The Saturday afternoon quiet of Brentwood’s Tandoori Grill was punctuated only by the emergence of stone slabs – laden with sizzling, steaming piles of meat – through the kitchen doors. Such dramatic presentation is inevitable with a traditional tandoor, kept at a temperature upwards of 900 degrees by a charcoal or wood fire within the oven itself. Given the high-intensity cooking method, food can easily be overcooked but, when done correctly, yields the kind of flavorful, tender meats offered by Tandoori Grill.
In a way, the self-serve style of Pampas Grill was reminiscent of a school cafeteria line. If anything, though, the rows of sizzling meat skewers and gourmet self-serve dishes, waiting to be piled on a plate, felt more like a foodie student’s wildest dream of what cafeteria-style food can be. Although the meat spinning above the embers embodied traditional the Brazilian method, it wasn’t the daunting all-you-can-eat endeavor often associated with a churrascaria.
As a steady stream of students approached the ingredients bar at Mongols BBQ, a no-frills Mongolian barbecue establishment in Westwood, I was reminded less of a normal restaurant and more of an engineering competition. The premise is simple: You pay for a bowl, which you then fill with as much food as you can manage from the extensive ingredients bar.
It only took a moment to realize why my first experience with Korean barbecue held such an air of déjà vu. The cavernous, dimly lit room of Moodapo II – filled with pulsing dance music, videos and Friday-night revelers – felt less like an old-school restaurant and more like a Las Vegas club. I’ve been told this flashy style is far from standard in the Korean barbecue world, but the festive atmosphere of this Koreatown staple served only to enhance the indulgent nature of the feast.
Much has been made of the barbecue sauce at Phillip’s, easily one of LA’s most beloved Southern-style barbecue institutions. The restaurant’s popularity hit critical mass after Jonathan Gold waxed poetic about it in 2004, but it had been a neighborhood favorite for years before. The resultant long wait, which most regular customers know to expect, is a one trademark/quirk of this takeout-only joint.
On Monday, the American Volleyball Coaches Association released the names of teams and pairs that will compete in Nationals, a group which includes two pair teams from UCLA sand volleyball.
The beaches of Santa Monica were particularly blustery Wednesday afternoon, but it was the winds of change that finally shifted the fortunes of the UCLA sand volleyball team.
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