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POT by Roy Choi, a Soulful Ode to Korean Cuisine

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Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Photos by Matthew Kang

As promised, POT is a powerful ode to Korean cuisine by one of the most notable Korean-American chefs in the country. Roy Choi opened POT inside The Line Hotel to the public for lunch yesterday, introducing dishes that seem whimsical and inventive on paper, yet incredibly grounded, flavorful, and intense to a fault on the plate. Think "Boot Knocker" stew, Choi's take on a dish that Korean mothers make after school's. Filled with Lil' smokies, Spam, ramen noodles, and more than a few dollops of red chili flakes, it's about as rich as the cuisine can get, without getting too serious.

The gently wrapped Kat Man Doo dumplings come dressed in soy, chilies, and scallions for maximum effect, while chewy squid gets tossed with rice cakes, onions, and gochujang. In almost all steps, Choi is taking the cuisine of his motherland and putting an elegant, chefly touch that elevates and refines flavors.

Inside, see a rather stark room laced with some small details: floral accents on the wall, some hanging plants, and soft natural tones. Each table has a small nook to store plates, cups and utensils, creating more space for shared bowls and stews. Most tables have an induction burner that allows pots like the Fisherman's Wharf, chock full of roc cod, crab, mussels, and fish roe, or the Inside Story, laden with tripe, blood, intestines, and pork broth, to stay simmering for the entirety of the meal.

Most people will invariably get the Beep Beep, an uni dynamite rice bowl topped with fresh sea urchin roe and held together by slightly crisped rice. And the kimchi selections are varied: pickled sea beans, slivered daikon radish, requisite Napa cabbage, and more. It's like they've all been given a heavy handed seasoning from a Korean grandmother.

For solo diners there's a daily $11 noodle bowl of the day, or even single size pots, though they're only available on the counter spaces or tables without an induction burner (a notable technicality). As for drinks, a tight list of sparkling, white and red wines, as well as sake, soju, and draft beer. For more a more extensive cocktail selection, one will have to step outside to Matthew Biancaniello's excellent setup at POT Bar. And for dessert, grab some sweets at POT Cafe in the hotel lobby. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
·All POT Coverage [~ELA~]