Gold Grows to Love Night + Market; Virbila Charmed at Pizzeria Il Fico

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Night + Market's pork toro Photo: Tatiana Arbogast

No one makes us feel as fortunate to be Angelenos as Jonathan Gold, who emphasizes what a treasure we have in our massive Thai scene. He writes "the Valley has three-dozen Thai kitchens as good as [New York's] Sripiphai," and you can basically experience Lotus of Siam at the owners' former Renu Nakorn, instead of sweating it out in Vegas. Our pride soars to read, "Los Angeles probably has more regional Thai restaurants than the rest of North America put together" and though Gold was originally wary of Night + Market, in the upscaliest section of Sunset Blvd., he's come around to appreciate their Thai street food. The Goldmeister sounds smitten as he declares, "you will find nearly every part of the pig portioned out into a kind of Thai equivalent to tapas" at this Talesai attachment. [LAW]

S. Irene Virbila is at Pizzeria il Fico this week, catching up with chef Nicola Mastronardi, an old pal of her's from Vincenti, where he did "the whole elegantissimo thing with an ambitious menu and polished and subtle cooking." With Il Fico, the chef reveals his inner rustic cook with grandmotherly pasta dishes and lusty antipasti, many of them from Apulia in the south of Italy, where he grew up." From the traditionally simple thin-crust pizzas to anitpasti like the polpette and panzerotti, as well as the homemade pasta, Sherry seems charmed, though the wine list is a little weak. But the best thing about this review has to be Kat O'Dell's take over at Eater, who starts off her recap of Sherry's star-power with this gem: "SIV drops a deuce on newcomer Pizzeria il Fico." FTW! [LAT]

Though he may not have the same deft touch with sous-vide, Church & State chef Jeremy Berlin is doing "pretty much the same cooking, actually...that Manzke made so popular, nicely executed, with a killer dish of herring and potatoes instead of the garlicky escargots." Though there's hardly a glut of competitors in this particular category, Gold still offers,"Church and State is still probably the best bistro east of La Brea." [LAW]

You can catch Mr. Gold chowing down on some of his favorite Vietnamese food in Rosemead, Westminster, and San Gabriel. If you're trying to save gas, you may just want to go to Xoia, he suggests, where the "the banh xeo...is better than anything you're going to find on this side of town." [LAW]

Gold goes to Shaanxi Gourmet, where "Most of the menu is untranslated, but that probably doesn't matter. Ninety percent of the people in the room have ordered the bouncy cold noodles sauced with chile, Sichuan pepper and vinegar, and that's what you're going to get, too." But if there's room left, he suggests the lamb burgers, lamb soup, or the "Big Plate Chicken." [LAW]