin West in University park, which I’ve found to be okay… The menu isn’t that exciting to me, although there is no shortage of customers. Instead I am more likely to get the big plate chicken at Northern Cafe a few doors down.
I have been to the Mian West Adams and we did enjoy your meal there. We have been to San Gabriel branch several times and so for our first visit, we decided to branch out a little bit. We look forward to trying it again with some sold favorites…
The first thing we noticed is that the food came SUPER fast. Kinda crazy. But everything seemingly was prepared to order and tasted fresh.
Since it was a bit warm still, I opted for the Tomato and Beef soup. I was really surprised on how much I loved this. It was WORLDS better than a similar dish I got from the Bang Bang Noodle guys…
The noodles were a little soft… but I wasn’t expecting Ramen Noodles. They were not mooshy either. I would totally order again…
We also ordered the Mapo Noodles and discovered the minced pork was an add on. Kinda salty about that… but again, the dish was good even without it. Not a Ma La overload . Very easy to enjoy the bowl.
We got the Pan Fried Dumplings… No photo… but they were okay. Mian really isn’t about dumplings… so we weren’t surprised that they needed a little more crisp edge. But if you really want them, the Wontons are the thing to get.
Finally, my favorite dish no matter where… Cucumber Salad. Theirs was very good. Lovely dressing. A little more pickled than a lot of other places… but that much more savory as well.
They have outdoor seating now (they didn’t when they first opened)
I was very pleased to see how many folks were dining in and coming in. The area is still taking shape… there is a hotel opening soon just down the street which should also help with foot traffic. I enjoyed it and since it’s rather efficient, I can imagine coming back to pick up a quick but delicious meal when Mizlala doesn’t strike the mood. But is it my favorite noodle joint. No. But they are in Vegas… so… again. Happy here.
What is the menu name for that?
It’s literally called Huge Plate Braised Chicken. Unfortunately it’s only available at a few NC locations. USC and Gardena. The one in Gardena is a little better than the USC one… but they both are good enough to hit the spot for me.
DaPangJi ( 大盤雞 )…
(it’s the top item in the photo, from my meal at Northern Cafe MP)
Now that is a lovely version!
I’ve tried all the Northern Cafe’s for DaPangJi. Not even a close contest: Monterey Park is the best overall, in both the noodle ‘Q’, ratio of noodle to chicken stew, and the sheer quality of the chicken stew in terms of taste. Northern Cafe Gardena comes in a distant second.
Other DPJ’s of note: Omar’s Kitchen in Artesia.
Serviceable DPJ (however the flavors are less refined) can also be found at Noodle Art in Monterey Park.
Have you tried the Stewed Lamb version at MP NC?
I’m often tempted but always go with the chix
Warrior: Interesting to learn about the West Adams and Jefferson Park communities. I didn’t mean it was strange that Asians were eating there. What I found strange was that there were no non-Asians eating there when I visited. Maybe it’s just randomness. The problem with the location is that it is so easy to forget about. But hopefully it will keep growing. I like the calm, quiet feel. Also, I would go back to Mian; they were doing good work. I just wouldn’t order the noodles, because I’m obsessive about noodle texture. I once went to a ramen restaurant in Tokyo that let you order noodle firmness on a 1 to 10 scale. That would be nice.
Based on your rec (or was it @moonboy403?), I went to Northern Cafe in MP awhile back. I don’t even understand how the two (MP and the other chain one) even share the same name; they are on totally different planets when it comes to… everything.
Can’t wait to go back but not sure if they have outdoor seating (and I’m still a bit paranoid about eating indoors). ::sigh::
Pretty sure it’s @J_L. But I also gave thumbs up on their delicious big plate .
AFAIR, I believe Northern Cafe MP has an outdoor table in the back (by their parking lot).
I think both of us liked it. My earlier mention was here…
I grew up in what is now known as West Adams in the 50s and 60s. The entire Crenshaw area back then was a breakout Asian (mostly Japanese) destination after racial restrictive covenants in residential deeds were nullified by the Supreme Court in 1948, and we moved into the area in 1952. When new communities in Monterey Park receptive to Asian American residents opened up around 1960, many of the Crenshaw Asians moved to Monterey Park. A Japanese American community had also developed in Gardena in the 1950s, and a lot of the Crenshaw Japanese Americans later moved there and also Torrance, such that there weren’t a lot of Asians left in the area by the mid-1970s. So it is interesting to see some of the next generation Asians moving into the area. Mian also draws a lot of next generation Asians from other Westside communities, like my son, a 4th generation, who lives in Culver City, for whom going to Mian beats driving out to the San Gabriel Valley.
Yep! Since Mian is located West of La Brea… A lot of West Adams folks kinda roll our eyes and call that part “Culver Adjacent” Vs the West Adams arts district that it’s trying to brand itself… Never the less, I a good chunk of my new neighbors have been ABC/K/J and with the social awakening that has happened during the pandemic, they are also stepping up quite a bit in community. As someone who spent her teen years in the SGV and who had to sell her Asian friends into student government by saying “It will look good in a college app” le sigh it’s been really nice to see.
Thanks for the history lesson! I had always thought the Japanese community had sprouted up around the Japanese car company offices and not vice versa.
The Japanese have been in SoCal for way longer than the Car Industry has…