The Other Critics

Virbila Gets a Parking Ticket at Momed; Jonathan Gold Has a Little Lamb at Omar’s

Photo: Tatiana Arbogast

S. Irene Virbila is charmed by Momed, which is “as lively as its counterpart in Tel Aviv or Beirut.” Her affections are equally as open to its owner, Alex Sarkissian, along with his duck schwarma, Jidori chicken fattoush, lamb burger, mezze plates, and tuna brochette with grape leaf salsa. The only thing she complains about is a Morrocan carrot salad. Oh and parking, which we suspect is what leads to the low caliber one-and-a-half stars for a place she says she’s gone back to again and again. Virbila is bothered by the limited parking and, failing to see that the curb is red, gets a $90 parking ticket. Let’s hope her other senses are more acute. [L.A. Times]

We first learned about halal Chinese from Mr. Gold, who now calls the cuisine “almost mainstream in Los Angeles.” Omar’s Xinjiang Halal Restaurant in San Gabriel is completely unique, he writes, serving Uyghur lamb dishes more typical of “the cooking of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan than it does anything you might think of as Chinese.” He loves the house-fermented yogurt, finds the noodles “terrific,” enjoys “crisp and supremely fatty” lamb chops, and a “cumin saturated” Xinjiang zhufan rice dish with, you guessed it, more lamb. [L.A. Weekly]

“A year after opening,” Los Angeles turns its eye on Centanni, where “Culinary ambition can be lacking—as can overall freshness—but the Venice regulars…don’t seem to mind.” The mag does like the prices for pasta and panini here, while we’re a little hooked on their San Biagio sandwich. [Los Angeles]

J. Gold gives the thumbs up to Scarpetta’s $24 spaghetti and tomato sauce, though whether it’s really worth the cost is “between you and your accountant.” But there’s more to admire, like a beet-stuffed cansonsei, a “woodys” mushroom polenta, and a sous-vide venison that balances a texture of “supreme softness” with the deep flavor the grill. A foie gras-stuffed ravioli might be considered “clunky,” but we think he’s coming back to this “meaty place.” [L.A. Weekly]

Out of leftovers already? Mr. Gold points you to his favorite turkey sandwich, with a nod to Tasty Q, BLD, Lazy Ox, and Metro Cafe along the way. But, surprisesurprise, you’d more likely catch him bee-lining it to the turkey French dip at Cole’s when it comes down to it, “carved to order from a freshly roasted bird…with the option of nuclear-strength mustard.” [L.A. Weekly]

Merrill Shindler checks out Mama Terano, the red sauce Italian restaurant by Cafe Melange’s Robert Bell. The critic likes how Bell takes it back to Brooklyn, offering that it’s “one of the most enjoyable restaurants in the South Bay.” [Daily Breeze]

Virbila Gets a Parking Ticket at Momed; Jonathan Gold Has a Little Lamb at