The Other Critics

Virbila Deems First & Hope Vibrant; Gold Not Too Impressed by Xoia

Shelly Cooper's oysters
Shelly Cooper’s oysters Photo: First & Hope

S. Irene Vibrila finds First & Hope’s “retro with a sly wink” atmosphere executed correctly, before going all Tennessee Williams on us, calling one cocktail “a poem to the South.” While snags have been reported to her by friends and a few dishes fail to impress, Virbila thinks Shelly Cooper “has something vibrant and new to offer” and that the investors’ risk-taking should pay off. She gives it two stars from the weird rating system only she understands. [L.A. Times]

We knew Jonathan Gold would rush off to try the fusey fused fusion of Xoia’s Nam-xican food. He is disappointed that there’s no cau lau as promised and quite rightly deems it a decent neighborhood spot, not a dining destination for his disciples to flock to. [L.A. Weekly]

Virbila appreciates that the new Korean restaurant taking over the old Woo Lae Oak space on Western isn’t loud, but she’s “had better kalbi elsewhere, though Bann’s is very decent.” [L.A. Times]

French-Japanese dining isn’t dying out in the city that loves it. Mr. Gold points the hungry to Orris, Shiro, Chaya Downtown, and Beacon, though if you want tuna foie-gras napolean and a true “blast from the past,” speed yourself to Pasadena’s Maison Akira. [L.A. Weekly]

Despite having the “least promising” location, Siam Sunset might “be the most Thai of any restaurant in Thai Hollywood,” Jonathan Gold offers, recommending the jok and the soft-rice spaghetti. [L.A. Weekly]

Merrill Shindler finds himself at Gardena’s Shin-Sen-Gumi, one of the “happiest restaurants on Earth” where “it’s pretty hard to mess up a meal here, for the parameters are nice and wide.” [Daily Breeze]

WP24 impresses Los Angeles magazine with its high-end “show,” though the food is apparently “no more satisfying than” what one would “find ten miles east in the San Gabriel Valley.” We’re not sure they’re that comparable. [Los Angeles]

Virbila Deems First & Hope Vibrant; Gold Not Too Impressed by Xoia