Little Sister

Little Sister shows off smart and sophisticated Southeast Asian cooking

The Manhattan Beach dining scene may finally be growing up, with Tin Vuong's new chophouse-inspired bistro, Little Sister.

Not only is the restaurant Vuong's strongest addition to his lineup yet–he's also at the helm of Abigaile and Wildcraft Pizza–it's also one of the most unique and electrifying restaurants the South Bay has seen in a long time.

Vuong's lengthy menu pulls from his Southeast Asian roots, unfolding like a culture-hopping periodic table: Try the vibrant red Myanmar okra curry with saffron-seasoned rice ($9), or eggplant-beef tartare studded with Sichuan peppercorns ($12). Fiery Singapore chile crab ($15), sandwiched inside a banh mi roll, backflips between sweet and spicy.

The strongest offerings, however, are Little Sister's Vietnamese dishes.

We loved the easy balance of plump prawn-and-green papaya salad ($11), tossed with cashews and a mellow lemongrass-cilantro dressing, and the herbaceous crunch of nem nuong ($10), rice-paper spring rolls filled with roast pork and vegetables.

Forgo the underwhelming take on French petits fours for dessert; eat more at dinner instead, with a bowl of pork belly and soy-chile-anointed rice noodles ($8). Or, have a cold beer crafted at Vuong's nearby Brewery at Abigaile.

Might as well keep it in the family.