Back in October, while driving to eat at All Family restaurant, the door was open to an intriguing new restaurant: Feng Mao Mutton Kebab.
The neon was lit, but the husband and wife were still hard at work prepping their restaurant to open. She said to expect Korean-Chinese cuisine. Los Angeles has incredible range when it comes to ethnic cuisine, and Korean-Chinese food isn’t an original concept, but the idea of sizzling lamb skewers sounded fresh and exciting. Better yet, that’s exactly how it turned out, and the satisfaction wasn’t limited to lamb.
For his LA Times review, Miles Clements discovered that owner Jin Chun-Hua and her husband are from China’s Jilin province, which borders North Korea. That explains the Korean-Chinese label.
Even though the owners are from China, they still offered bottomless dishes of Korean panchan. The selection was limited, but what they did have was strong, especially the kimchi, seaweed with cucumber and pungent radish strands. Sadly, Feng Mao’s boiled peanuts would hardly satisfy a homesick Southerner.
Feng Mao specializes in charcoal cooking. There was little doubt we had to order Mutton Kebab (10 skewered for $12.99). In all, Feng Mao offered 17 skewered options, including adventurous choices like Pork Heart, Chunked Mutton Kidney and Bull’s Penis. It’s hard to imagine a good reason to pay to eat bull penis, especially when faced with more tantalizing options like grilled Quail ($4.99).
We’re hardly rubes when it comes to Korean-style charcoal cooking, but Jin Chun-Hua still insisted on guiding the process. This turned out to be fine. Due to her deft touch, we experienced supple spice-crusted mutton skewers, which she made sure to move to the top rack before they overheated. Each tender chunk of lamb was layered with mutton fat, which kept the meat moist. Better yet: after cooking, the fat was easily avoidable. The quail had little to no seasoning, but they were still plenty juicy and the skin became crispy thanks to the flame.
We also split a terrific lunch special ($5.99) of Shredded Pork w/Cilantro in hot chili oil. The pork squiggles were high quality and perfectly seared, buried under an avalanche of herbaceous cilantro. Thanks to the chili oil, the flavor built with each bite.
The mutton kebabs were addictive, and though bull’s penis will never enter the equation, I’m looking forward to trying most of Feng Mao’s other skewers. Feng Mao easily delivered on its October promise.