Food Porn Friday | Pot | Los Angeles

Friday, April 11, 2014


I’ve been bi-county for over a year now and one of the many joys I get out of living right in the heart of Ktown LA is venturing out to the thousands of Ktown eateries all within a 2 mile radius from my humble abode. Enter Roy Choi’s latest Pot at the newly minted Line Hotel.


Opened just 2 weeks ago right smack dab in the midst of Wilshire where high-octane energy hustles and bustles morning, noon, and night. Very much like its neighboring Hollywood Blvd., minus the tourists, double the hipsters.


I’ve learned a lot about K-towners this year, namely the fact that peeps living in this part of town (Korean or other) are SOOOOO proud of their hood. I mean what’s not to love: Downtown LA just a few miles south, Silver Lake right under the 101 to the east, Weho and Bev Hills just a short drive north, and SoCal beaches just yonder out west. Choi’s come a long way from his infamous Kogifood truck developing further food concepts with Chego!, Sunny Spot, A-Frame, and now back to his Ktown roots with Pot restaurant, café, and bar/lounge (named after Korean hot-pot soup).

The newspaper-style menu is broken up into various sub-categories of hot pot soups, street fare, sides, and noodles. Our group of four opted for something from each category and since we were seated at the bar/expedition kitchen, we missed out on the communal hot pot dining (served at regular table-tops) but took advantage of the sights and scene from our cozy little corner hobnobbing with the staff, prep cooks, and even Mr. Choi himself.


Check out some sample dishes below as Choi takes you on a journey through Korea, from the eyes and palate of a true Angeleno.

Old School with marinated prime-rib bulgogi, noodles, kimchi, scallion, sesame. The hot pots have various sizes ranging from “Me, Myself, and I” a “single-serving” style that can easily be shared amongst 4 (our pick) to medium/large/and extra-large servings. My dining style is always to order as many dishes as I can, keep the orders small in size, that way I get to sample flavors from every category. I half-expected this soup to taste a bit Westernized for the American palate, but I love that Choi grounded the flavors in familiar territory, no doubt tending to his hood and all its partisan residents. The smoky broth, bold seasonings, and blend of braised gogi mixed with the spicy kimchi made for a heart-poundingly awesome meal in itself. I love how rich the flavors were, all the better to wash down our soju with.


Endless banchan mix of sliced cucumbers, bean sprouts, spinach served ‘round the clock. Freebie combo very indicative of what every other Ktown establishment offers. Except that they charge $1-$3 for kimchi, unheard of in these parts but hey, someone’s gotta pay the overhead to keep this place up and running, right?

K-town caviar, daikon, smoked sesame, and Serrano. Our least favorite dish of the night. The texture was a mix between a chunk of tuna and coagulated corn meal, tough and chewy, and not chopstick friendly to say the least. You’re forced to spoon chunks away from the meat as it didn’t break easily to the touch. Fishy flavors complemented this dish, so if you’re not into chicken from the sea, I would definitely not recommend this.

Baby anchovy with fish cakes and jalapeno: LOVE this little side dish, the anchovies were chewy and crunchy with a slightly salted flavor that works wonders with some beer.


As did the spicy dried squid that we kept re-ordering. The chopped scallions were a simple, but bright touch to these street fare staples, elevating it from Mom and Pop shop to fancy hotel dining. Two must orders!


Poke Me with yellow fin tuna, edamame, sea beans, Maui onions, smoked sesame, and shoyo vinaigrette (top) Kush with Asian greens, radish, fruit, pine nuts, and mustard dressing (bottom). While both salads were very fresh and flavorful, I preferred the variety of textures in the Poke Me with the sweetness of the onions balancing out the savory soy sauce. The Kush was a bit milder in taste, but both refreshing nonetheless. It’s just a matter of preference between the two.


Shorty with braised galbi, chestnuts, dates, taro, carrots, turnips, scallion, and sesame. For those of you who like your galbi jjim sweet and saucy, this one’s NOT for you. Almost like a cross between an herb-flavored Mongolian hotpot and Vietnamese Bo Kho (beef stew) I really loved the bold, almost Chinese medicinal-like flavors of this soup. Simple, savory, and best of all clears your sinuses with just one spoonful, how many of your beef stews can attest to that quality?

Kimchi Fried Rice: Bibimbap the way it was meant to be served. Piping hot, crisped and charred, with 2 over easy eggs to scramble with. AHMAZINGGGGGGG! My only gripe is that the stone pot didn’t stay hot long enough to scorch the rice after the first helping. If there was a way Choi can devise this sucker with a temporary burner underneath, you’d get the crunchy layer at the bottom with every bite. Order 2 small ones instead of one large serving; it’ll save you the trouble of talking shit between scoops ;D

La pièce de résistance: Saltwater- Salt-brined and dried croaker/pine mackerel. Every Korean joint serves up some variation of this fried fish staple, yet somehow, some way, Choi has managed to out-smoke/out-fry/ out-season his competitors in this department. The mackerel was beautifully charred with a crunchy and light texture, with no signs of any oil whatsoever from the first to the last drop. Us SoCal gals sure do LOVE our fried foods but without all the greasy fat! ACES in my book, a definite MUST order!


Roy Choi standing guard over the main dining area at Pot (top)
Draft Beer and ginger toast at Pot Cafe in the lobby of the Line hotel (bottom)



Pot at the Line Hotel
3515 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 368-3030


*Insider’s tip: The Line hotel’s grand opening was at the beginning of this year with Pot Cafe and Pot bar not far behind and Pot Restaurant opening just a couple of weeks ago on March 25. Expect a large crowd and long lines as the restaurant does NOT accept reservations. But don’t fret my pets, there’s plenty of people watching to do as the open floor plan of the lobby allows you to see and be seen from every geometric angle of the modern spatial design. Grab an uni cocktail (yes, uni!) at the circular Pot Bar or a super-yummy Asian childhood staple of sugar-buttered ginger toast at the Pot Café while waiting for your table. Waitresses clad in striped spandex 80’s gear complete with fanny packs serve the communal bar lounge while a mix of Tony Rich Project and Mary J.Blige filter the air with 90’s flashback beats. All-in-all a raucously good time in Ktown where if you’re from these parts of LA, everyone (seemingly) knows your name! Good food, good drinks, good company, sounds like the perfect night out to me!*

Happy Happy Friday y'all and as always...
Bon Appétit mes amis!

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3 comments

  1. you and those food dishes look great,I love eating out-paul

    ReplyDelete
  2. How cool , love that type of food have a wonderful weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gosh girl, all that food again... It seriously makes me so hungry every time :D But it's so nice to learn all kinds of foods there is out there! ♥ xx

    ReplyDelete

Give it to me...gimme that funk, that sweet, that gushy stuff

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