Over the previous few months, chef Brian Baik has been internet hosting quiet Monday night tasting menus at Kobawoo Home in Koreatown, a dinner collection he’s calling Hall 109. The title is a reference to the now-closed Paris restaurant Passage 53 and Kobawoo’s suite quantity within the busy Vermont Avenue strip small, and it’s imagined to meld two main elements of Baik’s background. That’s as a result of Baik’s household based Kobawoo greater than 30 years in the past, turning into world famous for its pork bossam and different conventional Korean dishes. The opposite a part of the title is based on Baik’s expertise at New York Metropolis’s prime eating places, from Eleven Madison Park, Brooklyn Fare, and Bouley to most lately at Sushi Noz.

These dinners are a little bit of a take a look at run, and technique to drum up consideration for Baik, who had contemplated opening his personal fashionable Korean restaurant in New York earlier than deciding to resettle in Los Angeles through the pandemic. Early menus have boasted the potential of Baik’s cooking, with pristine seafood sourced from Japan and Korea, in addition to intricate plating that he and only one different cook dinner put together at Kobawoo’s kitchen.

The tastings solely happen on Mondays as a result of that’s the one time the busy Korean restaurant is closed through the week. Enter by means of the aspect kitchen door to see a sparse, dimly lit eating room stacked with chairs and tables that block the principle entrance. In the intervening time the dinners solely seat eight individuals per night although Baik says they’ll finally have two seatings, doubling the variety of diners to 16 every Monday.

The meal begins with a tartlet of chopped spot prawn and caviar with cured egg yolk, candy onions, wasabi, and citrus, a beautiful amuse bouche that offers technique to a Jeju Island fluke with uni in a citrus gelee, ginger, and shiso oil. The spotlight of the introductory programs is the Hokkaido iwashi toast, a superbly sliced, gently marinated Japanese sardine positioned above a nigiri-sized piece of plush milk bread.

Brian Baik at Corridor 109, which takes place at his family’s restaurant Kobawoo.

Brian Baik at Hall 109, which takes place at his household’s restaurant Kobawoo.
Jeremy Aguirre

Amuse bouche of spot prawn and caviar tartlet at Corridor 109.

Amuse bouche of spot prawn and caviar tartlet at Hall 109.
Matthew Kang

Center programs provide extra of the seafood parade, from Hokkaido scallop nestled right into a wealthy spinach clam sauce and laced with herbaceous parsley oil. Yamaguchi pink tile fish swims amid a puddle of anchovy dashi, seaweed, and turnips that may style proper in place in a contemporary kaiseki meal whereas the saba pesto pasta has a success of grated ginger and pickled white kelp to convey collectively the intense inexperienced spaghetti. The heftier carbs are a welcome course after numerous lighter dishes that preceded it.

Ultimate part of the tasting begins with rock fish and blue crab bouillabaisse adopted by an nearly decadent Japanese abalone roasted, sliced, after which positioned atop koshihikari risotto and black truffle. It ends with a single scoop of black tea ice cream. General the expertise is paying homage to the early days of Benu in San Francisco, with refined French approach and playful precision utilizing East Asian seafood as the principle characters.

And there’s actually similarities with Windfall and possibly N/Naka, although Baik’s fashion and minimalism could be very a lot his personal. In the intervening time, the menu appears to be extra straight influenced by Baik’s time in New York, with extra of Japanese sashimi preparations and clear presentation. Baik does say he plans to do a model of his household’s well-known bossam, although he concedes even with years {of professional} restaurant expertise, he’s nonetheless unable to recreate the recipe precisely as his dad and mom do.

As for the Koreanness of the meal, Baik overtly admits it’s not fairly Korean meals on the plate: “I’m attempting to include Korean specialty elements every time I can supply them. And naturally I’ve the affect of being Korean and rising up round [Kobawoo],” he says.

These early Hall 109 tastings are a window into the workshopping interval of a future positive eating restaurant. Baik has seen LA’s upscale scene rise lately, with the return of the Michelin information and proficient cooks coming into city with nice success. When it comes to tasting menu locations, LA appears to be catching as much as New York Metropolis and San Francisco, with Baik seeing a number of potential right here with the likes of Kato, Hayato, and N/Naka gaining international recognition.

Jeju Island fluke with uni, citrus soy gelee, and shiso oil on a ceramic plate.

Jeju Island fluke with uni, citrus soy gelee, and shiso oil.

Hokkaido scallop with spinach clam sauce and parsley oil.

Hokkaido scallop with spinach clam sauce and parsley oil.
Matthew Kang

Hall 109 additionally joins LA’s burgeoning Korean American scene, with Perilla, Shiku, Kinn, Hanchic, Tokki, Yangban Society, and Majordomo growing a bona fide LA perspective on fashionable Korean delicacies. And Baik is clearly inquisitive about including to the finer dining dialog that different younger Asian American cooks like Mei Lin, Jon Yao, Zen Ong, Ki Kim, Nan Yimcharoen (of Kinkan), Minh Phan (of Phenakite), and Ryan Wong (of Needle) have helped set up in Los Angeles over the previous few years.

At the moment there are dinners happening each Monday at Kobawoo. Examine the restaurant’s Tock site for reservations. Usually, the value is $150 per particular person not together with tax or gratuity, with non-obligatory glasses of wine accessible to buy. Updates on dinners can be posted on Instagram as effectively. With a strong resume, storied Okay-City venue, and top-notch elements, Baik’s Hall 109 provides one thing very compelling to LA’s positive eating world.

Rock fish with blue crab bouillebaisse at Corridor 109.

Rock fish with blue crab bouillebaisse at Hall 109.
Matthew Kang

Yamaguchi red tile fish with dashi, seaweed, and Tokyo turnips at Corridor 109.

Yamaguchi pink tile fish with dashi, seaweed, and Tokyo turnips at Hall 109.
Matthew Kang

Saba with pesto spaghetti at Corridor 109.

Saba with pesto spaghetti.
Matthew Kang

Ezo abalone risotto with koshihikari rice, black truffle, gamtae seaweed.

Ezo abalone risotto with koshihikari rice, black truffle, gamtae seaweed.
Matthew Kang

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