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Pan-Asian Fare Tops Cinnabar Bill

The new restaurant Cinnabar occupies a high-ceilinged space that was once a storage vault and is now home to the ornate Chinese back bar that for years was the centerpiece of the landmark Chinatown restaurant/bar Yee Mee Loo. (The transplant works better than the Brown Derby hat now implanted in a mini-mall on Wilshire.)

The restaurant is a partnership between Alvin Simon, who owned Pasadena’s beloved (and now-defunct) Cafe Jacoulet, and Hisashi Yoshiara, who was Cafe Jacoulet’s longtime chef. Together, they’ve put together a sort of pan-Asian restaurant, one where you can eat yellowtail sashimi “ mille feuille " (crisp won ton skins make up the layers), a plate of Chinese-style dim sum (including a nice crab shiu mai ) and a Thai-style bouillabaisse, with a clean, lemon-grass-flavored broth.

There are also things like pan-roasted veal on a celery-root pancake with porcini mushrooms, charbroiled lamb chops and swordfish, and a good, crisp Chinese-style air-dried duck.

Instead of appetizers and entrees, the menu is divided into half orders and regular orders--this way, you can order family style and try lots of different dishes. The wine list is small but focused--wine fans should be happy. For Yee Mee Loo regulars, the question is: Can the bartender make a decent Tidy Bowl, the signature drink of the old Chinese bar? I forgot to ask.

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* Cinnabar, 933 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale, (818) 551-1155. Entrees $12.50 to $18.50.


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