Roy Choi's POT
- wienermobile Mar 30, 2014 07:18 PM
Had a wonderful dinner at Roy Choi's POT at the Line Hotel in Koreatown tonight. Went early around 4:30 and the restaurant was around 1/2 full. Very friendly staff, the first thing they do is offer you a apron and believe me you will need it. Started with the $11 noodle of the day with chilled somen noodles with raw and pickled vegetables, chili paste and hard boiled egg. Very tasted. Also as starters we had the saltwater brined Mackerel (one of the best dishes of the night), the beer braised pork belly with sautéed kimchi and steamed tofu, and the Squid spicy Yum with grilled squid, rice cakes and jalapeño. The main dish is their hot pots. They come in 4 sizes and are meant to be shared (single pots starts at $9 and go up to $96 for four). We had the Fisherman's Wharf with rock cod, crab, sardine, clams, mussels, fish roe, shrimp, tofu, daikon, scallions, Sesame, spicy paste and herbs. Wow was that good. This is a mix of traditional Korean and Roy Choi's LA take on Korean food and for us it really worked. Wonderful and friendly service. The bill for the two of us with no alcohol was $110 and had plenty to take home. On our way out we stopped at their cafe in the lobby for some take home treats including sweet custard buns and their mac and cheese french bread pizza. We will definitely be back. Just a warning they do not take reservations. We were told after 7 it gets very busy. They have only been open only since Tuesday and they said the wait can be as long as 2 hours in the evening. Full bar if you want while you are waiting.
They were out of a few of the dishes we wanted to try…the Kat Man Doo Steamed dumplings and the Beep Beep Uni Dynamite Rice bowl. A good reason to return.
Here is a list of all the POTs and prices,,
The Boot Knocker: tofu; instant ramen; canned meats including Spam, corned beef hash, spicy pork sausage; rice cakes; fish cakes, chile paste, herbs pork and seafood broth ($23/$44/$55)
Dang, Son: spicy rice cakes, fish cakes, onions, chewy noodles, hard-boiled eggs, scallion, anchovy broth ($21/$38/$49)
Redondo Beach: spicy crab, bean sprouts, sesame, onions, nira, tofu ($35/$65/$86)
Dak Dak Dak: spicy chicken, onions, peppers, herbs, "funk" ($25/$49/$61)
Cabbage: soy bean paste, vegetables, tofu, squash, potatoes ($22/$41/$52)
Fisherman's Wharf: rock cod, crab, sardines, clams, mussels, fish roe, shrimp, tofu, daikon, scallion, sesame, spicy paste, herbs ($39/$72/$96)
Jamaal Wilkes: silky tofu, shrimp, clams, mussels, kimchi, scallion, pork belly, egg ($34/$56/$84)
Inside Story: wild sesame, tripe, blood, intestine, pork broth, herbs ($23/$45/$58)
Shorty: braised galbi, chstnuts, dates, taro, carrots, turnips, scallion, sesame ($35/$59/$85)
Old School: marinated prime rib bulgogi, noodles, kimchi, scallion, sesame ($36/$78/$94)
From LA Magazine:
1. Hot pots are the main attraction here, but don't disregard the other items and also the other-other section—all listed inside a newspaper-like menu that's full of references to sex and weed and other fun things.
2. The house water? It's an iced tea-like beverage that tastes like popcorn.
3. The server outfits are comprised of so many different (but fun) patterns that, especially after a drink or two, you might get dizzy looking at them.
4. The tables are equipped with induction hot plates, but there are no buttons to call servers over.
5. Word to the wise: The hot pots here are big. The $35 portion that says it feeds 2-3? It could easily feed 4-5.
6. There's a salad on the menu called Kush. The dish of steamed dumplings is called Kat Man Doo.
7. There are two low bars, situated in front of glass barriers behind which prep cooks work. They don't serve drinks behind these bars; drinks come from POT bar.
8. Behind the back bar, a DJ will be spinning most nights next to the prep guys.
9. The host that's wearing a gold necklace that says 'Boss' is not really the boss.
10. After your meal you may be treated to a complimentary Ritz caramel bar. Eat it, no matter how full you are.
11. The cafe sells, among other things, army cakes and Hello Kitty cakes by the sheet or slice. All of the pastries at the cafe are made in-house.
12. POT will not take reservations. When it opens next week, it will serve from 11 a.m until 11 p.m. daily. If there's a line to get in, don't forget that you can wait for your table at the bar outside.
From their bar:
The cocktails were designed by super mixologist Matt Biancaniello:
1) Curry Soju - the flavor is so unique and different, it sounds really odd but it actually works (kind of like a pickleback), this was definitely my favorite drink of the night
2) Kimchi Soju - wow, this definitely packs a punch, my lips were tingling from the spice but I kept wanting more (definitely a dangerous drink)
3) Nato Soju - ok I have to admit I have never tried nato (fermented soy beans), since it always freaked me out, but this was a surprisingly refreshing flavor (maybe it has more to do with the cucumber)
4) Uni Cocktail - this had a very subtle uni flavor to it, but the main takeaway for me was the nori, really quite delicious
5) Mushroom Cocktail - this was very different and completely unexpected, I was stunned by how the amount of mushroom flavor that I almost wanted a little bit of salt
6) Mezcal and Tonic - super fragrant and potent, it also leaves you with a subtle amount of heat towards the end
7) Walnut Cocktail - this was a beautiful drink, the best word to describe it is just beautiful
8) Carrot Hops Cocktail - the carrot makes this drink super sweet, it is also really refreshing
9) Fuzzy Navel - this may be a classic drink, but there is a twist, with apricot, and kumquat, it really crazy flavorful
10) White Russian - I wish this was an ice cream, the flavors are everything that a woman could ask for when she is in a fit and more. Really amazing dessert drink
11) Long Island Ice Tea - If you want to get drunk, and get drunk quick, this is the drink to get, it is super strong and surprisingly easy to drink, especially with the chunks of aloe at the bottom
12) Midori Sour - this is also a huge drink, really great flavors and the melon is a nice touch
I wouldn't mind a return visit but I didn't care for any of the dishes we tried. Had the sea beans, somen noodle special, fisherman's wharf and shorty. The pickled sea beans with ground sesame and seaweed were pretty good, albeit a tad salty. The somen noodle was not as good as your typical bibimgooksoo at your typical korean joint, and the noodles were slightly overcooked. The shorty is like a galbi jjim only with more broth and less meat - I advise against ordering this as you can get a much MUCH better one at most places that have galbi jjim. The fisherman's wharf fared better...I liked that the fish roe made it reminiscent of al jjigae or al tang (fish egg stew)...but the one big hunk of sardine and broken up bits of rock cod didn't make it very appealing otherwise.
I'm sure the trendy place will do well, particularly with those uninitiated into the korean stew world, but as for myself, it'll be just another addition to the growing list of Roy Choi restaurants, none of which I enjoy.
Haven't been yet but I'm looking forward to it! Any hounds looking to go as a group so we can try a few pots?
Just read kevinEats' review (http://www.kevineats.com/2014/03/pot-...) where he mentioned that individual portion hot pots are only available after ordering a larger size first. Can anyone else who's been confirm? Might make this not quite solo-friendly if true. Though I guess I could order a two-person one and take the leftovers home.
You know how many k-town restaurants (not all but many) specialize in a dish or two?
POT has quite a number of dishes that not only are super tasty, but frankly, remind me of korea.
i had feared that POT would be fusion-y. the decor, for sure, truly does make it feel like i'm in the basement cafeteria of a museum, as opposed to a hip restaurant.
BUT, many of the dishes reminded me of bitter cold nights in korea standing on the street eating spicy-ness and loving life despite the cold.
His spicy squid and rice cake dish was fantastic, put me right back in seoul.
the spicy dried squid 3 dollar dish was perfect.
The pot we had, the "dang, son", probably isn't the best on the menu, but it was nicely spicy, and chewy and made me eager to try other pots.
the spicy pork was also great, perfectly cooked.
the mackerel reminded me a bit of a fish spot in jeju island off the south of korea.
the uni and rice dish was the only miss. i'm still new to uni, but the dish just tasted like mayonnaise to us. Didn't have the buttery, smooth taste i've had with the uni dish that red medicine use to offer.
I'll definitely be back and would love to hear about other dishes you all have tried.
What fun to read this review!
The hubster and I were at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books last weekend and one of my priorities was hearing Roy Choi speak. So we grabbed two vacant folding chairs and listened.
Roy is a sweet funny guy with a few wrong turns in his past. He talked about his mistakes, then getting jobs that turned out to be great as they helped him be prepared for his next job...
And then, finally, he talked about POT. How important it was and how, in many ways, stupid it was of him to even try, as he's a born in America Korean, versus "real" Korean, and how that plays out. And how his Dad called him, very late at night, having to talk. Has to. So Roy,as his parents are older, thinks it's a health issue and is concerned. And then his Dad gets on the phone and says, basically "I went there tonight and I need to talk to you about everything that's wrong with POT." LOL.
So glad you went and enjoyed it. Yay Roy!
Besha Rodell at the LA Weekly awarded three stars to Roy Choi's POT at the Line Hotel. Rodell is generally impressed by Choi's effort in Koreatown:
You might have noticed that both those dishes aren't really Korean at all but rather nods to other cuisines that are part of the cultural soup Choi has been marinating in all these years. But there's certainly a lot of Korean food to be had here. The "rooster sauce" is basically a spicy, chicken version of jjigae, the fiery Korean stew, its molten red broth imbued with chicken fat and funk. The "steam room" lines up slices of cold pork belly and steamed tofu, divided by mounds of fragrant kimchi...http://www.laweekly.com/slideshow/roy...
Had dinner here Saturday. Lots of seats open when I walked in a little before 8, pretty much filled up within half an hour or so. The music felt loud but didn't interfere with conversation, maybe they filter out the vocal range.
Spicy dried squid ($3), really good, great with soju.
Baby anchovy with fish cakes and jalapeño ($3), fantastic, never had anything quite like it, sort of a cold salad of salty fish products. Great with soju.
Pickled sea beans ($3), fantastic. Seasoning seemed more Japanese than Korean.
"K-Town caviar" ($8) = spicy mentaiko with grated daikon. Excellent.
"Stinky kimchi" ($2) was just regular nappa kimchi. Good in the usual way.
"White kimchi" ($4) was chilled water kimchi of cucumber. Excellent and unusual.
"Pickled kimchi radish" ($2) was French-type radishes. This was the one dish that didn't really work for me.
The items in the free kimchi trio were fairly standard: cucumber kimchi, bean sprout namul, some sort of greens, again good in the usual way.
"Squid.spicy.yum" ($12), ordered spicy, good version of a classic dish, didn't seem very spicy to my jaded palate so I asked for some gochujang.
"Kat man doo" ($9) were delicate pork dumplings, pretty much like Chinese potstickers minus the searing on one side. Very good.
"Inside story" ($10) didn't seem very innards-y to me except for the pieces of tripe. Good but would order one of the seafood pots next time.
"Stash" ($5), I think they were all house-made but this was basically a bunch of dry salty things like you'd get in bags at a Korean store. Excellent bar snack after the second or third bottle of soju. Probably good for stoners, too.
If I lived in LA I'd be going back weekly or so to work my way through the menu. Somebody should open a place like this in Oakland.
re: Robert Lauriston
Great report and nice to see you in my neck of the woods. Thanks for your help on my SF trip.
The greens in the free kimchi is buchu, garlic chives. Apparently it is a not uncommon vege to be "kimchi'd" in Korean cuisine but it's the first time I'd encountered it, at POT. Really liked it.
I'm all in on POT - it is great.
nice (if small) mandoo
wonderful Dang, Son (spicy rice cakes, fish cakes and glass noodles)
glorious Old School POT
I have pretty much been "so-so" everything Roy C has done since the first Kogi fizzled out, but this is a major home run!
I had a frustrating meal tonight at Pot, perhaps due to some ordering errors. For two, we had the Shorty pot, the spicy squid dish, and kimchi fried rice. With two beers, this meal came out to a whopping $78 before tax and tip.
The kimchi fried rice was one of the most forgettable versions I've had in koreatown. The stone was not even hot, and the flavors just weren't there.
The pot...eh, it was pretty good, but not memorable. I'd rather have a bowl of soon tofu. And at the ridiculous $38 price tag, I regretted it.
The best thing we had was the squid dish. This was one of the best cooked squid preparations I've had in K-town. The sauce was just great.
It's hard for me to imagine coming back here. There are so many better options in K-town for a fraction of the price. I can get out of beverly soon for $35 for two and have a much better meal.
I was there last night too. Didn't love the place, but liked it quite a bit, and it's a pretty fun atmosphere. Let's just say I'd rather take my non-Asian friends here if they wanted Korean food and aren't the most comfortable around FOBby mom-and-pop joints. But then again, I don't keep these type of people as friends...
While the hot pot didn't amaze me, and is definitely priced higher than it should, the restaurant isn't THAT overpriced overall. Five of us ate very well for ~$35/person. Have to use a place like Ondal 2 as a comparison rather than (insert soondofu/jigae spot here), where the soup is ingredient-driven (and I assume POT sources better than the average Korean restaurant - I got this whole story about the new tomatoes from their own artisan farmer, etc.). I spend $20-30/person at places like Hamji Park/Seongbukduong/Soban, so it's not as if Korean food is that cheap in general. You're probably paying 20-30% more than you should, but that's to be expected of a hot restaurant from a celeb chef located inside a sexy hotel catering to bougie hipsters.
But back to the pot dishes - I'd order just a small of whichever one, and order plenty of the other dishes. Or don't even order a pot if you don't want a soup. I would be more than happy eating there with just the potato pancakes, dynamite bowl and the new yukke (beef tartare) dish, along with the most underrated thing on the menu: a bowl of pickled sea beans for $3.
I think I said this upthread, or echo'd someone else saying this, but POT is "Easy Mode" for Korean food. POT seems to make everything more than competently, but there are other places in K-town that does each dish better. Here's the kicker, though: they won't all be under one roof like POT is.
There has been surprising a lot of street parking on my 2 visits to the Line Hotel these past 2 weeks. Check on Wilshire west of the hotel, and on adjacent streets south of Wilshire. No need to pay for meters after 6pm I think.
Also, seating has been adequate. Our group of 5 was immediately seated at Pot around 7pm on a Saturday.
re: Ciao Bob
The cocktail - the Basil was like a bourbon gold rush with a herbaceous kick. Excellent. Got Hot Pot SHORTY BRAISED GALBI, CHESTNUTS, DATES, TARO, CARROTS, TURNIPS, SCALLION, SESAME - was excellent the broth was really complex without being too sweet. And the pickled sea beans as a side so flavorful. Other favorite dish were their grilled Santa Barbara prawns sliced lengthwise with a bit of sauce - sweet and a little crunchy. UberX so easy and cheap after you work in valet. tip and/or a parking ticket. Roy made an appearance the night we were there - was fun.
Really fun, enjoyable meal at POT last night. Brother, sis-in-law, niece and me. Far too much food + 3 beers = <$160 w/ tax before tip. Niece and I both found spaces on the first block S/W of the hotel. Potato pancake -- crispy, delicious, and the dipping sauce so good I asked for a refill for other dishes. Kinchee fried rice, great, loved the crispy texture at the bottom, avoided the egg. Individual pot of the "old School" -- came at the end, I liked it much better than the HUGE small hot pot with the silky tofu, shrimp, pork belly, just SO MUCH. Smart service and perks -- bowls and dishes underneath on a ledge at your table. Fortunately, my brother hosting is the "if you want to taste, order it" kinda host. If more judicious ordering, would have been satiated and pleased at a significantly lower price. Very good attitude of staff in the house and outside at the bar.