A new culinary oasis sandwiched between a pharmacy and a laundromat, Sesame Dinette at 1750 Pacific Ave., is a second location for the L.A. Chinatown favorite (which opened in April of 2021) and it’s sure to be a hit here in the LBC, too.
This newly opened café (which opened April 7) is well described as minimalist décor. Artwork on paper hanging on high white walls is the only splash of color in the otherwise sterile room with communal seating on blond wooden tables.
Serving house-baked bites, and lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., it’s worth the stop just to taste a spiced dal hand-pie ($6) or green garlic and paneer biscuit ($6) that’s crumbly on the outside but moist and spongy on the inside. Or, if you’re looking for something to cool you down on an early summer morning, consider the fresh yogurt ($8) with pickled kumquats, puffed grains, and honey.
Lunch items are crafted with an understanding of how to build flavor in a way that few culinary professionals in Long Beach seem to fully comprehend.
It’s little things that might otherwise go overlooked, like the shrimp and pork egg rolls ($8) served with lettuce, mint, and a “dipping sauce.” Not the slightest bit greasy, or even a hint of oily sheen, each egg roll is served crisp and light with a side of mint leaves almost ironically topping a leaf of iceberg lettuce. For dipping, while resembling a standard sticky sweet and sour, is a ramekin of fish sauce that isn’t simply fish sauce alone. The flavor of the “side-dip” offers a pop of acidity, a hint of spice, and an accent of umami (or savory) often lacking in fried bites like these.
The obviously intentional and delightfully welcome umami overload appears again in the vegetarian “duck” soup ($14), with al dente egg noodles, using the guanylic acid found in the shiitake mushrooms as the building blocks of umami without protein.
For the easier-to-handle quick lunch, Sesame Dinette offers a banh mi ($10) with mandolin-sliced cucumber and daikon radish so thin you can nearly read through each shaved layer. Offered with pork belly, chicken, or vegetarian, the sandwich is normally served on baguette-style bread, here is served on barbari, an Iranian flatbread.
The goal is to provide a “platform to showcase the talents of owner Linda Sivrican’s mother Judy Nguyen, and elders in her community highlighting their Vietnamese heritage,” according to the Sesame Dinette website.
By acting as an incubator for “young chefs and culinary collaborators” through the venue’s rotating residency program, Sivrican hopes to encourage and showcase Pan-Asian cooking and champion the AAPI culinary community.
Café with baked goods and lunch (with vegetarian options)
Two people can eat for under $30
Vibe: neighborhood cafe, walk-up counter with communal seating.
Drinks: Coffee, espresso, latte, rhubarb whey tonic, oat milk, chai.
Go-to Dish: Green garlic & paneer biscuit ($6), “Duck” soup ($14)
Sesame Dinette: 1750 Pacific Ave. sesamedinette.com Insta:@sesame.dinette 562-337-8064 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.