February 19, 2012
The other night I was driving home through the Fashion District. There was traffic. While I was inching up San Pedro, I looked out my window and noticed a vintage sign that said “Paul’s Kitchen”. I googled it right away, and found out it was a Chinese restaurant that had been there for years and years. (” After emigrating from Hong Kong in the late 1930s, Yee’s father, Sai Ning “Paul” Yee, opened his first restaurant, Paul’s Cafe, sometime in the early 1940s in what was then the city market on San Julian Street. He returned to China in 1946 or 1947, married, had three sons , then came back to Los Angeles and opened Paul’s Kitchen a block away from the old location at 1012 S. San Pedro Street, where the Yee family lived in a flat of old, abandoned rooms above the restaurant.”)**
A few nights after I found it, I tried it.
This is what I saw when I got there. It was almost like a diner-a Chinese diner with portraits of baseball players and news articles. As we sat down, we were greeted with crispy noodles and soup. I loved the 60s-70s vibe.
When we received the menus, I saw the restaurant was “cash only” (just like so many other great hole-in-the-wall, authentic places in LA).
We ordered some fried wontons, kung-pao chicken and friend rice.
The food was pretty solid. It was filling and not too greasy. It came quickly and the prices were reasonable. The atmosphere was awesome, and the people watching was great. Plus–It’s known as one of Tommy Lasorda’s favorite places—so much so that the menu features a Tommy Lasorda Special. **
This guys must come here a lot. He looks like a regular–with his book and Jeopardy on the TV. I might become a regular too. I love finding cheap eats in Downtown–especially places that have been here forever.