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Foodgasm: Lasa (Gourmet Filipino Food)

By 7:07 PM , , , , , , , , , ,

A couple of weeks back, I stumbled across Lasa, a Filipino fusion restaurant, on Yelp. As someone who is Filipina and deeply engraved in her culture, I'm always on the lookout for delicious and high-quality Filipino restaurants in the Los Angeles. Fortunately for me, my boyfriend and I have almost the exact same taste in food, and he was down to try Lasa out.

Situated in a plaza in Chinatown, parking was relatively easy to find and we ended up walking to the actual building. When we got there, however, we were pretty disoriented to find an ongoing burger + art show featuring artworks by the makers of Bob's Burgers. We initially thought that we might have been misguided by Yelp. However, due to boyfriend's suggestion to call the actual restaurant, we found out that Lasa is in that very vicinity! Yay!

The interior is cozy and warm. It even boasted a couch seating for diners near the entrance. Our host immediately sat us down though it did take a while for our waiter to approach us. We were there immediately after it opened so there was only one other couple. However, after about an hour, it definitely became more packed.

We ordered the Adobo Peanuts, "Pancit", Red Snapper Kinilaw, Lumpiang Sariwa and Kesong Puti Fritters. They had a pre-fix menu for $40/head. However, since we are pescetarians, we couldn't really eat the entree they were going to serve. Our waiter took the time to explain everything we had, and while some people might appreciate that, I really prefer my waiters to be more personable and less loquacious about the menu. I mean, we were hungry and he practically spent all of five minutes explaining the menu to us.

The food arrived after nearly twenty minutes, which isn't necessarily a good thing. However, we forgive a lot of things for really good food. Once our food was served, the waiter took another five minutes to explain everything that we've gotten.

From left to right: Pancit, Red Snapper Kinilaw and Adobo Peanuts
We already knew that the taste would be nothing like the typical Filipino versions. The "Pancit", with its egg noodle, calamansi butter, scallions and fish sauce cured egg yolk, was delicious and multidimensional. I did feel it was less savory than I preferred. This dish was boyfriend's favorite. The Red Snapper Kinilaw, showcasing watermelon radish, red snapper, calamansi Kosho, asian pear and fish sauce-vinegar sauce, was my favorite out of all the three appetizers. It was just tasty and although it wasn't quite what I expected it to taste like, it was well-balanced and satisfied my palate well. The adobo peanuts were definitely reminiscent of adobo and I liked how they integrated the taste with the crunchiness.

Fresh Lumpia
The fresh lumpia, with Brown Rice Flour Crepe, Roasted Cauliflower, Black Kale, Shaved Cabbage and Peanut Soy Vinegar, was boyfriend's favorite out of all the dishes. I, on the other hand, still gravitated towards the kinilaw. While the Fresh Lumpia was better than the typical Fresh Lumpia I've had in my lifetime, it didn't quite cut it for me. It was delicious, sure, but I like my lumpia savory and oozing with flavor. It was a refreshing entree but it wasn't quite as filling as I wanted it to be.

For dessert, we got the Kesong Puti Fritters, which had the Muscovado Cream Glaze and some delicious persimmon compote. The "fritters" resembled donut holes and based on the waiter's description, it should have had some kesong puti inside. However, none of our fritters did. The only reason I still enjoyed the dessert was because the persimmon compote was extremely delectable and satisfying. That was one dessert I did not feel guilty immediately after.

Are we going to go back? Definitely - even with the long drive. The waiter mentioned that they tend to rotate the menu based on what's fresh and in season. However, it's not the type of food or taste I will have a regular hankering for. 

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