I used to live in the asian part of LA, where all the foodies will go to eat the best such and such of asian fare. True, there were good, cheap, around-the-clock places to eat, but I had few favorite places that were herbivore friendly. And the whole atmosphere of loud, dirty, and greasy was tiring. Ironically, I ate less asian food because of it. Who knew, almost an hour away, was a nice, clean, cozy place in Long Beach tucked in a plaza near the marina that has Chinese food that put a big smile on my face! This was a total surprise and I will be returning.
The chef at Nomad Asian Bistro takes the time to make everything - including the noodles, wontons, and potstickers. I haven't had hand-pulled noodles in who knows how long and they were fresh, chewy and delightful. To my greatest surprise, I have found my favorite veggie dumplings! I must have eaten every veggie dumpling available in the greater LA area and figured they'd never be those like my grandpa's. Seeing these on the menu at Nomad's, at first I thought they were over-priced (as mentioned, I'm used to the cheap fast style). I scoffed that it didn't come out of the kitchen in 30 seconds, but when they did arrive, I ate my dumplings and my cynicism and told the waitstaff to give my compliments to the chef. Homemade skins, superstuffed with veggies, and cooked perfectly.
And I will go on record saying that famous Din Tai Fung's veggie dumplings are weak. They're tiny, skimpy, and you basically gobble them up while watching omnivore friends insist that their dumplings are really good. Praise as they might, I think DTF is overrated and they're the ones who are overpriced. For a better dumpling for your buck, head to Nomad's. At least they're worth it. I'll join you.
Also, my omnivore date enjoyed his dishes, they were large in quantity and we both went home with plenty of leftovers. We both felt the need to try more dishes though for the full effect. I recommend going with company, as the dishes are on the minimal ingredient side, family style; the noodles are mostly noodles, the chicken is mostly chicken. I do wish I had more ingredients in my noodles though, since I think that would have reduced the settling effect sticking together (fresher noodles especially).
Vegans: the vegetarian dishes do contain eggs so specify if you don't want them. They are accommodating, after all, the food isn't coming off a flash cooked assembly line. Good clean Chinese food cooked with care, who knew.