Little Sister

It seems like a lot of chefs these days are incorporating Asian flavors into their cooking.  I guess this is one of the aspects comprising “New American” cuisine.  I guess Little Sister isn’t so much “New American” as it is “Asian/Asian fusion”, but its smack dab in the middle of one of the whitest parts of the South Bay, Manhattan Beach, so that makes it American enough.

Grilled Pork Spring Roll “Nem Nuong” red leaf lettuce, mint, carrot, cucumber, house sauce

The “peanut” sauce was pretty bland, so the fish sauce was more flavorful.  The rolls themselves were just OK.  I can definitely make better ones myself.  They were also a bit too loosely wrapped.  No doubt, a spring roll wrapping noob was in the back making these.

Singapore Chili Soft Shelled Crab Banh Mi spiced tomato relish, pickled garlic

My dining companions, Old Bear and his gf, had never tried soft shell crab before.  After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I jumped at the chance to order this.  It was really solid.  I highly recommend this one.  I think I’ll leave it at that.

Vadouvan Quail fried green tomato, pickled kumquat, mint chutney, lebneh

Old Bear’s gf doesn’t eat a lot of different proteins, but poultry is one of them.  I thought this was probably the weakest dish of the night.  Quail is such a sad animal with very little meat.  At least this one was not dry, but it just wasn’t very interesting.  The fried green tomatoes were yummy though.

Sesame Sour Dough Baguette echire aoc butter, sea salt

The bread was a bit dry, but the accoutrements were interesting enough.  I wouldn’t order this again though.

Grilled Prawns green papaya, mango, cucumber, onion, cashews, lemongrass-cilantro dressing

This has all the elements I love in my salads, sweet, tangy, fishy, herbacious, and full of shrimp!  Another spot on delicious dish.

Shaky Shaky Beef watercress, baby tomatoes, burnt butter soy

I’m not sure why shaking beef is always such a popular dish that’s supposed to represent “Vietnamese” food.  Most of the time, its not that good, but this version was pretty delicious.  Triple T went back and ordered this but wasn’t as impressed.  Seriously though, I wished I had a big bowl of rice to dump on top and mix up to soak up the sauce.

XO Pea Tendrils lime juice, almonds, dried scallop shards

Again Old Bear and his girlfriend had never had this vegetable before.  The flavor was different from the usual preparation I’ve had at Chinese restaurants.  There was more tang and heat.  I was extremely disappointed though because the vegetables were improperly prepared.  This vegetable has very fibrous stringy  parts which need to be removed before cooking.  They didn’t do this and they should know better than that!

Singapore Curry Noodles prawns, char siu pork, bean sprouts

I’m not a fan of the thin texture of this noodle, but the curry flavor was good.

Dessert Trio chocolate souffle, apple butterscotch tart, vanilla panna cotta

The desserts were nice because they were mini but allowed us to have a good selection.

I was very pleased with the food at Little Sister.  The food was surprisingly authentic tasting and did not really hold back on bring forth the strong bold, mostly Southeast, Asian flavors.  I think its key to order right, so there are definitely some dishes I would not order again.  I heard the lobster was pretty good so next time I’ll have to order that with people who can actually eat lobster.  Old Bear and his girlfriend were very pleased with the food, and being locals, will be back pretty soon.  I will definitely be back soon too!


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