WHY Vast bowls of delicate noodles crowned with flowering basil tops and mint; char-grilled meats arranged over hillocks of raw greens; shrimp rolled around sugarcane sticks; sweet-tart jackfruit salad with pickled lotus roots; and more such crowd-pleasing dishes.
WHAT Vietnamese cafés are hip and happening—the light, intensely colorful, vividly flavorful food perfectly suits the L.A. aesthetic, and with nearly a half million Vietnamese-Americans living in California, there’s no shortage of skilled chefs. Gingergrass is a perfect example of the trend, an always-jammed spot fragrant with the aromas of mint, basil, grilled meat and pickled vegetables. It’s great fun with a group, though you’ll have to shout to be heard at the other end of the table.;
WHO A Silver Lake—eclectic mix of families and friends packed tightly into the high-ceilinged, glass-walled, noisy space.