Chefs Uno Immanivong of Chino Chinatown and Norman Grimm of the first-to-come Kitchen LTO incarnation decked it out last Thursday in the second round of Trinity Groves' Fork Fights. Playing to a packed house, Immanivong and Grimm went toe-to-toe with menus that gave diners a peek of things to come at their respective upcoming restaurants.
Much like Immanivong's bright pink attire (down to tennis shoes and boxing gloves), diners can look forward to punchy, sometimes daring pan-Asian fusion cuisine from Chino Chinatown. Chino's standout dish was the third course, a succulent, melt-in-your-mouth Mexican Coke and lemongrass-braised short ribs served with bok choy and sticky rice. (The only noticeable oops of the evening was the missing sticky rice from some diners plates.)
Diners can look to Kitchen LTO for a safer but more cohesive menu, which again mirrors the demeanor of the chef. Their standout dish was the second course, a sake-glazed pork belly with a sunchoke and herb salad, served with a shot-sized watermelon tequila intermezzo. Guests also walked away with party favors of Kitchen LTO's black pepper and strawberry balsamic reduction, the star of his dessert course.
Ultimately, Immanivong walked away with the fork, but both restaurants have clinched the title of new Trinity Groves tenant and are slated to open in September. The next round of Fork Fights will take place this Thursday between Amber Jax (seafood) and Saint Rocco's (Italian); snag tickets here.
— Margo Sivin
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