August 05, 2015
Recently I was invited to check out The District by Hannah An. I’ve always been intrigued by the An family and this is Hannah An’s project away from the strong family empire of restaurants. The charming restaurant is set on West Third, quite close to Cedars-Sinai.
We sat on the patio and enjoyed a round of drinks while chatting with Hannah and discussing the menu. It’s a large menu with familiar Vietnamese favorites like pho and cha gio but all with Hannah’s expert touch. All the favorites but healthy.
I started with whiskey because I was intrigued by the peach tea in the American Joe drink. Would it be too sweet? It wasn’t. The 15-year-old bourbon actually held its own against the chile tincture and sprinkled Urfa pepper. Though it wasn’t too spicy either. It was quite refreshing on a warm summer day.
American Joe – Jefferson’s Reserve 15 Year bourbon, peach rooibos tea, chile tincture, mint, lime, agave
Hannah suggested we try her chicken egg rolls. The cha gio have a wonderful crispy wrapper and delicately spiced ground chicken. We ate these up and if you want to make it a whole meal, go for the Saigon Rice Noodle salad which comes topped with the cha gio. District salad with prawns District salad with prawns.
We felt like salad and the District salad sounded like a good choice. It came with HUGE prawns. They weren’t kidding when they called the tiger prawns “colossal.” This would make a great lunch by itself.
The bone marrow at The District is my new favorite. The bone marrow has a French onion soup flavor thing going on (and on and on and on). It can’t stop, won’t stop. The gruyere cheese is fantastic with the bone marrow and we loved the bone broth. Yes, I said we loved the bone broth– and not because it’s a trendy food but because it’s really good. And bonus, anyone who has ever bone luged before must take advantage of these bones. I recommend the organic saison. The beer really helps cut the fat.
Loft and Bear, one of LA’s few distillers, has partnered with The District. They’ve invited their bartenders in for R&D nights. Exceptional drinks from these nights will be added to the menu.
Like a spicy Moscow Mule, the Hot Asian comes garnished with a cute Vietnamese chile.
Hot Asian – lemongrass-infused Loft and Bear vodka, Vietnamese chile infused agave, lime
I’m in the mood for noodles almost exclusively. Yes, rice is good. Yes, bread is good. But N-O-O-D-L-E-S, yes, my first love. So the three of us got two orders of noodles. First we tried the District Wok Fried Lobster with Hannah’s handmade noodles. We got half a lobster which was just the right amount of food. The lobster is some wimpy steamed kind. No, it’s delicately fried and really delicious. I would have felt we should have gotten a whole lobster but I knew we had more food coming.
A vegetarian could do very well here. Perhaps you’d go for the vegan flatbread with wasabi tofu or Buddah Delight Clay Pot with both tofu and seiten but I’d go with all the vegetable sides like roasted cauliflower, veggie stir-fry and these wonderful curry Brussels sprouts. They’re lightly coated with curry oil and tossed with a garlic lime vinaigrette.
As mentioned early, we dig noodles and getting the Dungeness crab and uni noodles satisfied my uni noodles near-constant craving. It’s just so rich and creamy.
We didn’t get into the entrees but there’s always next time. The black cod clay pot and coriander-crusted lamb called out to me. I could also go for the Vietnamese chicken curry or double cut pork chop.
For dessert, we couldn’t pass up the lemongrass creme brulee. It’s light (when you take a bite or two) or just rich enough to end a great meal.
The District has a great looking bar I want to check out next time. Plus they’re doing a summer concert series with Grammy-nominated and emerging artists, with the next one on August 26. The music starts at 7 p.m. Reserve a table to watch in style.