This week, Jonathan Gold heads to Koreatown, where he describes the contemporary cooking as "spicy, nimble and adept at crossing cultural boundaries; quick to reference street food traditions but with farmers market ingredients; and look back to an idealized agrarian idea of California," to review Here’s Looking at You. The cuisine at the restaurant by Jonathan Whitener and Lien Ta shows the influence of Whitener’s stint as chef de cuisine at Animal:
It is easy to see traces of Animal in Whitener’s cooking: strong flavors, jolts of acidity and torn Asian herbs, and a tendency to stuff hints of umami almost everywhere it might conceivably belong — anchovy and Chinese sausage in the tomato salad, sumac with the beets, and fish sauce in the ketchup-like purée smeared under the fried soft-shell prawns. [LAT]
That style translates into some pretty delicious dishes:
Almost every chef in town has flirted with shishito peppers in the last couple of years, but Whitener’s version may be the best: hard-seared and arranged on the side of a large, rustic bowl at whose bottom puddles the sauce you usually find drizzled onto a summertime veal tonnato. [...] And the 30-day dry-aged Holstein rib-eye, which at $120 is vastly more expensive than anything else on the menu, is a wonderful piece of meat, tender and funky, burnt and juicy, salty and enhanced by a blob of melted radish butter, definitely worth eating on somebody else’s dime. [LAT]
The Goldster also praises the cocktails that are "remarkable in their inventiveness."