photo credit: Jakob Layman
Steve Jobs didn’t wear the same thing every day because he thought black turtlenecks complimented his eyes or that New Balance sneakers were especially cool. He wore the same thing every day because it meant one less decision he had to make. Same thing goes for why you always get your coffee from the same spot, and why days of the week underwear exist. Sometimes you just don’t want to make a decision - and when you start feeling that way about dinner, you can just go to Little Fatty.
Just off Venice Blvd., Little Fatty is a casual Taiwanese spot that also doubles as a neighborhood hangout. Everything about the place is relaxed, especially during the week. The restaurant is attached to Accomplice, an excellent cocktail bar, so not only can you get Accomplice cocktails at Little Fatty (and vice versa) - but the combination of the two places also means you can come here in sweatpants or bring someone for a casual date.
Little Fatty’s menu is made up of modern takes on Taiwanese-American classics. Most of the dishes taste pretty much exactly as you’d hope, although they often involve an ingredient you wouldn’t expect. The kung pao chicken comes with squash, the xiao long bao are made with squid ink wrappers, and goji berries come on top of the long beans someone at the table will order because “we need a vegetable.” Nothing is going to win awards for innovation, but everything tastes good in a comforting sort of way.
If you’re usually the kind of person who makes restaurant decisions using 20 open tabs and/or a spreadsheet with color-coded annotations like “good for when you’re probably going to cry in public,” we respect and support you. But you also need those back-pocket spots where you can eat a dinner without having to think too hard about it. If you live in Mar Vista, Little Fatty is about to become your version of the black turtleneck. Steve would probably approve.
Very fried, very oniony, very doughy, and something we’re always going to order.
A more flavor-filled version of a scallion pancake that’s good, but we’d just order their regular scallion pancakes instead.
Squid Ink Xiao Long Bao
The squid ink is really for show, but these black soup dumplings are excellent anyway.
Good dumplings, not out-of-this-world dumplings. The xiao long bao are better.
A deconstructed Peking duck pancake sounds great, but this doesn’t really end up working - the flavors all meld together and we’d just prefer the real thing.
Kung Pao Chicken
This is like most other kung pao chicken dishes you’ve eaten in your life, but with the addition of squash. So yeah, it’s good.
Sizzling Black Pepper Beef
When you see the word “sizzling” on a menu, you should expect one of those fancy sizzling plates and a warning from your server that your dish is extremely hot. Both boxes are checked here, along with an additional box that reads: excellent quality beef.
General Tso’s Cauliflower
You probably thought you didn’t need more fried cauliflower in your life, but this one is better than most. Don’t skip it.
Taiwanese Sunday Gravy
You can get this sort-of Italian, sort-of Taiwanese bowl of pasta with pork, five spice, and mushrooms every night of the week, and you should.
Spicy Lamb With Noodles
Good noodles that aren’t super spicy, but a nice option if you’re by yourself and don’t want to order a million things.