WuHan, Gold's Got You All in Check; Rodell Savors The Camp at MessHall

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Lobster griddle at Tasty Dining Photo: Tasty Dining

Jonathan Gold tells you what to order at San Gab's Tasty Dining, that is, if you choose to veer from the "bullfrog, lobster, shrimp or pig's colon," for the chili and herb-inundated "chicken-wing griddle." In search of real Wuhan cuisine, where re gan mian reigns, the critic spends an hour or two searching the internerds, leading him to the restaurant's previously overlooked pumpkin pancakes (apparently a favorite of Mao's, he notes) and the region's staple serving of re gan mian which appears to be "the Chinese equivalent of a Roman cacio e pepe with sesame paste and scallions instead of cheese and pepper." [LAT]

Besha Rodell is hot on the trail of MessHall, randomly relating it to a cafeteria she didn't even eat at back in The Bush. Possibly the first writer to give owner Robert Serritell more credit for the place than "minor investor" Bill Chait, Rodell notes the playful attitude of the food, which nails nostalgia or "simply reflect[s] the sensibilities of Los Feliz in 2012." She likes it best when Keith Silverton gets whimsical with his cooking, and finds that "basic American dinners done right make up a lot of the entrees," giving due praise to the hog chop and short ribs while acknowledging "There's nothing that exciting here, just good ingredients treated with care." Still, echoing Gold's assertion that MessHall is more scenic turnoff than place to pitch a tent, Rodell writes, "The food here is rarely mind-blowing. It's American food that's elevated just enough to make it seem special. And it's occasionally way off base." [LAW]

Angeleno's Lesley Balla prizes The Parish, where she finds Casey Lane offering "not finger food for the fashionable Fashion District set, but rather gut-busting grub that screams for a good beer or cocktail." Admiring Lane's commitment to an exacting vision, she notes the menu "is short but heavy, laden with many meaty, fried, braised, and rich dishes. There isnt anything wrong with that, but too much of a good thing can sometimes be too much." [Angeleno]