November 25, 2012

ROC Kitchen

Almost everyone in LA knows that when you're craving dumplings (or Chinese food in general), you head towards the San Gabriel Valley (the SGV).  Sure, there are places in west LA, but they are not as (1) cheap and (2) delicious.  Still, it's always refreshing to see dumpling houses pop up west of the 110 freeway.

Why hello there, ROC Kitchen.

We started off with some Shanghai soup dumplings with Dungeness crab and pork.  These little buns of steamed goodness were well-stuffed with meat and a brothy liquid.  Also, the skin wrapper wasn't too thin or thick and everything inside was well-seasoned.  Overall, a tasty dumpling.  That said, there wasn't really anything special about them that made me want to immediately inhale them all.

You can choose to eat them by picking up your chopsticks, or you can dip them in some soy sauce + ginger mixture, place it on a soup spoon, and eat it off of that to prevent losing the soup.  

Xiao Long Bao - 8 pieces - $9.25

Crab & Pork inside

Someone asked me the other day what the "next big thing" will be in the culinary world.  My thought?  Balls.  We've got cake balls, tofu ballspotato balls, rice balls, meatballs stuffed with brie, you name it!  ROC is on the ball about it too by forming balls with a crab and shrimp mixture, burying them in breadcrumbs, and deep-frying it until it reaches the perfect crispy texture.  It would be great to add a spicy kick to the crunch.

ROC Crispy Balls w/ Crab & Shrimp - 3 pieces - $8

Shrimp & Pork Shao Mai - 8 pieces - $9.25

We ventured onto some shao mai, which are another popular Chinese dumpling.  These pretty parcels were filled with pork and each topped with a piece of shrimp.  Flavorful!

Pepper Beef w/ Cubed Filet Mignon, Red Onions, and Peppers - $16

The beef was probably the best part of the meal.  It was perfectly marinated and cooked for just the right amount of chew.  The bell peppers counter-balanced the black pepper, so you weren't left with an overly salty or peppery dish.

Pickled cucumber in sweet vinegar (complimentary)

The exterior is minimalist -- so minimalist that there is no sign (yet).  The interior is simple, too.  Other than a few funky lamps and an open kitchen, you can easily direct your attention to the food.  So, go enjoy!

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ROC Kitchen on Urbanspoon

cuisine: Chinese/ Taiwanese
location: West LA (on Sawtelle)
websites: { yelp | FB }
parking: street meters
attire: Casual