But the other night something humble got more enthusiastic comments than the crab, squid and shrimp--a simple green, ong choy (above), cooked to perfection.
If you've eaten in Thailand, you may know this vegetable as pak boong--in English morning glory vine, or water spinach. I've eaten a lot of it over there, but never as good as that at CBS, which was very young, fresh and tender. I've bought ong choy at farmers markets in Los Angeles, and even that was not as good. The coarse stems always had to be cut off.
We had plenty of seafood that night too, and it was fine--crab, deep-fried squid, shrimp with XO sauce (at right), a seafood casserole with tofu, crabmeat and corn soup--but the ong choy stole the show.
So hurry down and try it, although who knows how long the restaurant will be able to get such premium quality. Perhaps it's a seasonal thing.
On the menu you won't see it listed as ong choy. Instead, look for water convolvulus with garlic sauce, which is number 191 on a very long list of dishes.
CBS Seafood Restaurant, 700 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Tel: (213) 617-2323.