The Militant thought, what better way to start off a new year than to check out one of the newest restaurants to have sprung up in Downtown Los Angeles in the past few months!
The Downtown restaurant scene is rather exciting, especially the new east-of-Olive ones that don't empty the Militant's wallet in one visit (of course, such high-end places would rarely, if ever, get coverage here in the Mess Hall).
One such place is Blossom Vietnamese Restaurant a relatively new spot on South Main and Winston streets (between 4th and 5th) that he was seemingly unable to escape during his visit to DTLA on Friday. Though it was cold and rainy, his natural inclination was for something nice and warm, but having been all pho'ed up for the past few weeks, the Militant decided to opt for something else, so he tried one of the rice dishes off of the menu. He tried the Cóm Gà Rô Ti (Fried Roasted Cornish Hen w/Pan Fried Egg, pictured above). It arrived, not very long after ordering, and it looked very nice...but it was so...small. The cornish hen was fried rather nice and crispy, but damn, it's...so...small. The little soy and chili dipping sauce was nice, as was the three-leaves-of-lettuce and a couple onions salad, and the cute little scoop or rice with the fried egg on top of it. Don't get the Militant wrong, it was good...but...so small.
Though very few individual dishes here are over the $10 mark, if you're into summa dat down-home, greasy-spoon, large-portion bang-for-your-buck Vietnamese cookin' (The Militant will grudgingly admit there's a place like that up in Frisco, on 6th St just a few feet south of Market), Blossom isn't the place (the fact that you'll likely hear Massive Attack or Radiohead rather than My Tam or Doan Trang coming through the restaurant's stereo is a sign), but at least it's not some whitewashed supergentro establishment like Silver Lake's Gingergrass, which is so...naw, the Militant's not even gonna bother.
The little "triangle corner" upon which sits the other dining room of the restaurant adds a lot of character to the neighborhood, which as we all know, wasn't much of a "neighborhood" a few years ago. So the Militant totally digs the impact it adds to the Historic Core of Downtown, especially since the last time he was around that corner was when he visited the miserably pathetic Rapid Transit District headquarters building, then located across the street, back in the early '90s.
The Militant was a little torn here. The quality of the food and service were nothing to complain about, but if you're looking for the kind of establishment that gives you bang-for-the-buck generous portions, this ain't it. But it's a nice addition to the growing Downtown restaurant scene, which apparently is now mature enough to break out of its longtime fru-fru high-end vs. longstanding affordable institution dichotomy.
The Militant gives Blossom Restaurant 7.5 out of 10 clenched fists.
Blossom Vietnamese Restaurant
426 S. Main St.
Downtown Los Angeles
Open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Item: Cóm Gà Rô Ti (Fried Roasted Cornish Hen w/Pan Fried Egg), $8.25.