Gregg Hunter’s Newspace

If you’re willing to go the distance for something different, consider the drive to Gobi Mongolian BBQ House at 2827 W. Sunset Blvd. in Silver Lake where patrons fill bowls with raw bits of all natural chicken, lamb, turkey, pork, certified Angus beef, and shrimp. And don’t forget the seasonal produce and a choice of exotic sauces and a heaping mound of noodles.

Then you pass the bowl to the chef who spreads the ingredients on the sizzling iron grill and stir, stir, stir – chop, chop, chop — until everything is reduced to an appetizing mound which is returned to the bowl for $9.95 for lunch from 11:30 til 6 p.m. or dinner, $13.95 and under 10, $6.95 kids plates. It’s a tasty repast.

Optional dishes from the grill include seared, sesame crusted Ahi Tuna, $7.95 and six Black Tiger Shrimp for $3. The dessert is a Chocolate Molten Cake Sundae with vanilla bean gelato, toasted pecans, and whipped cream all for $8. They also offer various beers, artisan ales, wine and sake.

Gobi is in a mini-mall with limited parking and the place gets very noisy. The helpful manager explained the routine to us first-timers and we enjoyed the meal.

Several ambitious entrepreneurs have tried but failed to make a commercial go of the cozy restaurant in the Pasadena Playhouse complex at 37 So. El Molino Avenue. It’s ironic that executive chef Onil Chibas and Che de cuisine Alberto’s concept Elements Kitchen caught on at a time when the economy was at low ebb and the venerable theatre was closed with deep debt problems. That deprived Elements of a ready audience. However, the elegant restaurant proved to be a natural and the theatre is making a welcome comeback.

The smartly remodeled, handsomely appointed dining room features a playful but adventuresome and upscale menu of sophisticated “elements” such as duck and lobster elegantly combined in $7- $19 small plates and $18 – 30 large plates. The Palate savors game hen casoulet with French lentils and “heirloom tongues of fire” a speckled cousin of a cranberry bean. Not up to a full-course dinner? Check out the spacious Elements lounge where you can graze small plates from the less expensive bar menu.

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