Category Archives: Koreatown

10 Best Fried Chicken Joints in LA


There is no better comfort food than fried chicken. Crispy and unctuous on the outside and hot and juicy on the inside, it makes you forget your troubles with every bite.

However, all fried chicken is not created equal. In our sprawling metropolis, there are several blue-ribbon eateries producing truly exceptional finger-lickin’-goodness that stands out from the rest. After conducting years of extensive research on the topic, here are my top 10 favorites:

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken

#1 (tie) Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken (1262 Crenshaw Blvd in Mid-City Los Angeles, 509 S Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, and 2580 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach). Gus’s, a small chain originating in Tennesee, serves Memphis-style spicy fried chicken which is perfect in every way. Served atop a slice of white bread, these insanely amazing drumsticks, wings, thighs and breasts are accompanied by traditional Southern sides such as mac n cheese, greens and baked beans.

Plan Check Kitchen + Bar

#1 (tie) Plan Check Kitchen + Bar (1800 Sawtelle Blvd in West LA, 351 N Fairfax Ave in Mid-City LA, 1401 Ocean Ave #104 in Santa Monica, and 1111 Wilshire Blvd in the Westlake district adjacent to Downtown). While Gus’s fried chicken is a traditional Southern type, the other top winner on my list, the Smokey Fried Chicken at Plan Check, is the opposite. It’s an elevated gourmet version of the dish marinated in buttermilk brine, fried in beef tallow and severed with Smoked Milk Gravy, Yam Preserves and Spicy Pickled Okra. It’s my favorite dish on the menu and real show-stopper.

Howlin’ Ray’s

#3 Howlin’ Ray’s (727 N Broadway #128, Los Angeles in Chinatown/Downtown). Located amid the souvenir shops and Chinese herb merchants in the Far East Plaza in Chinatown, Howlin’ Rays serves Nashville-style Hot Chicken. This place is so popular — and so incredibly good — that the wait in line can often take two hours or more. I don’t love waiting in lines, but this place is definitely worth it.

OB Bear

#4 OB Bear (3002 W 7th St, Los Angeles in Koreatown). This tavern in K-town serves the most awesome Korean fried chicken. Enjoy it with pickled radish, cabbage salad, a seafood leek pancake and a couple of nice cold Korean beers.

Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken

#5 Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken (9537 Culver Blvd, Culver City). This Culver City mainstay serves expertly cooked and super yummy Southern-style fried chicken made with high-end ingredients. I order mine with biscuits, honey, mashed potatoes and gravy.

Dave’s Hot Chicken

#5 Dave’s Hot Chicken (970 N Western Ave, Los Angeles in East Hollywood). Spice is the name of the game at Dave’s and if you love your chicken eye-tearing, lip-burning, brow-sweating spicy, then this is the place for you. But even if you wimp out and order your bird mild, you will be impressed with the deliciously seasoned Nashville-style chicken.

Golden Bird

#7 Golden Bird (8300 S Western Ave in Inglewood, 2847 Crenshaw Blvd in West Adams, and 13501 S Avalon Blvd in Gardena). This Southern fried chicken chain in South LA is a sentimental favorite of many Angelenos and has been serving delicious fried chicken and soul food sides and desserts (including Sweet Potato Pie and 7-Up Cake!) since 1953. The mouth-watering batter here reminds me of my personal childhood favorite, Pioneer Chicken.

Pikunico

#8 Pikunico (767 S Alameda St Suite 122, Los Angeles in Downtown). Newly opened in the uber-hot Row DTLA complex, Pikunico serves excellent gourmet Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) which is free range, gluten-free and made with locally sources ingredients. It’s served with house-made assorted pickles, three gourmet sauces (Daikon Ponzu Oroshi, Lemon Aioli, and Parsley Sesame Sauce) and your choice of Ginger Onigiri or Fingerling Fries.

Dinah’s Family Restaurant

#9 Dinah’s Family Restaurant (6521 S Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles in Westchester). This old school diner is an LA institution famous for their fried chicken (as well as their giant German pancakes). It’s perfect for a meal of fried chicken and waffles or as your first stop after landing at nearby LAX.

Anzu Japanese Gourmet

#10 Anzu Japanese Gourmet (11270 La Grange Ave in West LA) Even if you are a frequent visitor to the Japanese restaurants and shops on Sawtelle, you may not be aware of Anzu. Located just off of the main drag, it’s simply a tiny window with very limited seating outside where you can purchase some of the best Japanese fried chicken in the city.

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Filed under Burbank, Chinatown, Culver City, Downtown, East Hollywood, Gardena, Inglewood, Koreatown, Long Beach, Mid-City, Santa Monica, West Adams, West LA, Westchester, Westlake

The 10 Best Things I Consumed in 2018


It’s that time of year for blogs to make predictions, present year-end wrap-ups and bestow awards. In keeping with the custom, here’s my annual list of the ten best things I ate and wrote about during the past year.

Deep Fried Fluffer Nutter with Fresh Bananas from Black Market Liquor Bar


10. Deep Fried Fluffer Nutter with Fresh Bananas from Black Market Liquor Bar. More chefs need to find ways to incorporate marshmallow fluff into their food.

Hamachi in Monochrome, Sweet Pea in Pastel from Dialogue


9. Hamachi in Monochrome, Sweet Pea in Pastel from Dialouge. Three words: Off. The. Hook.

Pappardelle with Ragu Bolognese “Vecchia Scuola” and Parmigiano Reggiano from Felix


8. Pappardelle with Ragu Bolognese “Vecchia Scuola” and Parmigiano Reggiano from Felix. Q: What do you call a fake noodle? A: An impasta. The Pappardelle at Felix is incredible and deserves better than that joke.

Black Barley “Risotto” with Fermented Black Garlic Tea, Wheat Grass and Fiscalini Cheese Crisp from Kali


7. Black Barley “Risotto” with Fermented Black Garlic Tea, Wheat Grass and Fiscalini Cheese Crisp from Kali. Fermented garlic tea and wheat grass aren’t ingredients that usually come to mind when reminiscing about the best things you’ve eaten during the past year. Surprise!

Butterscotch Budino with Sea Salt and Rosemary Pine Nut Cookies from Pizzeria Mozza/Chi Spacca


6. Butterscotch Budino with Sea Salt and Rosemary Pine Nut Cookies from Pizzeria Mozza/Chi Spacca. Fun fact: the word “Budino” originally referred to a type of medieval sausage. Now it’s just the Italian word for what we Americans call pudding.

Grilled Heritage Pork in Koji, Pickled Daikon and Leek from Shibumi


5. Grilled Heritage Pork in Koji, Pickled Daikon and Leek from Shibumi. Those familiar with this blog knew there was going to be something Japanese on this list and also something on this list which is primarily pork. The exciting news this year is that these two things are combined!

Beef & Bone Marrow Pie from Chi Spacca


4. Beef & Bone Marrow Pie from Chi Spacca. Think about the best pot pie you’ve ever eaten and how much you enjoyed it. Now multiply that feeling by ten.

Momotaro Tomato with Bagna Cauda, Lap Xuong and Creme Fraiche from Here’s Looking at You


3. Momotaro Tomato with Bagna Cauda, Lap Xuong and Creme Fraiche from Here’s Looking at You. A lot of people don’t know that a tomato is actually not a vegetable, but a fruit. This is the best fruit dish in LA.

Peanut Butter Meringue Pie from Pie ‘n Burger


2. Peanut Butter Meringue Pie from Pie ‘n Burger. I have nothing against apple, cherry or pumpkin, but it’s amazing to me that peanut butter is not the most popular pie flavor.

Foie Gras Halva with Creamy Pâté, Date Paste, Black Sesame and Buckwheat Loaf from Bavel


1. Foie Gras Halva with Creamy Pâté, Date Paste, Black Sesame and Buckwheat Loaf from Bavel. This dish combines the flavors of two of my favorite things: fatty goose liver and the the candy you buy at the cashier counter when you leave a Jewish deli. It’s the best thing I consumed and wrote about in 2018.

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Filed under Downtown, Hollywood, Koreatown, Mid-City, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Studio City, Venice

My New Best Friend

If Here’s Looking at You (HLAY), the new small plate hotspot in K-town, was a person, I’d want us to be best friends. HLAY collects old books and is a fan of classic films; in addition to its Casablanca-inspired name, its yummy cocktails are called things like “Cutting Room Floor,” “Femme Fatale” and “Dickensian Villian.” Gregarious, creative and quirky, HLAY is a blast to be around.

Most importantly, HLAY knows a thing or two about amazing eats. HLAY’S Beef Tartare with Red Chili, Ramps, Yolk and Turnip is raw awesomeness. Its Momotaro Tomato Salad with Bagna Cauda, Lap Xuong Sausage and Creme Fraiche is a playful and incredibly delicious take on a BLT. And its Pork Belly with Vadouvan, Pistau and Dates is fatty and fabulous. Yep, HLAY and I are going to be seeing a lot of each other.

Here’s Looking at You is located at 3901 W. 6th St., Los Angeles (in Koreatown).

Beef Tartare, Red Chili, Ramps, Yolk and Turnip

Yellowtail with Wakame, Soubise, Kiwi, Serrano Chili and White Soy

Momotaro Tomato, Bagna Cauda, Lap Xuong, Creme Fraiche

Sprouted Broccoli with Ginger, H.O.P., Seeds and Nuts

Pork Belly, Vadouvan, Pistau and Dates

Hamachi Collar, Hot Paprika, Apple and Snake Peas

Beef Cheek with Daikon, Dashi and Aleppo

Yuzu Sherbet, Saffron, Sesame and Koji Cream

A Happening Spot in K-town

I’ve been hunting for a cool place like this to eat.

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Filed under Koreatown

The 10 Best Things I Consumed in 2017


As we bid adieu to 2017, let’s just focus on the good stuff. And by “good stuff,” I mean the food we consumed to tantalize our taste buds, lift our spirits and provide a bit of pleasure in these ever-changing and uncertain times. Keeping with tradition, here is my annual list of the ten best things I ate and wrote about during the past year:

Shul Lung Tang (Korean bone broth) from Han Bat


10. Shul Lung Tang from Han Bat. Is bone broth a miracle elixir that will cure all your ailments, align your chakras and balance your chi? Probably not, but there’s nothing better than a hot bowl of this soup on a cold rainy day.

Pork Chop “Niman Ranch” from Salazar


9. Pork Chop “Niman Ranch” from Salazar. The penultimate dish on my top ten list is smoky, fatty and juicy. As excited as I am about this pork chop, I’m equally excited about using the word “penultimate” in my post.

Flaky Bread with Labneh, Preserved Lemon and Honey from Kismet


8. Flaky Bread from Kismet. The servers at Kismet are flaky and so is the hipstery restaurant’s best dish: a melt-in-your-mouth pan-fried bread served with labneh, preserved lemon and honey.

Banchan from Genwa


7. Banchan from Genwa. We all like free things, and the ridiculous amount of complimentary banchan (side dishes of fermented vegetables, fishcake, seasoned peanuts, braised beef, scallion pancakes and other Korean delicacies) at this Korean BBQ joint has the additional benefit of being exceptionally tasty.

Ceviche Tostada from Holbox


6. Ceviche Tostada from Holbox. How do you make an octopus laugh? With ten-tickles. The Ceviche Tostada at Holbox is a lot better than that joke.

Macarons from Ladurée


5. Macarons from Ladurée. The French know a thing or two about creating incredible baked confections. I know a thing or two about eating them.

Marinated Short Ribs from Chosun Galbee


4. Marinated Short Ribs from Chosun Galbee. I know what you’re thinking: Where’s the beef? It’s right here at #4 and it’s amazing.

Fresh Uni in the Shell from Jolly Oyster


3. Fresh Uni in the Shell from Jolly Oyster. Fun fact: uni is actually a sea urchin’s gonads. These gonads are especially delicious when eaten right out of the shell at the Jolly Oyster stall at DTLA’s weekly Smorgasburg.

Pastrami Sandwich from Ugly Drum


2. Pastrami Sandwich from Ugly Drum. “Oy gevalt!”…is something you will not be saying when you eat this pastrami masterpiece (which is also found at Smorgasburg).

Carrot Mole Enchiladas from Trois Familia


1. Carrot Mole Enchiladas from Trois Familia. You haven’t really had carrot mole enchiladas until you’ve had the ones from Trois Familia. They are insanely good and the best thing that I consumed and wrote about in 2017.

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Filed under Beverly Hills, Frogtown, Koreatown, Los Feliz, Mid-City, Silverlake, South Los Angeles

10 Best Korean BBQ Joints in LA


There are few things in the world that I love more than Korean BBQ. Nothing beats gathering around a fiery tabletop grill with your friends while marinated meats are cooked to perfection right in front of you. Grab a hot piece of caramelized short rib with your chopsticks and pop it in your mouth followed by a swig of cold Korean beer. Yes, life is good.

After years of extensive research, here are my 10 favorite Korean BBQ restaurants in LA:

Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong

1. Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong (3465 W 6th St, Los Angeles) Part of a chain from Seoul owned by a comedian/wrestler, this place has everything you want in a Korean BBQ joint: a super fun and bustling atmosphere, fantastic service and incredible food. The only downside: they don’t take reservations and there is always a long wait.

Chosun Galbee

2. Chosun Galbee (3330 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles) While the food here is authentic and traditional (and absolutely amazing), I’ve found Chosun Galbee to be very accessible for Korean BBQ novices and it’s where I usually bring first-timers. Everything here is big — the menu, the restaurant (including a large patio) and the flavors. There are private rooms in the back which are perfect for parties. My favorites here are the chadol (thiny sliced brisket), spicy pork bulgogi and marinated galbi.

Magal BBQ

3. Magal BBQ (3460 W 8th St, Los Angeles) Magal is the cool new kid in town. It’s a recent import from a successful chain in Korea and has a party-like atmosphere. Make sure to check out their signature Beef Sushi and Volcano Fried Rice.

Genwa Korean BBQ

4. Genwa Korean BBQ (5115 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles and 170 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills) The big draw here is the banchan, the little side dishes of kimchi and other fermented vegetables, sliced pancakes, potato salad, boiled peanuts, braised beef and other Korean delicacies. While most Korean BBQ places give you between 4 and 7 different kinds of banchan, Genwa gives you around twenty different varieties and, as with virtually all Korean restaurants, they’re all refillable upon request.

Park’s BBQ

5. Park’s BBQ (955 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles) This joint is the top choice for ballers and foodies who demand the highest quality meats and don’t mind paying the highest prices. Their heavily marbelized Wagyu beef may ruin you for all other Korean BBQ.

Soowan Galbi

6. Soowan Galbi (856 S Vermont Ave B, Los Angeles) While the decor of this small strip mall eatery is a bit plain and the atmosphere is a bit staid, the BBQ is anything but dull. The quality of the food here is incredible and their marinated meats are among the best in town.

Hanjip

7. Hanjip (3829 Main St, Culver City) Owned by celebrity chef Chris Oh and LA restaurant maven Stephane Bombet, Hanjip is one of the few great LA Korean BBQ places outside of Koreantown. It’s also my favorite of the all-you-can-eat joints. In addition to the meats, make sure to order their incredible Kimchi Fried Rice, Uni Steamed Egg and Bone Marrow Corn Cheese. For extra fun, enjoy Soju poured into your mouth through a marrow bone “luge.”

Quarters Korean BBQ

8. Quarters Korean BBQ (3465 W 6th St, Los Angeles) Located in historic Chapman Plaza in the center of K-town, this is where I usually wind up when the line is too long at neighbor restaurant Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong. It’s fun and modern and they have great banchan and excellent bulgogi.

Soot Bull Jeep

9. Soot Bull Jeep (3136 W 8th St, Los Angeles) The pork baby back ribs here are insanely good. All of the meat is cooked at your table on charcoal grills, which adds a great smokey flavor to your food. The charcoal smoke fills up the restaurant and creates a magical atmosphere on a cold wintery night. The fact that the smokey smell remains in your clothes and hair when you leave is a small price to pay for all of that charcoal grilled goodness.

Chung Ki Wa

10. Chung Ki Wa (3545 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles) This traditional looking joint has old school charm and solid BBQ. The galbi is especially good here. Make sure to also order their famous cold buckwheat noodles.

If you enjoy Consuming LA, please subscribe, like me on facebook and follow me on twitter and instagram at the top right of this page. And please forward to your friends!

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Filed under Beverly Hills, Culver City, Koreatown, Mid-City