ROC

Runway Playa Vista
Los Angeles, CA | MAP

WHAT TO EAT: Three Cup Chicken and Scallion Pancake  
EATER TIP: Family style is the way to go!!

The term "soft opening" can refer to many things in life (let your imagination go wild) but in the restaurant world it pretty much means "grand opening rehearsal for only a select few".

Recently during a rare itinerary-less weekend, I went to check out the new upscale retail center Runway in Playa Vista. My date, Stacy, had been in the area just a few days before and dined at a Baja style restaurant. Though I loves me some Baja, my friend Nidhi had recommended a neighboring spot called ROC by simply saying "they have awesome pancakes and dumplings".

The restaurant name "ROC" stands for Republic of China.

In a nondescript corner building, wrapped with floor-to-ceiling windows and not much else, was the Chinese/Taiwanese spot called ROC. How did I know it was ROC? I had to go in and ask, because there was no signage anywhere. It was almost as if the restaurant wanted to be discovered (oh, how fitting for LA).

Upon entering, the first sight you see are large glass panes, like the ones around a hockey rink. Behind them is a troupe of chefs on display, dancing between one another amongst hot woks and steam clouds abound.

At the time of my dining, the modern interior was bleak and lifeless, absent of even a millisecond of attempted decor. But, as a minimalist, that was much adored.

After waiting about 15 minutes, we were seated amongst a packed floor of curious eaters.

Check out some of the dishes I got to savor below: 

 Like a sushi joint, you start out by marking a paper with your desired order. With this being a soft opening, there were no pictures online to reference, but that made deciding much more adventurous.

Like a sushi joint, you start out by marking a paper with your desired order. With this being a soft opening, there were no pictures online to reference, but that made deciding much more adventurous.

 For those customers who hate being adventurous, this handy cheat sheet was provided. It featured recommended dishes and also a step by step guide on how to eat a soup dumpling.

For those customers who hate being adventurous, this handy cheat sheet was provided. It featured recommended dishes and also a step by step guide on how to eat a soup dumpling.

 Started with  Lobster & Pork Soup Dumplings   (aka xiao long bao) . Each order contains 8 cute, pillowy balls. I could probably devour, like... 80 of these.

Started with Lobster & Pork Soup Dumplings (aka xiao long bao). Each order contains 8 cute, pillowy balls. I could probably devour, like... 80 of these.

  T his is how to traditionally prep a soup dumpling for devouring: place dumpling on spoon, bite small incision in dumpling skin, pour lil' bit o' vinegar and soy sauce on top, and garnish with ginger slivs (that's short for slivers, yeah im weird).

This is how to traditionally prep a soup dumpling for devouring: place dumpling on spoon, bite small incision in dumpling skin, pour lil' bit o' vinegar and soy sauce on top, and garnish with ginger slivs (that's short for slivers, yeah im weird).

 SPLASH ZONE!! Because there is actual soup in the soup dumplings, be wary of squirting hot liquid upon your bite.

SPLASH ZONE!! Because there is actual soup in the soup dumplings, be wary of squirting hot liquid upon your bite.

 Would never have thought to order  String Beans , but these scrumptious babies were given to us on the house. What a lovely surprise, as these were beautifully sautéed with garlic and were some of the best I've ever tasted.

Would never have thought to order String Beans, but these scrumptious babies were given to us on the house. What a lovely surprise, as these were beautifully sautéed with garlic and were some of the best I've ever tasted.

 Unfortunately the  Crab Fried Rice  was not amazing. It wasn't easy to pick up any crab flavor, but it was a nice complement with...

Unfortunately the Crab Fried Rice was not amazing. It wasn't easy to pick up any crab flavor, but it was a nice complement with...

  THREE CUP CHICKEN!!  ...which was another complimentary dish from the restaurant, and saved the blandness of the fried rice dish. These chicken chunks had a slightly sweet, tangy char on the outside and was moist and tender inside. 

THREE CUP CHICKEN!! ...which was another complimentary dish from the restaurant, and saved the blandness of the fried rice dish. These chicken chunks had a slightly sweet, tangy char on the outside and was moist and tender inside. 

 I'd say this was our most "daring" food choice:  Chicken Rice Cake . I've had rice cakes before, as it is a customary dish in Korean cuisine, and these were comparable. There were a few cakes that were a bit too dense for my bite, but overall it was quite tasty.

I'd say this was our most "daring" food choice: Chicken Rice Cake. I've had rice cakes before, as it is a customary dish in Korean cuisine, and these were comparable. There were a few cakes that were a bit too dense for my bite, but overall it was quite tasty.

 What was for dessert? Why, these  Scallion Pancakes  of course!! We had placed a mid-dinner order for these, but they were forgotten about until I asked for a status update towards the end of our meal. We weren't charged for these, which was a nice gesture, but we would've gladly paid because these were so light, crispy, and scrumdidly!!

What was for dessert? Why, these Scallion Pancakes of course!! We had placed a mid-dinner order for these, but they were forgotten about until I asked for a status update towards the end of our meal. We weren't charged for these, which was a nice gesture, but we would've gladly paid because these were so light, crispy, and scrumdidly!!


About a month or so later, my friend Jason (@danger_puppies) was visiting from San Francisco and we planned to literally stuff each others faces during dinner. Unfortunately that did not happen, because we were accompanied by Stacy and Jean... who kept close eyes on us.

The wait was longer than expected, about 30-45 minutes. I left my digits with the hostess and she said I'd receive a text message when our table was ready.

So, in true Supper Kiddy fashion, we all went to the nearby Whole Foods and ordered some delicious beers at Astro Pub. After a few sips, we ended up chugging them becaaause... I totally missed seeing the text message, and we were subject to losing our table.

Fortunately, we made it back in time and were promptly seated. WHEW!!

  Pan Fried Dumplings  — forgot what filling this was (thanks, ALCOHOL!!) but there are four options on the menu: shrimp & pork, just pork, chicken, or vegetable. They taste like your standard gyoza, accompanied with a saucer of hoisin + sriracha sauce.

Pan Fried Dumplings — forgot what filling this was (thanks, ALCOHOL!!) but there are four options on the menu: shrimp & pork, just pork, chicken, or vegetable. They taste like your standard gyoza, accompanied with a saucer of hoisin + sriracha sauce.

  Beef Rolls  — I had actually scouted these during my first visit, then vowed to munch on these yumsters ASAP. Stuffed with oh-so-tender beef, cucumber, green onion, cilantro, and hugged in a super light and crispy wrap. Will order again.  

Beef Rolls — I had actually scouted these during my first visit, then vowed to munch on these yumsters ASAP. Stuffed with oh-so-tender beef, cucumber, green onion, cilantro, and hugged in a super light and crispy wrap. Will order again.  

 What's the name of the fourth song on Jay-Z's  The Black Album,  again ?

What's the name of the fourth song on Jay-Z's The Black Album, again?

This time around, I enjoyed actual desserts because Jason and his sweetie teeth were craving some. The ROC manager, whose name was also Jean, recommended that we try the Red Bean Sweet Dumplings and Taro Sweet Dumplings  both were mmmlicious.

Although Jason and I didn't stuff each other's faces, everyone at the table stuffed their own respective (and beautiful) faces. We all left the restaurant smiling, giggling, and on the verge of throwing up... OUR ARMS IN JOY!!

ROC has many choices on their menu and I look forward to trying at least one new dish for every future :)