In an effort to help guide readers through the difficult and hectic holiday season, I checked out two Glendale-area eateries. The Left Handed Cook, the perfect spot for a quick elevated lunch, and We’re Pouring, a good place to unwind and grab small bites and a drink after braving the crowds and chaos of the mall.
The Left Handed Cook, which opened last month in La Crescenta, combines traditional Japanese and Korean staples served with American concepts done as casual street food stylings. Owner and chef Thomas Kim said the menu reflects the eclectic nature of the Los Angeles food scene.
Kim knows a thing or two about crossing dining genres. The Los Angeles native served as executive sushi chef at Roy’s Pasadena before venturing into entrepreneurship. Kim ran his own restaurant in Redondo Beach and later moved to Minnesota where he opened the first Left Handed Cook.
As a sushi chef, Kim, the titular “Left Handed Cook,” had to fight nature as left-handed sushi chefs are frowned upon because the way they cut the fish leaves any remainder unusable.
Currently, the LHC menu has only seven options, though Kim plans to increase the number in the next few months, ideally evolving and changing the menu with the seasons.
Kim said the chili crab ($12) is a direct send up on Singaporean chili crab. Unlike the large hard-shell crabs used for the traditional dish, Kim uses soft-shell tempura crab served with a habanero oyster sauce and an egg on a bed of steamed rice.
LHC is a quaint space; only 750 square feet and seating about 10 people, it appears LHC is leaning more toward take-out servings than dine-in. It makes sense as there is no restroom available, so customers need to use the the Laundromat next door, which requires a quarter.
The winner winner ($10.50) is buttermilk miso fried chicken served as three boneless tenders available tossed in a sauce or naked. The earthy richness of the miso plays well with the breading. I suggest ordering them tossed in the gochu sauce, a sweet and spicy red chili paste. It is the early customer favorite and it was definitely a welcome addition.
My personal favorite, the chop ($12) is a brioche bun served with chopped and fried soft shell crab, with onion arugula, Thai mayo, patis vinaigrette and avocado. The breading of the crab does not overpower it, instead adding more to the texture rather than hiding the star of the show while the Thai mayo adds a slight kick of heat to the flavor profile. If I ever compiled a best-of list for dishes under $15 the chop would definitely be on it.
Intrigued by the combination and admittedly amused by the name, I tried the Harold and Kumar poutine fries ($10.50). Fries are topped with pork curry gravy, caramelized onions, kimchi, parmesan, cheddar with a poached egg on top. I broke the yolk of the egg allowing it to run and mix with the poutine leading to the discovery that we do not deserve the amazing combination that is rich egg yolk and curry spice.
My only grievance with the options I tried at LHC was the fries. For as flavorful and interesting as the rest of the dishes are, the fries were anticlimactic and without enough flavor or texture to contribute to the meal.
All being said, for fast-casual lunches and call-ahead dinners LHC has culinary offerings at levels and price points that are not available anywhere else. It is street food without the guilt that is prepared by someone who knows what he is doing.
So you have had your lunch at LHC a few hours ago and you are not ready for a full meal yet but need a drink. We’re Pouring is where you want to be.
We’re Pouring is a gastropub that serves a range of craft beers and wine options which in the Los Angeles area is not uncommon. But their late-night hours, paired with a variety of small plates and appetizer options, make WP a standout in the bar scene.
WP offers pizzas, sliders, tacos and a few other small plate options. Essentially, if it pairs well with beer, it’s on the menu. Whether you’re drinking with friends and want to split a pizza, or just want one taco to pair with your Mexican lager you can do that at WP.
Monday through Thursday WP has happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. and features reduced price wines and beers. But more importantly, they offer some highly discounted bar foods. Garlic parmesan fries or hot wings for $6 and the Kahlua pork taco for $4.
The knife and fork fish taco ($5.75) features breaded cod served open-faced on a corn tortilla with a jalapeno cilantro cream sauce. While not a large portion, it is of a high enough quality to justify the higher than normal cost for a small plate.
The fried pickles ($7), offer a fun alternative to more traditional pub snacks and seem to be the favorite across Yelp.
The margherita pizza ($13) came in below expectations, as the only flavors that came through were that of the sauce and the crust. Though, in all fairness, they have several more enticing options, such as the Mexhawaiian, a bacon, jalapeno, green onion and pineapple concoction for $13. Sharing with my vegetarian friends, however, I was coerced into the meatless option
WP is open until 11 p.m. on weekends and last call for their kitchen is 10:30, so if you are hoping to drink and enjoy some elevated bar food We’re Pouring is the spot.
The Left Handed Cook
2901 Honolulu Ave., La Crescenta
524 E. Glenoaks Blvd., Glendale