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West LA’s Newest Underground Takeout Spot Puts a Modern Spin on Korean Food

Chef Ki Kim and partner Arnold Byun have moved their fine dining sensibilities from New York City to Los Angeles

A box of banchan made with wood on a bed of rice.
Naemo
Ben Hon

Westsiders looking for a new kind of Korean restaurant now have Naemo to look forward to. The Sawtelle Japantown-area underground pop-up is now selling on Tock, turning out gorgeous dosirak boxes that include rice, soup, and banchan galore.

Naemo, as first reported by TimeOut Los Angeles, is the work of two East Coast expats with a fine dining sensibility. Arnold Byun, previously of New York City’s lauded Atomix and Eleven Madison Park, handles operational duties while chef Ki Kim (Atomix, Jungsik in NYC) works the kitchen. The hope, Kim and Byun told Eater by phone, is to bring a more modern Korean restaurant sensibility to Los Angeles, outside of the longstanding, genre-defining spots in Koreatown — and with more of a focus on farmers market produce and fine dining techniques. “In New York there are so many Korean chefs that are so ambitious and just trying to make it,” Kim told TimeOut, “and in L.A. and New York I think there’s a good demand for it. Now people are more ready for it than ever.”

Naemo will operate as a weekly pop-up out of a private space in West Los Angeles. Boxes can be ordered in advance via Tock, and run $75 for two. Pickups happen on a rolling basis, Wednesday through Saturday, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Look for updated menus, new items, and expanded service down the line — and possibly a standalone restaurant as well.

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