3239 Helms Ave, Los Angeles, CA | Directions 9003434.030465 -118.384543
Neighborhoods: Palms, West LA
Asian fusion tapas style, the black rice and butterfish are a must!
The place is cool. But the 'no substitutions' policy is crazy, specially if you're vegan or vegetarian, cause you're left with like 2 options on the menu!
Stunning space, food to match – In a nutshell, Sang Yoon is a genius. If what I experienced is just a glimmer of Lukshon's potential, its future is gonna be downright blazing.
First, I was struck by the vibe of the place. Clean lines, with high ceilings and a sleek industrial look, yet at the same time, a cozy and inviting feel. (For those who love eating outside, even in the dead of winter - the patio has an outdoor firepit AND an overhead heating system that coated it in just the right amount of warmth - there weren't the hot and cold areas that you get with spot heaters.) Inside, the kitchen is open and exposed to the bar and most of the dining room, which gives a feel as if staff and customers are all one big happy family. For those who like to watch their food being "created" (as this is more than cooking), sit near that kitchen, because it's mesmerizing.
The service staff was excellent. The bar menu was awesome - a selection of artisan beer and wine, and specialty cocktails. I ordered a Hot & Sour Gimlet, which sounded nice and refreshing. I was right - it was absolutely delicious! Reminiscent of a mojito, but even better with hints of Thai basil and chile. My friend had the Romance-something, which was whiskey-based and fantastic.
Oh, and halfway through, we ordered a carafe of white wine (recommended by the waiter) that perfectly complemented our food. Seriously, like, so perfectly that my friends and I were surprised and couldn't help but comment on it. I can't remember the name of it, but since the wine list is short, I'm guessing they'll all be that good.
All right, on to the food. Being three hardcore foodies, my girlfriends and I poured over the menu - our patient waiter even went over every dish with us. It all sounded so amazing that we wanted to order one of everything. Alas, we finally settled on representatives from each menu section.
From the Raw section:
Scallops - light and lovely. The fresh apple citrus relish was a perfect compliment to the slices of buttery scallop, which melt in your mouth.
Baby Squid stuffed with Chiang Mai Sausage - A must try. A surf and turf version of pigs in a blanket. Little capsules of soft, perfectly cooked squid were filled with spicy homemade pork sausage. The accompanying tentacles were lightly fried and crunchy. Delicious and unusual.
Fois Gras Ganache w/Carob - also a must try. Small cubes of fois gras dusted with carob powder served with puffed rice for texture. Your brain can't decide if you're eating a rich fois gras or a rich chocolate mousse. Unlike anything I've had before.
Shortribs Rendang - beyond tender. Whatever it was braised in was spicy, flavorful, fabulous. The accompanying squares of coconut rice were a fantastic complement.
PEI Mussels - I love mussels, and these were some of the best I've had. The green curry broth was so good that once the mussels were gone, all three of us were scooping it up and eating it like soup.
Chiang Mai Noodles - yellow curry based with pork belly and a giant prawn. Literally an explosion of flavor. I couldn't stop eating these.
Okra and Fingerling Potatoes - the veggies were seasoned and caramelized perfectly. Another one I couldn't stop eating.
Wok Charred Baby Eggplant - The tomato sauce on this was phenomenal - deep, smoky and delicious.
They don't have a dessert menu, so instead, they topped off our meal with a wonderful, sweet shot of fresh kiwi soup with yogurt. (Free dessert is their thing.) It was the perfect finish.
Honestly, there wasn't one dish that didn't wow me. And frankly, as much as I eat out, these days I'm hard to wow. Next time, I'm all over the shrimp toasts, black rice, and the dandan noodles. (I watched those items come out as I sat there stuffed, cursing the fact that I didn't have a second stomach.)
To wrap it up, you must go here. Soon. Before it gets so popular that you'll have to wait hours or months for a seat. Because it will. Seriously. It's that good.
Lousy, heavy faire – Very disappointed with the newest addition to our neighborhood.
Heavy, muddled flavors. Nothing fresh about anything we had.
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