Kid Hit Menu Items: “I can eat this everyday,” my friend said during my introductory lunch at Pine and Crane. She wasn’t kidding. I was practically craving my next meal there before I had even finished my first. Although I was kid-less that day, I immediately scanned the menu for items my not-so-great-eaters would go for. They’re not interested in the light and chewy wood ear mushroom salad, nor the stewed intense 3-cup trumpet mushroom mix. Forget about the silky chili-flecked mapo tofu (with or without pork option). Fine, more for me. With plates of pork dumplings (or “ducklings”) and pancakes, however, they’re off to the races — and that includes my super picky one. He demolished an order to himself, a feat I imagined impossible outside of DTF. Crazy long Dan Dan noodles keep them busy, too. Plates of veggies fresh from the owners’ family farm (and also available for purchase by the pound) and cooked minimally are too beautiful and pristine not to try.
Adult Perks: After a several month-long wait for beer and wine license, Pine and Crane recently offers craft beers on tap and a small wine list. Previously, or main beverage indulgence has been letting the elder child have full-on caffeinated strength milk tea boba. When that happens, WATCH OUT.
Pros: Counter service can be a mixed bag for instantly popular restaurants. But for early diners it’s less of an issue, and we all know that not having to wait for the check is a huge plus. The minimalist stylish dining room has space for strollers, skateboards, or whatever compact wheeled transport you might need to put somewhere. (Just to fit all the neighborhood cliches, I’ve used the bike rack out front.) Speaking of other plusses, Pine and Crane has the added perk of sitting directly behind the Silver Lake’s Sunset Triangle pedestrian plaza, so there’s plenty of room to run off some post-meal steam.
Changing Station: No. Still, a super nice bathroom with beautiful gold stenciled ginko leaves, as well as one of those sensor trashcans my kids love, overuse, and therefore nearly break.
High Chairs: Yes
Parking and Access: Street parking, which is a little tricky come nighttime and during lunch service on ticketing day.
Other Tidbits: We will ALWAYS love and appreciate you, Thai Town, and yet for a long while there it seemed as if our area could use some improvement and diversifying in the Asian cuisines department, and Chinese in particular. True, there’s Chi Dynasty and the Palace on Hillhurst, but those places are essentially are phoning it in from another era, and after one delivery experience, we let go of high hopes. (That said, I’ve been long remiss in following up on this trusty report.) Along with Pine and Crane, Blossom and Night + Market Song are rounding out the restaurant scene in these parts with overall sensibilities that are very much in tune with the community (yeah yeah, go ahead, make hipster jokes) and times. Based on an anecdotal sampling of conversations I’ve had, parents in particular are enthused about Pine and Crane. Meanwhile, we might need to start gradually feeding the kids chili peppers in order to work up to dinner at Night + Market. Bonus fact: limited delivery is available via Try Caviar’s service.
PINE AND CRANE
1521 Griffith Park Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026
Hours: noon – 10 p.m., daily. Closed Tuesday.