She may be cute, she may be little, but her spicy zest and funky free spirited attitude surprises even the most intuitive of foodie people. Little Sister in Manhattan Beach offers some of the most incredible “East-meets-West” inspired dishes the Los Angeles greater area has to offer. (Serious statement huh. I know. Because I said it and I meant it.) Just when you walk by or even pop in, assuming you’re in for another great California bistro style meal by the looks of the joint, you’re handed a menu that completely surprises and delights you. And by you I really mean me, I have a particular appreciation for all things Asian food related, but follow along if you’re with me. This small and cozy corner joint is consistently buzzing from afternoon through evening, and its attractive rustic chic exterior, and cozy dimly lit interior have all who are hungry curious about what Little Sister is up to. Between the undoubtedly inviting casual beachy vibe, the intriguing “anti fusion” menu, and the nod to Fugazi and Black Flag with their lyrics written on the walls like art, it was quite easy to quickly fall head over heels.
The mastermind behind the Little Sister kitchen, chef Tin Vuong, is also behind LA favorites such as Abegaile, Wildcraft, Dia De Campo, and more recently Steak + Whisky. Little Sister is Vuong’s kitchen in particular though where Asian flavors and influences truly come alive, and make for one epic flavor party with every bite. You may even get a bit of the spice sweats – embrace it, love it. The dishes prepared at Little Sister are not to be described necessarily as “Asian fusion” as there is quite a range of influences that go into each creation – most stemming from a Vietnamese influence but many other Asian county/French/American techniques also come into play as well. Long story short, the menu is basically unlike anything you’ve ever had, similar in someways, but very unique at the core. Let your stomach do the ordering, not your brain.
A Very Important Side Note: I pulled the trigger on finally paying Little Sister a visit thanks to legitimately my new favorite app: Reserve. If you’re a foodie in Los Angeles, and you want first-dibs reservations at some of the top restaurants in LA (including places like Little Sister, Bestia, Republique, and so on), download Reserve. It’s free, it’s easy to use, it’s similar to Open Table, but it’s better. You enter your credit card information to the app upon signing up, and once you dine and you’re done with your meal, you simply get up and leave – the bill is taken care of via the app. Best part about dining with Reserve particularly at Little Sister? You’re greeted with a complimentary glass of champagne. Boom. Get it. You’re welcome.