National publication The New Yorker reviews David Chang’s Chinatown restaurant Majordomo in a piece from food critic Hannah Goldfield. Already Chang’s restaurant has received endorsements from GQ, LA Mag, and Eater’s own Bill Addison, though LA Times critic Jonathan Gold filed a mostly negative review. This latest input from The New Yorker joins the parade of critical praise for one of the city’s biggest new openings.
The New Yorker review sets the tone by contextualizing Majordomo in a city that knows its Asian cuisines. There are multiple “towns” where ethnic populations converge, and while Majordomo pays homage to many of the Korean and Chinese dishes one might find in LA, they’re not blatant facsimiles.
She jumps right into one of the heavy hitters on the menu:
The sweet, full-bodied, almost chocolatey Korean short ribs—braised, in the traditional way, with Asian pear and daikon—are served tableside, with dramatically gooey shavings from a block of hot raclette, inspired by a restaurant in Koreatown that tops its ribs with mozzarella.
Of course there’s the obligatory mention of LA’s healthy dining culture:
Even the Bounty Bowl, a platter of haute crudité with dips—which seemed at first like a concession to the health-and-wellness nuts that give L.A. a bad rap—made its case.
Really the bowl is a farmer’s market edition of a typical ssam platter in Korean restaurants, though Majordomo does serve it as a crudite instead of an accompaniment to tabletop barbecue. In the end, Goldfield observes that Majordomo really is a kind of physical representation of David Chang’s theses in his Netflix show Ugly Delicious about cuisines, culture, and what makes something taste good:
Eating at Majordomo, whose name means head of house, is like taking a walk through Chang’s brain; he isn’t fusing cultures so much as Venn-diagramming, showing where they already overlap in ways that the average American diner may never have noticed. Instead of “You should eat more Asian food,” the message is “You’ve been eating Asian food all along.”