Saturday, December 27, 2008

RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen - restaurant review

I was taking one of my coworker friends to lunch to celebrate an occasion, and she had mentioned Rock Sugar Pan Asian Kitchen in the Century City Mall. We looked at the website, and the menu looked really interesting, so we decided to give it a try.

The restaurant is on the side of the mall closest to Santa Monica Blvd. The restaurant is quite large and takes up the space of two or three of the restaurants that used to be in that area before the mall food court remodel and relocation. The foyer/waiting area is really beautiful, and you walk through that before you get to the actual entrance where the hosting station is located.

We had called ahead of time that day to make a reservation, which turned out to be a good idea because the restaurant was quite crowded, and we were immediately taken to our table.

The menu is fairly extensive, so it took us a while to look through everything. We decided to order a few items and just share everything - family style is my preferred way of dining.

We had an order of the potstickers (chicken, shiitake mushrooms, green onions and citrus-soy sauce), which I thought were ok, but the potsticker filling was more dense than I usually like, so I probably wouldn't choose to order it again. I did really enjoy the flavoring of the sauce though.

We also had the crispy sweet-hot shrimp (tempura eggplant, tamarind chili-palm sugar sauce), and I really loved that dish. The shrimp was fresh and hot and very crispy, and the eggplant was delicious, and the sauce was a great complement. This is a dish I'd definitely recommend.

We also had an order of the dungeness crab with cellophane noodles (green onions, crispy shallots and chilies), and I absolutely loved that dish. There were a couple nice chunks of crab, but the overall flavor was just terrific. I also really like cellophane noodles, either dry or in soup. One thing that surprised me was that the dish was spicy, which I loved, but it wasn't until I looked at the menu again right now that I noticed "chilies" as being included on the ingredient list. When we'd ordered it, we'd only really paid attention to the crab and noodles part of the listing, so if spicyness is a concern, it would be good to actually read the entire entry before you order a dish. This is another dish I'd recommend, and if you're not into spicy, you could try asking for it without the chilies to see if they can prepare it that way.

For dessert, we shared the warm ginger cake (caramelized asian pear, vanilla bean ice cream and pear chip). We are both lovers of ginger, so this dessert was just perfect for us. The rich flavor of the ginger in the moist cake was very tasty, which was cut very well with the vanilla bean ice cream, and the caramelized pear was another flavorful addition to the mix.

There were quite a few dishes on the menu that looked interesting to try, so we had to narrow our choices down to just a few. I can see returning to the restaurant for other special occasions as well.

The service was very good. Our server was friendly and helpful, and it turned out that we'd ordered a couple of her favorite dishes. Our water glasses were continually being refilled, and our server was available if we had questions or needed something. I also really liked the decor of the restaurant, though I suppose some could see it as being over the top. I hadn't been aware that the restaurant is owned by the same people who own The Cheesecake Factory, but I happen to love them too. Plentiful parking is available at the mall, and you can also valet your car - the restaurant is right above the valet station.

RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen
(inside the Westfield Century City Mall)
10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 654
Los Angeles, CA 90067

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