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ok, i tried Chego on Overland. Culver City (had only one dish)

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i got only one dish because the wait in line to order a couple of additional dishes was beyond ridiculous. i gave up.
i had the grilled romaine salad (i know, not their specialty)

for an additional $4 i can get a similar dish at Gjelina.

the difference is that at Gjelina:
1) the size of the portion served is larger.
2) the tables are not sticky/disgusting dirty
3) the rags that are used to wipe the tables down are a) actually used after EVERY diner, and b) not filthy
4) the dish, as it's served at Gjelina, is more complex--better.
5) unbelievably, the parking situation at Gjelina is better
6) at Gjelina, they will serve your food on real plates and you can eat it with real silverware.

i never thought that i'd look at Gjelina as a bargain, but for $4 more you get so much more.

-----
Chego
3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

Gjelina
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

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  1. The Q you really must ask yourself: do you want a $10 beef bowl? Followed by absolute hogwash ice cream next door?

    Secondarily: do you want this "chef" to cook Jamaica food? http://losangeles.grubstreet.com/2011...

    1 Reply
    1. re: TonyC

      If there ever was a case study in bad fung shui, Beechwood's location would be it...

    2. No comparison between the two versions - Gjelina Hands-down. Chego is great beer food for young folks sans beer. I think the flavors at Chego are too strong for me but others feel they're just right. I usually order out and tone down the average dish with a fair amount of rice or bread.

      1. Are you really comparing the food at Chego, witch is basically a quick service/take out joint to the food at Gjelina one of the top restaurants in the area??

        The reason Chego is packed with locals every night is because its inexpensive for what you are getting, The bowls are filling and flavorful and you can be in and out in 30 minutes.

        Could it be cleaner? sure it could, but i've never felt like the cleaning was neglected. Gjelina had better be better than Chego and cleaner, they have a bigger more highly trained staff at a much higher price point. This is in no way to knock Gjelina, which I love, but I don't think the comparison is fair to either restaurant.

        -----
        Chego
        3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

        Gjelina
        1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

        12 Replies
        1. re: AAQjr

          I would say it's like comparing Iggy Pop to JS Bach...

          1. re: Servorg

            i had hoped to like both, just as i like both iggy pop and js bach.
            unfortunately, it wasn't going to happen here. . . .

            1. re: westsidegal

              The thing is, you were comparing one to the other, and you found Iggy wanting in the comparo...

              1. re: Servorg

                what i was trying to point out, was that the VALUE at Chego was wanting when looked at in comparison with gjelina--something i never would have predicted.

                actually, the salad, itself, wasn't half bad when i finally got it, but the whole experience made it such a lousy VALUE, that i won't go back.

                fwiw, i don't think Gjelina offers great value, but the value-for-the-buck offered at Chego (albeit at a lower absolute price) is, imho, FAR inferior.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  I've always found their rice bowls, especially the sour cream hen, to be great values. As bula pointed out, the strong flavors that Chego puts together aren't for everyone.

                  -----
                  Chego
                  3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

          2. re: AAQjr

            <<you can be in and out in 30 minutes>>
            when i was there, trying to order a second round of food, i stood in line for 15 minutes before giving up. your experience differs completely from mine.

            of course i expected the food at Gjelina to be better because their prices are higher, but i absolutely didn't expect to find the food and service at Gjelina to be a better VALUE for the dollars spent: yet, that was my conclusion.

            1. re: westsidegal

              Chego is no value at all, it just gives the illusion of being one. Quite the opposite, in fact, very high prices for the crappy ingredient quality. And your parking conclusion was spot-on as well.

              -----
              Chego
              3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

              1. re: Ciao Bob

                maybe i should be thankful that the line was so long and i didn't end up throwing any more money at this place.

                for value in the area, i can do better going south at Thai Boom, Samosa House, or Bawarchi for food, and for drinks, the $6 margaritas at Kay 'n Daves in CC.
                to the north, Shamshiri Grill provides much better value.

                for value for that type of salad, the best value can be found at Fig during their happy hour deal (if that is still being offered) and, as mentioned before, a better value can be found at the regular price at Gjelina.

                -----
                Shamshiri Grill
                1712 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                Thai Boom
                10863 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                Samosa House
                11510 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA

                1. re: westsidegal

                  I had a mixed but much happier dinner at Chego. The grilled romaine was the least successful dish -- limp, not charred, no acidic or garlic punch like Gjelina. But I thought the rice bowls were flavorful, and I really liked the french fry dish -- they stayed crispy through the whole meal and were a very large portion. Their asparagus also was a much better comparison. Our portion of the communal table also was wiped down more successfully.

                  So wsg -- I guess we won't be gathering at Chego or Nook for fish.

                  -----
                  Chego
                  3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                  Gjelina
                  1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                2. re: Ciao Bob

                  +1. Well, maybe I wouldn't be *quite* so acerbic. ;) I thought it was moderately overpriced for sloppily thought-out rice bowls. Like the poster below, though, Ithought the fries were quite good. FWIW, I enjoyed A-Frame, although I thought that that was kind of pricey for what it was, too.

                  -----
                  A-Frame
                  12565 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                  1. re: ilysla

                    "I thought it was moderately overpriced for sloppily thought-out rice bowls."

                    I'm not sure what you mean by sloppily thought out? They are certainly meant to get in and "mix-up" after you get your food to mix the flavors.

                3. re: westsidegal

                  what do they put in the salad? never had a grilled romaine salad before.

              2. I don't love Chego, though I've been two or three times and would go back once in awhile. But in my experience: it has hardly been dirty or disgusting; there have been lines, but the wait from the time you enter until your food is served isn't longer than at most restaurants, it is just that some of it is spent in line; and it wouldn't occur to me to judge it by its grilled romaine salad. I think the most ardent defender of Chego would be willing to concede that the similar salad at Gjelina might be a better experience all round. (And the waiting in line is shorter if you only do it once, rather than go back a second time.)

                Me, I found the rice bowls I've had tasty, but ultimately too much of a goopy mush, in which the flavors are not well differentiated. But, as I said, not so much so that I wouldn't want to eat it now and again. And I also liked the asparagus in my one try of it.

                -----
                Chego
                3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                Gjelina
                1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                8 Replies
                1. re: Capybara

                  "Me, I found the rice bowls I've had tasty, but ultimately too much of a goopy mush, in which the flavors are not well differentiated."

                  My issue from the first time I had one of the bowls is that they sort of put the parts in different areas without really mixing them. And each of those parts/ingredients are VERY strong in terms of taste. So, if you don't mix them well you get this too intense bite of one of them. So making the bowl into somewhat of a "goopy mush" is nothing short of a necessity. You really need to mix the components together thoroughly to get the full (blended) taste experience.

                  1. re: Servorg

                    I've only been one time and that was well over a year ago, so I don't recall exactly what I did w/ the rice bowl (i.e., I don't recall specifically if I mixed it altogether, although that's generally what I do w/ such dishes).

                    My recollection was that it came as a "goopy mush" (as the poster above characterized it) and that flavors were all muddled w/ a particular "theme" that I could discern. Was it supposed to be tart? Salty? Spicy? It was a little bit of all of those, and instead of being comforting or tasty and inventive, it was just kind of confused and oddly bland. It was almost like they were trying to hard to be "ethnic" and "down-home" in a self-consciously hipsterish way, if that makes any sense. And I realize that it perhaps doesn't. ;)

                    1. re: ilysla

                      Bland? The rice bowls? Now that's a quality that I have NEVER heard being ascribed to any of Roy's food before. ;-D> Thanks for replying in any case.

                      1. re: ilysla

                        Hitching to Servorg's response. If there is any one thing I'd suggest to Roy Choi, it would be to pull back on the flavor components. Bland has never entered my mind in the dishes I've tried at Chego. Super amped-up flavor is often the problem here. As I mention above, I can extend his average bowls quite a bit by adding more rice or bread for my tastes - not for frugality, but to temper down the flavors.

                        1. re: bulavinaka

                          But that's sort of my point. When you amp up EVERYTHING w/o any particular unifying theme, it's almost like getting an overwhelming sensory overload that leaves you tasting nothing particularly memorable at all. Actually, "unmemorable" probably would've been a more accurate term than "bland," now that I think about it.

                          I'm not particularly familiar w/ Roy's food, but I actually found a few of the dishes at A-Frame kind of bland... er, unmemorable, as well, even though I liked the restaurant overall.... ::shrug::

                          1. re: ilysla

                            I think I know where you're coming from. Your sense of taste gets overloaded by the quantity and intensity of flavors, maybe? That would be a fair assessment from my POV, and that's why I prefer Chego as take-out, and adjust the flavor levels myself. I think Roy Choi is a gifted chef, but IMHO, his style can be hit & miss in winning over taste buds. He can be very creative, mixing elements, styles and techniques that fall into the "fusion" category but from a unique perspective. His approach has a certain feel that makes me think that Roy has spent a lot of time in a lot of places at ground level while not detaching from his culture. Here's my perspective from the end of last year:

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/751571

                            We had a long overdue visit to A-Frame for lunch today and while the menu had some changes to it (some new items along with some breakfast-y items as well as an abbreviated list of items from their regular menu), the items we had still have his influence. I really liked the fish tacos, beer can chicken, and the breakfast plate, while the ribs were a little too cloyingly flavorful for my taste buds, and this one dish reminded me the most of Chego. Layers of cloying flavors hit my tongue too heavily - my reflex was to reach for a bowl of steaming rice, or peel away the meat from the bone and stick it between two slices of bread. That would have adjusted the level of flavors to my liking. The warm peach cobbler was amazing though, with a fresh sliced peach sitting on a lavender biscuit topped with cinnamon crumble and baked in a ramekin and topped with a scoop of goat milk vanilla ice cream. It's a simple assembly and bake and not far from a traditional dish, but the lavender biscuit and the ice cream were different enough to make this A-Frame's dish. And like so many of Choi's dishes, he really has no serious rules, and has strong notions as to what plays well together in his world.

                            1. re: bulavinaka

                              Yes (to the first paragraph). But I would also add that I think there's a textural component that added to (my) confusion, as well. When the flavors don't meld (IMO) and there isn't a defined texture or "chew w/ which to associate the flavors, then it really does end up being a "goopy mush," to some of us.

                              Perhaps that's why I liked A-frame better? I didn't find the flavors as odd and the *components* were more identifable (i.e., this is a piece of vegetable, this is a piece of chicken, this is a piece of bread, and so forth).

                          2. re: bulavinaka

                            All this chego talk is making me hungry! See you all there ;-)

                    2. I find it hard to believe that a place that has "ooey gooey fries," complete with sour cream, sambal, melting monterey jack and cheddar cheese, cotija (the monterey jack and cheddar cheese weren't enough...), chillies, cilantro, and pickled garlic is anything short of the best stoner food ever. I need to check this place out.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sushigirlie

                        I'll wait to try Gjelina's version! ;-)

                        'the best stoner food ever' - that describes most of their food, lol. Try the sambal crunch chocolate bar!

                        -----
                        Gjelina
                        1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                        1. re: sushigirlie

                          What's amazing about the ooey gooey fries is that with all of that stuff on the fries, and even after driving home with it, a lot of the fries are still pretty crispy. As AAQjr says, most of their food is stoner food. Just wish they were around back in the 70s-80s... @_@

                        2. and you have to wait an hour at Gjelina to get a table - with a reservation

                          and you get to shout your conversation

                          and you get to leave a fatter tip

                          no bargain there at all

                          -----
                          Gjelina
                          1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: dharmathug

                            I hate how close together the inside tables at Gjelina are. It's horrible. The table against the wall closest to the window is worst, because it has an armrest right where you want to sit, so you are forced to sit off-center. I figure if you can't get a patio table, it's not worth eating at Gjelina.

                            That said, in its price range, Gjelina's food is very good IMO. Indeed, you could argue, depending on your tastes, that it's "best in LA" quality.

                            -----
                            Gjelina
                            1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                            1. re: sushigirlie

                              Yeah, I'm not too picky about ambiance... but I won't do Gjelina at night anymore... The dark room makes it feel more claustrophobic... However, it's my TO GO Place for business lunches and brunches. The room and waitstaff feel is quite literally day and night...

                              --Dommy!

                              -----
                              Gjelina
                              1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                              1. re: Dommy

                                feel the same way.
                                like it a lot during the day,
                                but not much at night.

                                most of the time i go for a late lunch.

                            2. re: dharmathug

                              never said it was a bargain, just that imho, it was a better value.

                              1. re: westsidegal

                                But only a better value for that one particular dish, right?

                                1. re: mollyomormon

                                  yup, because that one dish was all i ate of their food.

                            3. The places Chowhound leads me! Chego probably has the worst atmosphere I've encountered in LA, and certainly the worst service. The music is ungodly loud and ungodly awful. The place is jam packed with people in their teens and early 20s--mostly Asian, all goofy looking. It takes forever to order because the staff who should be taking orders also bus customers' food. On top of all this, rather unbelievably, you have to wrap up your own food and bag it yourself for takeout. That's a first!

                              The food was not so good. I tried the kim chee platter first. This had a wide array of pickled vegetables. It was pretty awful. Way too sweet; also too soggy from being drenched in god knows what kind of sauce.

                              Then I tried the ooey gooey fries. The fries themselves were very crispy and yummy. Unfortunately, they were drenched in a disgusting sauce that included sour cream, supermarket aisle cheese, and lots of other stuff. It was as if the cook at the Walmart snack bar decided to get creative.

                              Finally, I tried the sriracha candy bar. I have no complaints about this. The chocolate tasted like supermarket candy bar quality. Still, this "candy bar" had a lot of redeeming qualities. I enjoyed the interplay of the crispy rice layer, the salty peanuts, the sweet caramel, and the hint of sriracha.

                              I wouldn't go back to Chego if you paid me--I find the place insufferable--but I'm glad I tried it.

                              -----
                              Chego
                              3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                              17 Replies
                              1. re: sushigirlie

                                To recount all of this tells me you weren't buzzed - your bad.

                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                  Zing!!!

                                  1. re: TonyC

                                    bula:
                                    if you need to be buzzed to enjoy a certain kind of food, that doesn't say much about the food actually being good.
                                    let's face it, if i'm stoned enough, i can happily work my way through the entire frozen dessert section of any lousy supermarket. it would be easier and cheaper.

                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                      I should have put a wink-wink or smiley face. Most of Chego's food is no-holds-barred. No one else is doing this (yet), Roy Choi has a huge following, and his over-the-top flavors here ring high notes with mostly younger eaters. I think if one is looking for farm-to-table, organic, high-quality/high-execution, balanced, layered and subtle flavors, Chego will laugh in the face of such things and keep partying.

                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                        i'm not necessarily opposed to over-the-top flavors.
                                        (after all, for years i regularly at the chicken at Dinos on pico near berendo.
                                        by comparison, in all the years that i ate at Dinos the tables NEVER were filthy/sticky, and the wait for food was NEVER as awful as Chego's. the dining experience was ALWAYS far better. now this was several years ago, and i don't know how Dino's is now, but still i am not at all averse to hole-in-the-wall, flavorful-food places.)

                                        it's the rest of the Chego experience that turned me off.
                                        if i'm going to "spend" those kind of calories, i don't want that kind of lousy dining experience.
                                        have never been one to do much take out, so that changes the cost/calorie/time/pleasure ratios for me.

                                        would rather spend the same amount of money and time on digging around the menu at ekemai to find another dish or two there that i like as much as i like their veggie spring rolls (the initial rec came from Dommy, and she must receive credit).

                                2. re: sushigirlie

                                  Ok, I have to chime in here in defense of what has become one of my favorite take-out places.

                                  westsidegal & sushigirle – you’d probably agree with me that Chego is the antithesis of fine dining. Yes, the place is borderline insufferable. It is loud. It is full of annoying self-absorbed twenty-somethings, college students & hipsters & Kogi groupies. They pack in there like sardines, elbow to elbow, along the communal tables and shout their inanities. Yes, you have to package your own food unless they are unusually slow and they're feeling particularly charitable. (In the dozen or so times I've ordered takeout, they've packaged it for me twice.) It’s the kind of place that my husband avoids like the plague. BTW, sg, you got the ooey gooey fries to go and they were still crispy? That's amazing! Actually, those fries are probably my least favorite thing on the menu – but I’m a bit of a French fry purist. And the kimchi sampler only works for me as a condiment. But I really love their rice bowls. (btw, here's a disclaimer: I'm Korean, so I love me some bibimbap) And that is the whole point of Chego - it's all about the bowl, man. Bibimbap, reinterpreted. I love the unexpected combinations of Korean & SE Asian flavors. And there's something in those rice bowls (possibly fried onions or shallots) that gives it amazing earthiness & smokiness & umami. I can never quite put a finger on it, but that flavor, along with the pungency of Korean fermented condiments, the bitter notes of basil or perilla leaves, the satisfying crunch of water spinach, make one very satisfying meal. To my knowledge, no one else is doing anything remotely like it anywhere in LA. And it’s damn good. I get a mad craving every few weeks and find myself once again circling the block for that impossible parking spot, standing amongst the annoying crowd, waiting patiently, then yes, packaging my own food (the horror!), and smelling dinner for the interminable ride home.

                                  So I urge you to give it just one more chance and order a rice bowl, because I really think you’re missing out on some fantastic flavors. Is it amazing food? No... but it’s utterly satisfying and opens up your senses and pushes all the buttons on your palate. The flavors are strong, assertive and sometimes unexpected and downright bewildering. Perhaps it’s not for everyone, but at least give the humble bowl a try.

                                  Look, it's an ULTRA-CASUAL eatery. I've only eaten there in person twice and not likely to do it again if I can help it. It's the kind of place that appeals to the food truck groupies (and no, I am not one and don’t even like Kogi). I'm guessing Roy Choi sees this restaurant as a mortar & brick version of his trucks and his followers are only happy to duplicate that chill, devil-may-care experience of truck dining.in a more permanent setting. So I don’t go expecting top-notch (or even mid-notch) service, squeaky clean tables, perfectly professional FOH operations … because it’s just not that kind of place. It’s more of a…. joint.

                                  1. re: soniabegonia

                                    Thx, Sonia. My sentiments exactly. I had avoided this post because I love Chego's modern version of bibimbap, and this post was about their SALAD? Chego is all about the rice bowls. Westsidegirl, I generally respect your fine opinions on this board, but going to Chego for the salad? it was like another poster who didn't like Vito's because of his pasta??

                                    -----
                                    Chego
                                    3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                    1. re: Ogawak

                                      i actually had planned to have more food.
                                      since i didn't want the hot food to arrive at the same time as the salad, i had planned on ordering the dishes serially.
                                      after experiencing the filthiness of the tables, witnessing the filthiness of the wipe rages (dunno how they got so filthy because in the time i was there, i never saw them used even once between customers, the noise, the interminable wait, and the general yuckiness of the experience, i passed on anything more. my criticism wasn't really reserved for the salad itself, as the salad was more than tolorable.
                                      the criticism was directed at every other aspect of the restaurant.

                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                        Can't argue with much of what you said. We ate there once. Now we just take out. pretty much stick with the bowls. Still have the highest respect for you and your posts.

                                  2. re: sushigirlie

                                    goofy looking people have ruined so many of my dining experiences. could you start a thread about which restaurants have a guaranteed no-goofy looking people clientele?

                                    1. re: linus

                                      In that case you'll need to avoid Disney's Buena Vista Commissary at all cost... ;-D>

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        Really, how's the food at the the buena vista commissary. I always wanted to eat at a place called the Commissary.

                                        1. re: kevin

                                          Don't know, but I know that Goofy can eat there on the company dime anytime he wants...

                                          1. re: Servorg

                                            Still LOLing!

                                        2. re: Servorg

                                          I _only_ patronize establishments with 'goof looking people', so that I fit right in. Extra points for mugshot/bed-head and sporting a cape. De-merit if your socks match...

                                          1. re: silence9

                                            My bad haircuts get me lost in this crowd but get outed when they see the pleats in my shorts...

                                          2. re: Servorg

                                            LOLing!