I first heard that a fellow Harvard alumna had opened a restaurant earlier this year when I saw some of my friends visit her. I was extremely intrigued – most people don’t go to Harvard to go into the restaurant business, and very curious! It was with luck that while my husband were visiting family in LA, we saw the Los Angeles magazine lying on a table, and lo and behold, Vivian Ku’s Pine & Crane was named as one of the top 10 Best New Restaurants of 2014. That was enough for me to convince my husband to drive us there for lunch this past weekend on our way to visit the Getty Center.
Ku, who interned at Alice Waters’s famous Chez Panisse restaurant in Norcal, the birthplace of farm to table cuisine, decided to open an exciting concept pairing popular Taiwanese home style dishes with a farm to table sourcing approach. The food is extremely fresh, authentic, and will not sit heavy on you
The restaurant fits in with the hipster vibe of the nearby Silver Lake neighborhood, with beautiful wood finishes on the wall, communal seating, and whimsical light fixtures
The line was super busy as we entered. As you wait for your food, you can enjoy either some beer, wine, or tea
Ku’s restaurant is steeped in family history. A large image on one wall shows her grandfather pulling noodles at the original Pine & Crane, a noodle factory he opened in Kaohsiung. The American Pine & Crane sources from Ku’s family farm in Bakersfield, and you can even buy fresh produce by the pound
We grabbed some waters with these gorgeous aluminum tumblers. We were really happy to see many non-pork options on the menu, both in the traditional cold appetizers and throughout the small plates, noodles, soups, and rice dishes. We cooled ourselves with a jasmine green tea with boba
Pine & Crane’s menu is tapas style, and I recommend 2 – 3 dishes for 2 people, though our portions were far more generous than I anticipated. We started with the beef roll. Slices of beef, cucumber, topped with hoisin sauce and wrapped in a freshly fried scallion pancake left us licking our fingers
We then proceeded with Dan Dan noodles. The noodles were perfectly al dente and the sauce was evenly coated, with another fresh heaping of thinly sliced cucumber. The noodles pleasantly stuck to the roof of our mouths as we chowed down
The highlight of our meal was the Three Cup Jidori Chicken. The chicken was cooked on the bone and extremely tender, and adequately flavored with a great combination of spices. We took this one home with us
Congratulations to Vivian for being so inspiring and opening such a great restaurant! We hope to come back next year!
Pine & Crane
1521 Griffith Park Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
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Shang Chen Photography has rebranded to Saavedra Photography
she takes photographs of celebrations of love and life
Based in NYC | Open for select photography commissions on Sundays only