Chef Edward Hah grew up in restaurants, working at Sa Rit Gol, his family's place in Koreatown. This spring, he took over as chef of Neil Kwon's German-inspired beer bar and constructed a Korean-influenced menu to appease hordes of sports fans, gamers and hopheads who turn up to eat and partake in a pint. Hah retained K-Town standbys like drunken, charcoal-grilled and Korean fried chicken, plus sausage and “military” soup - a kitchen sink-style meal found after the Korean War that's loaded with ramen, Spam, hot dogs and kimchi. His more contemporary dishes include soft, creamy kimchi pancakes presented with frisee, spicy gochujang aioli and perilla-shallots. Seasonal specials might include a Fall Salad with Manchego, grilled endive, arugula, candied walnuts, crispy sliced discs of persimmon, figs and tarragon vinaigrette. Hah previously worked at 8 oz. Burger Bar, so he’s also got a number of burgers, e.g. the Chosun One with sautéed kimchi, gochujang aioli, pickled daikon, Dijon mustard and a salty slab of grilled spam on a sweet King’s Hawaiian roll.
The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel seemingly has cocktails, food and slinky dresses at every turn. The latest addition to the culinary landscape is a gastropub from executive chef Tim Goodell, who replaced his longtime Dakota steakhouse concept with Public Kitchen & Bar. A marble lobby bar transitions to the sharp dining room, which features Art Moderne chandeliers, plush brown cushioned booths and banquettes and ceiling panels painted with crowns and mythical creatures. A door along the western wall provides a peek at a row of pig statuettes and the fire engine red Berkel slicer, which feeds on meats that appear on a column-mounted blackboard menu. The printed menu includes tantalizing options like sweet grilled peaches with savory country ham, sherry vinegar, frisee and crunchy shaved almonds. Goodell features an assortment of seasonal sides, which might include stem-on globe carrots seasoned with cumin, tangy lebni and spicy harissa; or a skillet of corn pudding with diced Hatch green chiles and a crust of yellow farmhouse Cheddar. Goodell is the man who delivered 25 Degrees to the Roosevelt, so of course he’s got a burger at Public Kitchen, topped with four-year cheddar and served with mix-and-match containers of bacon, roasted tomato jam, Hatch green chiles and roasted mushrooms. When it comes to poultry, you can go either light (herb-rubbed roasted chicken with preserved lemons) or heavy (spiced duck steak with duck and foie “pie” and roasted apricots). Return your gaze to the columns for “Dessert Specials” like passion fruit-lime trifle with Chambord macerated berries.
Craft, Clementine and the mall’s “dining deck” are no longer the only Century City game in town. Over the summer, restaurateur Curtis Nysmith debuted the sprawling SmithHouse, featuring a contemporary design from Spacecraft’s Kristofer Keith involving brick arches, high-top and horseshoe shaped booths, an ocean of flat screen TVs and vintage painted ads for companies like Mail Pouch Tobacco and Mobil gas, complete with Pegasus. New York based chef Angelo Sosa, best known for his Top Chef appearances, installed a menu of slightly twisted comfort food, including a sesame chicken salad with orange slices, enoki mushrooms and sesame vinaigrette; Korean-inspired fried chicken wings sporting crispy, sauce-lacquered skins and cooling “Asian” ranch dressing; and a signature SmithHouse burger constructed from chuck and brisket, with a devastating marrow and Parmesan crust. Adam Schenck installed a draft beer program with 120 handles. Renowned bartenders Damian Windsor and Jason Bran from The Roger Room worked with London based mixologist Simon Ford on the cocktail menu, which includes drinks like the refreshing Pimm's A Peel with Pimm's No. 1, citrus tea and lemongrass on the rocks. Save room for the Corn Brulee, a cornbread disc covering cool, creamy crème brulee and sweet blueberry compote.
For years, Playa del Rey has grasped for a restaurant ambitious enough to appease savvy beach dwellers, and Hudson House chef-ownersBrooke Williamson brought salvation in the form of The Tripel, a Belgian-influenced gastropub on the neighborhood’s main drag. Their tightly packed space features exposed wood rafters, a bar facing a blackboard menu (and “Lubrication” sign) and a wood wall inlaid with the recipe for a Sumerian beer, taken from Hymn to Ninkasi. The Tripel’s kitchen is double the size of the couple’s counterpart at Hudson House, which allows for a more ambitious menu. They’ve got a turkey pastrami melt with pungent Cambozola blue brie cheese and stout mustard, a range of burgers, plus unique dishes like spicy biscuits baked with Thai curry and coconut milk, and white bean bruschetta with sweet wheat beer braised fennel, tangy capers and marinated white anchovies. They also draw on Belgian traditions to produce dishes like waterzooi, a chicken thigh and vegetable stew bolstered with cream, fenugreek, gremolata and a crispy golden potato latka. Finish with a warm, brownie-like chocolate cherry cookie topped with black tea ice cream, or turn to the blackboard for a craft beer or beer cocktail like the Sour Grapes with Madeira, tart St. Louis Lambic and a Luxardo cherry skewer.
1321 Downtown Taproom Bistro
1321 Sartori Ave., Torrance, 310.618.1321
2141 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, 213.483.2337
Public Kitchen & Bar
7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323.466.7000
10351 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City, 310.432.4360
333 Culver Blvd., Playa Del Rey, 310.821.0333