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Great shrimp and grits in South Pasadena? Head to the new Communal

Great shrimp and grits in South Pasadena? Head to the new Communal
The shrimp and grits at Communal, a new restaurant in South Pasadena. (Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Name: Communal.

Concept: This is a new restaurant by Steve and Ashley Ahn, the couple who own Mike and Anne's, also in South Pasadena. The restaurant is making good use of previous tenant Firefly's patio area with cappellini lights and cozy tables. As for the menu, there's a little bit of everything, with big and small plates, all meant to to be shared.

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The dish you need to try: The shrimp and grits. With housemade Merguez sausage, steak frites, a pork loin sandwich and Sicilian caponata on the menu, this is not a Southern restaurant. But there are shrimp and grits, and you should try them. The grits are thick in creamy, enhanced with sharp cheddar and garnished with sweet and spicy slivers of peppers and onions. Before you start to protest, we understand cheddar cheese and seafood may not be an ideal pairing. But it works. It's $9 for a small portion of grits and about three grilled shrimp. If you're dining with company, order your own.

What you're drinking: There isn't a full liquor license, so it's just beer and wine. But with more than 10 local beers on tap, there's plenty to choose from. There are plans to start serving soju cocktails in the near future.

Who's at the next table: A couple dining with one of their mothers, engrossed in a heated discussion on the importance of Hillary Rodham Clinton's email scandal; a mom and her son, still wearing his soccer cleats, sharing a plate of fried pickle spears.

Service: Polite, attentive and helpful.

Info: 1009 El Centro St., South Pasadena, (626) 345-5128.

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