Xiao long bao, or Shanghai soup dumplings, arrive on the Westside at ROC Kitchen, which, according to its menu, is in its soft opening, with a grand opening planned for January. Diners already are lining up out the door for steamers stacked with soupy dumplings filled with pork, Dungeness crab and pork, chicken, or Dungeness crab and chicken. Peppered beef, "three cup" chicken with chiles, scallion pancakes and sauteed rice cakes also are crowd pleasers. Crispy chicken dumplings are available on some days.
2049 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 235-2089.
Meanwhile, across the street in the former Orris space is Soba Sojibo, which also launched a soft opening over the weekend, serving cold or hot house-made buckwheat noodles. Have them with sliced duck and hot dipping broth, or shrimp and vegetable tempura, okra and fermented soy beans, mountain vegetables, nameko mushrooms, or curry broth with pork. The Sawtelle outpost is the Japanese chain's second U.S. location (the first opened in Torrance earlier this year). Purists might go for the zaru soba -- chilled soba served with mentsuyu dipping sauce and green onions, wasabi and grated radish for garnish.
2006 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 479-1200.