For all the ways Koreatown has changed recently, one quality remains: the neighborhood is a complete mishmash. You have old-school Korean taverns next to run-down burger joints and sad KFC's next to that brand new hotel even your New York friends are texting you about. And that's why it's a perfectly fitting spot for Here's Looking At You - the new restaurant on 6th St. that also feels like a mishmash. But just like Koreatown as a whole, it's a mishmash that works.
Like much of this part of town, Here’s Looking At You is located in a row of storefronts you definitely never noticed until you got here. The space is smallish, with a modern feel keeping things unstuffy and cool. There's a long wooden bar with books behind it, tiny black tables scattered around the dining room, and weird trinkets everywhere you look - all of which make the place feel like a neighborhood hangout. But then you open up the menu and realize it’s anything but. The beef tartare with red chilis is hands down the best thing here, and you should order it immediately because it’s probably about to sell out. Then you spot the nectarine with feta and sumac and the hamachi collar with fuji apple. And is that really veal sweetbreads? It sure is. Hardly the type of stuff you’d expect from a casual local spot, but Screech, we're not at The Max anymore.
Another unexpected twist? The drinks. They’re insane. Why they decided to go with a tiki-inspired cocktail list is unclear, but we aren’t complaining because the Tropical Medicine (pineapple-infused whiskey) is a drink we could have every day until we die happy and alone on a beach in Bermuda. Along from parking being completely nonexistent, this is reason enough to always Uber here.
And the crowd itself is just as much of a mix. You’ve got friends getting drunk and eating lots of shishito peppers, food bloggers from Santa Monica Insta-storying the Scottish salmon, and a quiet date in the corner going to town on that yuzu tart and each other's faces. And that’s just what makes Here’s Looking At You work. It’s not a perfect restaurant by any means, but the mishmash is what makes the place great. If they aren't already, your New York friends will be texting you about it soon enough.
Run, don’t walk. We acknowledge that red meat and egg yolk will generally always taste good together, but this thing is special. Combined with the heat of the red chilis and the crunch from all the veggies at the bottom, it’s no wonder this thing sells out.
How are these so good? Shishito peppers are what you order at upscale bars when you’re not in the mood to split another round of potato skins with your friends. But here they are on the menu and you better order them. That sauce at the bottom is all sex.
It’s not often a cocktail stops us dead in our tracks and makes us turn around and immediately order another one. If the idea of pineapple-infused whiskey with roasted pineapple on top seems like overkill, we thought the exact same thing too. Until we had it. And now, we will never be the same.
Surprise - sweetbreads are neither sweet nor are they bread. They’re a romantic name for the innards of whatever animal you’re eating. All that aside, these are actually very good. Just don’t think about it.
This isn’t the best octopus out of the 1,000 other versions floating around LA, but you also won’t be mad if you order it.
These are pretty boring. And because you have to peel them yourself, it’s tough to get a sense of how everything was originally supposed to taste together. Concentrate on other dishes.
You must save room for this. Promise yourself, your table, and us. You deserve it.