Mao’s Kitchen on Melrose

Finally! It’s opened! It’s been a long time a comin’. For the past few years I was working in Marina del Rey and then Venice, so I was always close enough to walk or drive to Mao’s. I had always heard both good and bad things about Mao’s, but I’ve always had a good experience and a great meal.

So now, a year later, I’m working in NoHo and living in Hollywood, neither of which are anywhere near MDR or Venice, which means I rarely make it out that way. But a few months ago I saw a huge mural on the side of a building on Melrose Ave. that said Mao’s. I didn’t believe it. At first I thought it was some form of Sheppard Fairy/Obey Giant propaganda art, but soon came a big neon sign.

I kept driving by to check the status, but the front always looked empty! Not a table in the window on Melrose! Weeks later I noticed a neon sign brightly lit up at night, but still the place was empty! I later found out that it’s not actually ON Melrose. Well the neon sign is, but you turn into the driveway and the entrance is on the side of the building, as is parking, which is EXTREMELY rare for Melrose.

As of today (er, as of about 3 weeks ago) Mao’s on Melrose is finally open for business. If you can choose to eat in or get delivery, eat in. Everything is hotter, crunchier and just plain better. But if you must settle for delivery, it’s perfectly good.

If you’ve never had it, do yourself a favor and try a few dishes I consider their best. First off, start with a Crispy Salad ($7). This is the most unique chicken salad I’ve ever had. It’s not your typical asian chicken salad, but the dressing combines with the jicama and pickled ginger adds so much flavor. Next, order up an order of Long-life Beans ($9). Their green beans braised with black bean sauce and they’re amazing! I’m not really a fan of veggies, especially green ones, but these things are really delicious. And addicting. Then move on to an order of the Salt & Pepper Seafood ($12). Shrimp and fish are lightly fried and seasoned with chili peppers and onions. My personal fave.

The great thing about Mao’s is that your food is made to order using only fresh ingredients. They don’t use anything in a can, no artificial coloring or MSG, so it’s truly some of the most natural chinese food you’ll find in LA.

Eating In: A
Delivery: B (negative points due to the lack of crispyness)

Mao’s Kitchen
7315 Melrose Ave.
LA, CA 90046

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