After working diligently to complete 250+ restaurant reviews, it was nice to kick back and enjoy a precisely-made old fashioned (my drink of choice). Definitely one of the best I’ve had in LA.
While I wasn’t exactly prolific before my two month hiatus from The86Board, I’m back and eager to put forth a refreshed perspective after working on the 2013 Zagat LA guide. The project required sifting through thousands of shoddy guest comments to string together brilliant fragments and adjectives that form pithy reviews encapsulating an accurate portrayal of cuisine, ambiance, service, clientele, location, and decor. Somewhere between 100-120 reviews, I developed prejudices. I ostensibly loathed for days about the number of presumptuous pizza places around town claiming to be “New York” style. I realized there are more ho-hum burger joints than any metropolis needs. And lastly, with each hipster-driven gastropub that appeared one after another, much to my disdain, I swore I wouldn’t patronize another so long as I shall live in hopes they die a slow and painful death from lack of support.
And then a funny thing happened…
I found King’s Row in Pasadena.
The set-up is different. You stand in line, order from a menu posted on a chalkboard, then do your best to hunt down a table. We got lucky and scored a four-top on the patio. It was a beautiful evening; ideal for dining al fresco. Food runners/bussers run the food to your table. You wait for your drinks at the bar, by the way. It doesn’t quite feel fluid, but because it wasn’t crazy busy our service experience only suffered slightly with the chief complaint being that the plates arrived at staggered times.
Portobello fries with pesto aioli. Crispy on the outside and thick cuts of shrooms on the inside make for an addicting intro.
While I couldn’t differentiate the ingredients used (Peking style marinade with hoisin, ginger, sesame), the overall execution of the duck sliders exceeded expectations in taste and quality. The fries are crispy thick cuts and well-seasoned.
The tandoori chicken pizza could have easily been an over-the-top attempt at Italian-Indian fusion, but turned out to be an artisan production with tender, medium-spiced tandoori chicken complemented by feta, red onion, and cilantro on a crust that’s just thick enough to support the toppings without appearing too bread-y.
Pulled pork sandwich. I didn’t try it, but it seemed to be loved.