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Yujean Kang’s an Impressive Addition to Westside Scene

TIMES RESTAURANT CRITIC

After months of searching for a locale, consultations with a feng shui master and an opening date delayed again and again, Yujean Kang’s in West Hollywood has finally opened its massive doors. In launching this Westside branch of his popular Pasadena restaurant, Yujean Kang has taken a step up. The setting, just around the corner from Eclipse, is much grander than the original. He’s hired a manager and enough waiters to staff two restaurants. And the menu, with its mix of old favorites and bold new dishes, is terrifically appealing.

To start, there are demure miniature dumplings with a little hot chili oil spooned over, poussin scented with ginger and Chinese spices and “picture in the snow,” a delicious soup with a coverlet of beaten egg whites decorated with intricately cut vegetables. When one table orders Beijing duck, a waiter marches it around the room, so we can all admire its crackling skin. Braised baby pork ribs are falling-off-the-bone tender. Pork loin sauteed with yellow and green garlic chives is delicious. And Louisiana prawns, cooked any of three ways, are pristinely fresh, perfectly cooked. But the real prize on this menu is a dish of julienned lamb and lamb tripe with slivers of fresh hot chiles.

The dessert menu is long and rich, but after such a meal, the best idea may be the watermelon ice and an array of fresh tropical fruit.

When Kang comes around to each table in his chef’s whites, he shyly accepts compliments on all sides. For a restaurant’s first week, the kitchen is remarkably on track.

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* Yujean Kang’s, 8826 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (310) 288-0806. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Major credit cards accepted. Valet parking. Appetizers $4.50-$7.50; entrees $14-$22.


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