Newsletter: Counter: Pork chops and pancakes

Salt's Cure chefs Chris Phelps, left, and Zak Walters perch atop the bar at their restaurant's new location on Highland.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

It’s almost May — although how that’s possible is anyone’s guess — and thus almost summer grilling time. Before our semipermanent heat wave begins, maybe leave the grilling to other people, notably the chefs at Salt’s Cure, who make what Jonathan Gold says is the best pork chop in town. Chris Phelps and Zak Walters’ meat-intensive Hollywood restaurant is the subject of this week’s review, a consideration of what happens when a very popular neighborhood restaurant relocates.

If $110 rib-eyes aren’t your thing, there are scallion pancakes, seven plates of them to be precise, as Jenn Harris goes on a pancake crawl. Because although your default setting may be dumplings, the pancakes at many of the Chinese restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley are not to be missed. We also head to South El Monte for carnitas, to Woodland Hills for plates of crispy potatoes and to Little Tokyo for the curry rice.

Amy Scattergood

The best pork chop in town


The pork chops at Salt's Cure restaurant may be the best in L.A.
The pork chops at Salt’s Cure restaurant may be the best in L.A.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times )

This week, Jonathan Gold heads to Hollywood and the new location of Salt’s Cure, Chris Phelps and Zak Walters’ meat-intensive restaurant. Salt’s Cure, which moved from its old digs in West Hollywood, has reinvented itself in the former home of Ammo, and the larger space has given the chefs more room for their exceptional cooking. Pancakes and duck confit, grapefruit pie — and what Gold considers the best pork chop in L.A.

7 great scallion pancakes

Flavor Garden is one of several restaurants offering scallion pancakes.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

If you spend a lot of time in the San Gabriel Valley, you’ll probably do your share of dumpling crawls, but Jenn Harris urges you to consider the scallion pancake — a staple in many Chinese restaurants that can be as addictive as any steam basket of xiaolongbao. She checks out seven restaurants that specialize in them.

Carnitas by the pound

A half-pound of carnitas mixtas is shown at Taqueria Periban in South El Monte.
A half-pound of carnitas mixtas is shown at Taqueria Periban in South El Monte.
( Ben Mesirow / For The Times)

If you love carnitas — and who doesn’t? — food writer Ben Mesirow has a place for you. The breakfast and lunch-only carnitas specialist Taqueria Periban in South El Monte makes a terrific version of the beloved dish, which you order by the pound.

Patatas bravas in Woodland Hills

Patatas bravas comes with brava sauce, aioli, serrano ham, chorizo and an egg at Gasolina Cafe in Woodland Hills
(Nino Andonis)

Jonathan Gold is particularly taken by a plate of fried potatoes at Gasolina, a little Spanish restaurant in Woodland Hills. There, the patatas bravas, a staple at tapas bars, is so good that he finds he has to forgo the samosas at the Chevron across the street.

Japanese comfort food

A plate of curry rice waits to be eaten at Mitsuru Cafe in L.A.'s Little Tokyo.
(Amy Scattergood / Los Angeles Times)

Lastly, I head to the Japanese Village Plaza in downtown’s Little Tokyo, not to stare in the window at the imagawayaki being made, although that’s pretty fun, but to take one of the four booths at the almost 50-year-old diner and order a plate of curry rice.

Your “City of Gold” reminder: It’s playing. Maybe go see it. Maybe don’t go hungry, which brings us to ...

Jonathan Gold’s 101

Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants, the authoritative annual guide to local dining, is online for subscribers.

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