Sunday, March 27, 2011

Seoul Garden

There are few times in my foodie life when other people show me the good places to eat in town.  Usually, it's the other way around since I make it my mission to know about and dine at all the best spots in LA.  So it was really nice to discover something delicious in Seoul Garden at the recommendation of The Pouter.  I've been here many times since and I've been able to share this place with other friends.  On this occasion, I brought LoMa-Linda here to enjoy Seoul Garden's specialty, Korean style shabu shabu. 

Nothing particularly special, but just your standard iceberg lettuce with tangy creamy dressing.


Dipping sauce
Japanese shabu shabu is usually served with a soy based sauce and a peanut/sesame sauce.  At Seoul Garden, you only get one sauce, which is a slightly tangy and sweet soy sauce.  It can get a little tiring eating your meat with just one flavor, but the sauce tastes great with everything.

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Monday, March 21, 2011


LA seems to be infected with "yellow fever" for Asian food, or some interpretation of it.  With WP24, A-Frame, Red Medicine, Aburiya Torinako, Spice Table, and now Lukshon, the LA scene is blowing up with all that is deliciously eastern in flavors and foods.

The restaurant is wonderfully sleek and modern.  The menu is not meant for vegetarians.  It's full of meat and seafood starting off with a selection of raw and hot small plates.  Since Soprano Man is adverse to anything uncooked, we stuck with mostly cooked appetizers.  Our waiter suggested 2-3 selections from the "big" or entree sized category and then we supplemented with some rice, noodles, and vegetable sides.  I think we, or rather I, did a good job at ordering for our group of 5.  We found our meal quite balanced and everyone was full, but not ripping at the seams, at the end of the night.

Shrimp Toast rock shrimp, cilantro, chilies, tiny croutons
I would say our table is full of critics as tough, if not tougher, than the judges of Top Chef.  Unfortunately, we are definitely lacking anyone as hot as Padma in a bikini.  As soon as these lovely fried balls arrived to our table, some declared that these were not in fact toasts.  Ball or toast, nothing would prevent any of us from shoving these into our hungry pie holes.  The Attending (aka Tofu) did not appreciate much shrimp-iness.  This is true, the balls did feel like loosely composed shrimp plus extra fillers.  I still enjoyed the crispiness, overall flavor, and spicy tangy dipping sauce and would still order them again.

Beef Tartare pickled cucumbers, chiles, onions, herbs, aromatic rice powder
This reminded of the flavors found in larb, which is a dish of ground chicken, herbs, lime, chili, fish sauce, and rice powder.  The seasoning was much more subtle and refined.  Each bite was perfectly composed.  Soprano Man really missed out on this one.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011


There's been a lot of buzz about Fraiche and its new chef Ben Bailey.  Despite the 3 star ratings on Yelp, I had it on my list of to-try places even before Ben Bailey arrived because I really enjoyed their offering at Taste of Beverly Hills.  Plus, Wontuan gave it his seal of approval.  So with their new chef acquisition and all the blogger buzz, I just had to give it a try.  Smooth Obturator and Triple T didn't have much expectations going in, so were pleasantly surprised by the solid eats.

Brussel Sprouts chorizo, manchego, dates, almonds, piquillo
Although brussel sprouts can do no wrong these days, I was underwhelmed by this salad.  Smooth Obturator kept insisting the salad was good if you ate all the components together.  Try as I may, I just didn't see the harmony in all the ingredients.  I craved a bit more dressing to just bring it all together.  I'll give the dish props for using an ingredient not usual thought of in salads!

Baby Beets house made ricotta, orange, pistachio
Triple T seemed to like her dish of beets.  I'm always a bit put off when beets are not red, but yellow or orange.  They're just not as "wow" because sometimes, like in this case, they look like sad apricots or orange slices.  They tasted fine, slight sweet with meaty texture.  Eaten with the ricotta and arrugula made for some flavorful bites.

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