The Other Critics

Jonathan Gold Opts for Robata Jinya’s Ramen; Ecco’s Pizzas Please S. Irene

Jonathan Gold sets a mellow mood at Robata Jinya, making us feel 10% more relaxed by the end of his first paragraph. The place isn’t your typical robata bar, despite Jinya’s solid roots as an empire in Japan. He recommends the “really good” ramen, citing it as “among the best two or three bowls anywhere in Southern California” and the finest in L.A., though he’s quick to respectfully point out Santouka isn’t his thing. Strangely, Jinya’s specialty isn’t necessarily robata, but you won’t be sorry if that’s what you came for. [LAW]

S. Irene Virbila heads down to that crunchy eco-mall in Costa Mesa and grabs a seat at Ecco, where she gets flashbacks to an old Tim Goodell restaurant that “didn’t last.” Not so Ecco, she opines, before cheering on their Neopolitan pies “with a thin crust blistered around the edges from the heat of the wood-burning oven.” Kris Kirk gets approval for his antipasti and pasta dishes as well, which she calls “some of the best” in Orange County. She slams not a thing and is full of praise for all but the wine list. Still, the restaurant only gets one and half stars. [LAT]

FarmShop’s straight-forward, market-driven cuisine is “a kind of unadulterated cooking that Angelenos are familiar with, but we’re still amazed when it soars,” writes Los Angeles magazine. [Los Angeles]

Some dude asks Mr. Gold about kid-friendly options for dim sum, burgers, brasseries, and breakfast. The critic suggests Tin Dai Fung, Lucky Devil’s, Comme Ca, and John O’Groats respectively. Plus, Empress Pavillion can pull off both breakfast and dim sum if you get there early enough. [LAW]

Jonathan Gold Opts for Robata Jinya’s Ramen; Ecco’s Pizzas Please S. Irene