Meizhou Dongpo

Upscale Chinese is a hot commodity, with places like Beverly Hills’ Hakkasan and West Hollywood’s Chi Lin offering ritzy renditions of kung pao chicken. Meizhou Dongpo is the first U.S. outlet of a Beijing chain. Service can be stiff but is well organized. The kitchen makes copious use of lip-numbing peppercorns in the house spicy beef, a vibrant red stew that’s addictive. The strips of sweet braised pork belly and slippery dandan noodles are fine, but there are better versions in the SGV. Still, popping fiery Szechuan dumplings on a sun-drenched patio at Westfield Century City is a new kind of mind blowing.