For me, not every meal has to be a gourmet sensation. Sometimes I like fast food, snacks, an occasional donut when my wife’s not looking, and all kinds of fried food. Typhoon at the Santa Monica Airport is no gourmet heaven, but there’s a great menu with tremendous variety, and it’s just plain fun to eat there. There’s a nice bar, live music on occasion, and the food preparation is better than it used to be.
The room is spacious, and the tables are set well apart for privacy. At lunch there’s a great view of the airport runway, and it’s fun to watch the planes take off. At lunch it’s not crowded, and for some reason it’s filled mostly with men — I’m guess businessmen from the offices in the airport or at the business park on Ocean Park Boulevard.
Some of the fried food, of which there is a lot on the menu, is not to my taste, although the spicy chicken wings are not bad. The wings are more crispy than the hot wings at Kentucky Fried Chicken, are coated with a nice hot chili sauce, and the yogurt sauce that comes with it is a nice addition. But I’ll take a pass on the insect menu, with crickets, ants, and sea worms.
There are two dozen starters, including dim sum, and about four dozen main courses — all described in mouth-watering terms, and encompassing a wide variety of the best in Asian cuisine. Of course with any starter a glass of Sapporo draft beer is welcome.
I’ve particularly enjoyed the striped bass steamed with black bean sauce; a nice dish to share with others at the table. The last time I looked, only the deep fried whole catfish and the New Zealand pink snapper were on the menu, but those are probably just as good.
The selection of soups might be the best items on the menu. I love Thai chicken soup in coconut milk, Chinese hot and sour soup, and Filipino won ton soups.
The last time I was there we had the Chinese crispy duck, which had good flavor but was a bit tough; it should be cooked longer at lower heat. The Chinese buns and Hoisin sauce served with it were excellent. We also had Filipino grilled pork. This grilled, marinated pork was very flavorful, and the serving was enough for two or three people to share.
To go with the duck and the pork we also shared pork fried rice, but most of this went into a doggie bag for dinner the next evening. The portions are quite large.
Appetizers average $10, and dinner plates can be between $14 and $26, so one can expect to spend about $40 a person for a full dinner with a drink or two.
One good reason to go to Typhoon: the Monday night music. When I was there awhile back a first-class group was playing jazz and some old-time favorites. The space lends itself well to music, and by 8 p.m. it was pretty much filled up with regulars.
Typhoon is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner except, for some reason unknown to me, they are closed for lunch on Saturday. The parking is adequate and free, a nice plus in today’s world.
If You Go
3221 Donald Douglas Loop South
Santa Monica Airport
Merv Hecht, the food and wine critic for the Santa Monica Daily Press, is a wine buyer and consultant to a number of national and international food and wine companies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org