Chef Roy Choi, Kogi Food Truck, A-Frame, Alibi Room, Chego, Where to eat in Los Angeles, CA, California, L.A., LA, Where to drink in LA, Chef Recommendations, Where to shop, Grocery, Cocktails, Korean BBQ, Bars, Taco Trucks, Best Trucks in LA, Asian, Spanish, Latin, Coffee, Mixologists, Italian, Pizza, Taiwanese, Chinese, Asian, New American, Animal, Hollywood, Culver City, Palms, Koreatown, Arcadia, Pico Union, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Mid-City, Century City, Thai Town, Silver Lake, West Los Angeles


Kogi BBQ Trucks, A-Frame, Alibi Room, Chego - Los Angeles, CA

Q & A with Chef Roy Choi

Q. Is it true you’re opening a new restaurant in the former Beechwood spot?

A. Yes, it’s my newest project. I was never a businessman before any of this. For awhile, I had a lot of anxiety and started to overthink things to where if I made a move, am I over extending myself, am I selling out, am I doing too much, but finally I reached the point where I was like, fuck it. It’s not a bad thing that I can do these things, just do them with integrity.

Beechwood had reached its heyday and it was over, so I was like, man I could really come in here change it. It has great bones, great crowd and it’s at the heart of Venice Beach. But, I don’t think we can keep the name.

Q. What kind of cuisine is it going to be?

A. What is singing to me, right now, is the West Indies, Caribbean. But it’s not going to be a Caribbean restaurant. I don’t expect anyone from Martinique or the Bahamas to say this isn’t authentic, it’s just going to be in the spirit of the West Indies, use a lot of the ingredients that are down there, but just twist them to my LA mind.

Q. When do you expect it all to come together?

A. We’re in the first phase right now, so we hope to be open by early November.

Q. On September 2nd, you’re going to host a party for The Taste in LA, what are you going to do?

A. I’ve been doing my best to be pain in everyone’s ass from a public level,

from not doing TV and interviews and it’s not because I’ve had a big head or anything like that, it’s been really weird for me. So, I’ve resisted it as far as I could. I haven’t done many festivals or food and wine events. The taste respected that. Instead of building a Paula Deen-type cooking event, we created a party that’s my style.

It’s a party on the streets of New York on the Paramount lot, we got a DJ, Jason Bentley, who is really respected, and we’re handpicking some of the best taco stands in LA.

Q. Who are some of the taco stands that you like?

A. Ricky’s Tacos with their fish tacos, El Chato, Leo’s -- which does the best El Pastor, and La Estrella.

[See details.]



Q. Are there markets that you would recommend checking out?

A. A-Grocery Warehouse -- it’s like a wonderland. Any cook or any foodie would fall in love with this place. It’s been there for ages, probably 35 years. Hardly anyone knows about it, except for the people who actually shop there, mostly Cambodians, Filipinos, Koreans, Vietnamese, Thai, local chefs and a smattering of hipsters, who have moved into Silver Lake and Echo Park.

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Q. Are there websites you enjoy from a food perspective?

A. Deep End Dining -- I really like this guy’s blog. He goes out and eats at really wacky places and he has a really fun, comical writing style.

This is a little bit obvious, but it may not be to a national audience, if you really want to know the city, you have to read Jonathan Gold, from a food level. If you’re from LA or your from a heritage that is not European-based, like Central America, you’re usually a part of the lifestyle that Jonathan is writing about about, so you don’t really need to read his stuff, you’re actually living it. Get out of West Hollywood and Santa Monica for a moment, go to LA Weekly, read Jonathan, pick  a couple of spots and then go from there. Then start to see how we really live out here.

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Q. If you wanted to show a visiting chef that LA was a food town, where would you take them?

A. I would start with the San Gabriel Valley and Koreatown, because that is what I know best.

In the morning, I would take them for some beef soup at Han Bat. It’s kind of a cloudy, clear beef soup, that we eat for breakfast in Korea with kimchee. That’s all they serve, they only serve one soup. You go there and eat that and it’s a great start to your day.

Maybe get some coffee. I think we have a great coffee culture in LA . Everyone knows about the espresso culture of Intelligentsia and Stumptown, but I think LAMill has a really great coffee program. It’s enlightened me about coffee, the brewing and the patience of it and the different extraction methods. But then, it doesn’t feel so cerebral.

I love Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in Arcadia, for their soup dumplings. I love 101 Noodle Express for their beef roll.

On the chef end, places like Animal and Son of A Gun. What [chefs] Jon and Vinny are doing, even though they are not from LA, they are one group of people that came in and they got LA from the beginning.

Son of a Gun -- their chicken sandwich is really delicious and their lobster roll.

Animal, for the Hamachi Tostada, really delicious.

For me, if you could pick one place out of the regional food and the Latino and Asian, just one spot you have to go to, it would be Mozza. Nancy Silverton is the cornerstone of LA and with what she did with La Brea Bakery and changing the way people eat bread in America. Mozza, just day in and day out for the last seven years or so, it’s just killing it. It’s always delicious.

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Q. Other places you often go to?

A. Beverly Soon Tofu House. It’s a hot caldron of spicy silken tofu and that can be your gateway into the Koreatown.

Langer’s Deli for the best pastrami. Pretty amazing, hand-cut pastrami on crusty rye, Russian dressing and cole slaw.

[See details.]

Q. Is there a cool, off the beaten track restaurant that you like?

A. El Parian -- they serve a Goat Birria, a Mexican stew, and carne asada tacos. 99.9% of the people they see all day are nothing like you, so it’s obvious to them that you are there for the food.

[See details.]

Q. Who is doing interesting things in the food-truck world?

A. South Philly Experience -- these guys really care about their stuff. They get Amaroso buns from Pennsylvania, they fly in their Herr’s chips, they get real meat and slice it really thin. They bring in the cheese whiz and they’ve got the provolone. They really try to do everything right from start to finish.

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Q. You’re really into milkshakes, any favorites in LA?

A. The best milkshakes and sundaes I get are at two places you would never expect me to say:

The Disney Fountain Soda Shop -- it’s my favorite milkshake in town. They use the Dewar’s Ice Cream from Bakersfield and it’s the old school soda fountain, with the seltzer sprayers and everything. They have great milkshakes and hot fudge sundaes.

The other hot fudge sundae that is really delicious is at Gulfstream Restaurant. It’s actually a chain restaurant from the Houston’s group and it’s just delicious, they put these little nuggets and chunks in there.

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Q. Where are you going these days for cocktails?

A. There are some great bars in town run by the Houston Brothers.

La Descarga and the newest one is called Harvard and Stone. Amazing period bars. One is from the Fidel Castro era and Harvard and Stone is USO, American WW2 era. Amazing spaces and nothing kitschy or cliche, even though there are a lot of kitschy and cliche items, they just fit perfectly in the space.

I think the best mixologist is Julian Cox, he does stuff for Rivera and Picca. His drinks have a complexity, with floral and fruity profiles that I enjoy. He makes an avocado-guacamole cocktail at Picca that blows your mind, because it tastes nothing like you’d expect, but everything like you think it is.

[See details.]


Details of Roy Choi’s recommendations for where to eat, drink and shop in Los Angeles, CA.


- Blackjack Quesadillas






Various Locations - Los Angeles, CA

Korean Tacos





Culver City

New American

12565 Washington Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90066

T: 310.398.7700



Culver City

Bar / Cocktail Lounge / Korean BBQ

12236 Washington Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90066

T: 310.390.9300



Culver City / Palms


3300 Overland Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90034

T: 310.287.0337