Koreatown’s next great shining star is shaping up to be Here’s Looking at You. Chef Jonathan Whitener and Lien Ta both spent time working under newly-minted James Beard winners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, and are taking their skills to the next level with a personal project for them both, situated inside the former Whiz on 6th Street.
Now Food Republic has an interview with the pair, discussing their style of food and what it means to be changing the dining perception in Koreatown. Here are five takeaways to help get you excited for Here’s Looking at You, which should arrive by early summer at the latest.
It's the new fusion. The menu will pull influences from a variety of sources, making it a sort of LA-focused fusion. The term is really a shorthand for Los Angeles' natural cuisine these days, and the cooking at the restaurant will be a multicultural representation of Whitener's own cooking style, background, and favorite flavors.
It’s also not Korean. It’s unlikely that you’ll notice much of the Korean angle in this Koreatown restaurant when it opens, and Whitener says that’s by design. Here’s Looking at You is actively hoping to change minds and hearts with their off-the-beaten-path food and service, making it a far cry from the many more traditional Korean restaurants in the vicinity. Simply put: they’re hoping to bring something different to the table, quite literally.
Things will be smoky. Here’s Looking at You isn’t going to shy away from animal proteins, be they smoked, grilled, or pan-fried. There are plans for two separate grills, actually: one a mesquite and hickory-fired option that will be smoke-assisted for maximum flavor, and a smaller hibachi for high heat items.
Expect a little sexiness. Ta says that she and Whitener are on the same page about the feel of Here’s Looking at You: they want it to be just the right amount of sexy. That’s not to say the diminutive restaurant will be a glitzy lounge full of beautiful people all the time; instead, think of simple moodiness and a funky dining room, with some Otis Redding playing in the background.
Yes, there are going to be cocktails. While all that sexiness might make Here’s Looking at You sound like a sultry wine bar, there will be a full liquor license on site for the space. Ta and Whitener aren’t saying just yet who they’ve got working the bar program, but they promise it’s going to be someone they love and trust.
Here’s Looking at You is in the last leg of their build-out, which means the restaurant could be up and running very soon. There’s still lots to be done, though, so don’t expect a grand opening tomorrow.
Here's Looking at You
3901 W. 6th St.
Los Angeles, CA