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Eating at East Borough LA
03/23/2014 by
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East Borough is a new Vietnamese spot that opened up its second location in downtown Culver City.  I was expecting to order a banh mi for dinner, but surprisingly the dinner menu and the lunch menu are pretty different.  The dinner tends to focus more on small plates that are shared with your table.

This is #11 on my 2014 LA food expedition.

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Papaya Salad.  Green papaya, cucumber, rau ram, spicy nuoc mam, cashews, and beef jerky.  This was pretty good.  It was very fresh similar to what you would find a mom and pop Vietnamese restaurant.  The “beef jerky” is the same type of beef jerky you can find at Asian markets where the jerky is stringy and soft.

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Baby Octopus.  Baby octopus, thai basil, sweet chili sauce, and crispy brussels sprouts.  This was also surprisingly good.  The whole baby octopus was not chewy at all and was very tender.  The sauce is fairly sweet but be warned there is a moderate amount of spicy to it.  I liked the brussels sprouts because some of it was charred and crispy.

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Imperial Rolls.  Fried pork & taro rolls, herbs, and nuoc mam.  These tasted like your normal Vietnamese fried spring rolls.  The wrap was soft, thin, and crispy.  The mint and lettuce were fresh, and the sauce tasted like your normal fish sauce dip.

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Phocatini.  Oxtail, hoisin, sriracha, bean sprouts, and thai basil.  Sauce wise, it was very tangy and sweet.  Unfortunately, I didn’t quite like it because I *think* the noodles were under-cooked.  When you bite into the noodle, it was very chewy and hard in the middle.  When you lift the noodle up, it didn’t fall down.  It stayed curled and firm.  The oxtail itself was nothing special compared to other oxtails I have tried before.

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Crispy Roasted Trout.  Grilled pineapple & anchovie vinaigrette, sambal & butter jasmine rice.  The last dish was this trout.  Thankfully, it was mostly de-boned already, so picking out the meat was worry-free.  The fish itself did not have a lot of fishy-ness to it and was moist in some parts, but not in others and slightly dry.  The skin actually was not crispy.  I did not particularly care for the butter jasmine rice as the vinaigrette was very sweet and to some extent oversauced.

Although I have some harsh words for this joint, it really was what I expected, a spin on Vietnamese food.  It’s not great, and it’s also not terrible.  I would come back if friends wanted to, but I am also perfectly happy with going to your standard Vietnamese restaurants.

Visit:  East Borough, CulverCity, LA
#11 of 52 2014 LA food

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