118 W 4th St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
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Warung Cafe

Neighborhoods: Downtown
Cuisine: Pan Asian, American (New), American

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Gayot
Rating:
12 / 20
Price:
$$$$$
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ncurland photo

ncurland

 Santa Monica, CA
 

Amazing value for a modest price

My last DineLA venture, Warung Cafe was the true find of the week, and probably the one I will most likely frequent in the future.
We arrived a half hour early for our reservation (when does THAT ever happen in LA?!!!) and though they had said there were no earlier reservations available on the phone, we found the restaurant only half full, and the hostess was more than happy to seat us. I guess maybe they didn’t want to fill up the restaurant with reservations because there were only 2 waitresses on for the night, and throughout the evening we had both of them come by our table. Our main waitress was very sweet and helpful with sake recommendations, offering us a taste of her preferred sake before we made a choice. For sake lovers, this place does not do hot sake, but they do many different tasting flights of cold sake, which we enjoyed.
I couldn’t believe how much delicious food we got for such a reasonable price! Yes, they are small plates, but they more than compensated for that with the extra appetizer pick. Plus, I would rather have lots of little tastes than commit to one entree that could be a stinker. Luckily, every dish was a hit.
I can’t wait to come back!

Filet Mignon served wtih Taro Root Wasabi Mash and Green Apple Teriyaki Sauce

This was the standout meat of my DineLA experience. Though a tiny cut, the juicy succulence of the filet mignon can not be beat. My boyfriend and I were vying for the last bite. The sauce was tasty, and I enjoyed the wasabi mash, although my boyfriend noted it should be called puree, because it is really a thorough blend.

Crispy Banana Spring Roll - Candied Walnuts, Thai Vanilla Ice Cream drizzled with Sweet Caramel

A somewhat disappointing dessert, the eggroll did not seem to be crispy enough to counter the soft banana inside. The Thai vanilla ice cream was delicious, especially with the caramel and candied nuts, though in the future we will order the ice cream a la carte.

Coconut Creme Brulee

I thought this was going to be a fairly predictable dessert. I mean, you can’t get more standard than creme brulee in LA, can you? I figured the coconut would be just an infusion, a light hint that would slightly alter the traditional dish, but nothing spectacular. I was so very wrong.
Rather than the unbroken creamy smoothness beneath the candy coating, I found fresh shredded coconut mixed into the custard. “Blasphemy!” I thought, but I couldn’t stop eating. So intense was the coconut flavor, that I nearly forgot I was eating creme brulee, but for the sugary shards of the caramelized crust that I mixed into the cream. I look forward to eating this delightfully surprising dish again!

Edamame

Not an ordered dish, but an extra appetizer brought to every table. So many great extras at this restaurant!

Mushroom and Tofu Miso Soup

Fairly straightforward miso soup, though I appreciated that it was not overly salty, as too many miso soups are, yet still retained a rich miso flavor.

Homemade Potstickers Stuffed with Mushroom, Napa Cabbage, served with a Plum Wine & Black Bean Sauce

I have never had potstickers like this before. Though filled with mushrooms, the flavor and texture was so much richer than I had expected, more like a steak than a vegetable. In fact, they were meatier than most meat potstickers I’ve had! A great option for vegetarians looking for a rich substitute. The filling was also a bit spicy. The dipping sauce tasted more like steak sauce to me than an asian black bean plum sauce, which added to the bold flavors of the dish. I am definitely getting this next time.

Cold Ramen Noodle Tossed with Homemade Peanut Sauce and Scallions

I love cold peanut noodles, and this was no exception. I could have used a little more spice, but it was still an addictively good dish.

Seared Ahi Tuna over greens with asian vinaigrette

Overall, my least favorite appetizers. The flavors were a little too mild for my palate, though the tuna seemed fresh enough. I think the dressing needed a little more seasoning or lemon, something more, to make this dish stand out. It was good, but I probably wouldn’t order it again.

Baby Lamb Chops - Marinated with Mint Basil Pesto Sauce with Arugula Salad and Yogurt Cumin Sauce

I would give this 3.5 stars. The lamb was cooked well, but the flavors implied by the menu description just weren’t there, or didn’t come together quite right. I would have like a more complex yogurt sauce to stand up to the lamb, but it tasted overly sweet and bland. I still enjoyed eating the meat lollipops, but ended up dipping them into the left-over sauces from other dishes.

Tags
Pan Asian Downtown Reservations
Website
Video
Hours
Thu-Sat 05:00PM - 12:00AM
Mon-Wed 05:00PM - 10:00PM
Mon-Fri 11:30PM - 03:00PM
Contact Business

Warung Cafe  Restaurant Reviews

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Warung Cafe is located near the cities of Civic Center Little Tokyo, Sanford, Dockweiler, Windsor Hills, and August F Haw.
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