Looks like white-hot Koreatown still has some things to figure out on the dining front, as the shiny new Terra Cotta restaurant on Wilshire will close for a grand overhaul just under eight months in.
The seriously stunning space next to the Wiltern had all the trappings of a new dining star for the neighborhood, complete with tall ceilings, a hideaway private dining room for discerning guests, and an ambitious culinary program that blended flavors from across the globe. It was all ultimately for naught though, as the bar remained the focus for many diners lining up for shows — much to the exclusion of the beautiful dining room beyond.
So Cris Lee and the Sixth Avenue Restaurant Group — the folks behind so many other popular Koreatown destinations from Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong on down — will move in a different direction, pivoting to make the bar a more primary player. The room will mellow out some to remove the fine dining edges, and the menu will undergo a transformation as well. Chef Danny Ye will stay on, but the formal fare will be scaled back to act as a benefit to the bar.
With the transition will come a new name as well, though that hasn’t been determined yet. Meanwhile, just up the street the new Mama Lion opened last weekend under chef/partner Michael Hung, with a similar focus on drinks — the place features a massive four-sided bar after all — and music. Around the corner Here’s Looking at You landed a Food & Wine best new restaurant win, and things are still going well at place like the Line Hotel, Walker Inn, and Koreatown mainstays such as Seoungbukdong and Sun Nong Dan. Things are going well in the city’s densest urban pocket, so hopefully with a bit of retooling the (soon to be former) Terra Cotta can come back stronger than ever.