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This much-loved, occasionally ridiculed museum of old Hollywood has careened from glamour to self-parody and back again so many times, it's impossible for anyone to gauge whether the drinks are ironic or genuine. Formosa's signature cocktails derive their inspiration from the tropics: Mai Tais, daiquiris, rum drinks and syrupy martinis in myriad variations. Beer and wine options are lean. The pours, however, are generous and the happy hour menu ($3 beer; $6 mixed drinks; most appetizers $5 from 4-7 p.m.) offers an astonishing value. Formosa Café's menu of pan-Asian specialties is so familiar it may as well have been mandated by the city: wasabi fries, lobster mac n' cheese, Kobe beef sliders, chicken satay. Formosa was never a destination for authentic Chinese, but as the locus of Hollywood nightlife has shifted a few blocks north to the over-cologned bottle service clubs mythologized by TMZ, the kitchen has abandoned many of its "traditional" Cantonese-American dishes in favor of the mundane fusion cuisine that is one of the few drawbacks of L.A.'s fevered food culture. If you're in the mood for something to absorb your lemon drop martini, you'll do just fine; but then, you can find a vodka lemon drop and spicy crab cake virtually anywhere in town.
The moment you enter the heavy, padded leather doors, you’re engulfed in a cozy darkness that’s dramatically punctuated by horseshoe-shaped lacquer-red booths, an ancient bar underlit with eerie, glowing, lime-green neon, and the long, narrow... More »
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