The restaurant looks like a converted IHOP. Well, in one life, it was an International House of Pancakes, but it was also a Mexican restaurant in more recent times. Now, Roy Choi has taken over the property and has made the place into a contemporary log cabin set in an urban landscape.
There's no sign that could be seen, but the A-framed building can't be missed. You walk in and immediately feel the warmth of the honey colored wood all around, the community tables, and the bustling kitchen just behind the bar.
For a party of five, we had to wait about 45 minutes for a table. As we headed out to the fire pit, we passed a corner table that seated Elijah Wood and Dominic Monaghan.
So far, so good.
We warmed up by the crackling fire and ordered some drinks along with the Furikake Kettle Corn. My Mayflower cocktail with lemon, rum and simple syrup was refreshing and strong. The popcorn was infused with butter, furikake, and something spicy. The dish reminded me of the Hurricane Popcorn packs from the Hawaii Popcorn Company that I grew up eating and love so much.
The kitchen fries [top left] were a good starch complement to the hoisin chili glazed baby back ribs and korean-style hot wings shown in the below pictures. I especially enjoyed the mix of purple okinawan sweet potato, yam and korean sweet potato to choose from, and the blue crab cakes [top right] wrapped in baby lettuce were a favorite of the night. The ribs were tasty, but if Roy Choi is reading this posting... sorry, but I think my family's Asian-style BBQ ribs are much tastier and much more lip-smackingly delicious. As for the hot wings, I'm partial to the sweeter variety like these Sesame Chicken Drumlettes.
Now, I'm not a huge Lamb Lady, but the barbecued lamb chops [top left] were not too gamey, not too tough, and just perfectly moist and pink in the middle. The Peruvian-style cracklin beer can chicken dish [bottom left] with century egg and two types of salsa was another hit at our table. The chicken skin is what made the meat's flavors pop.
For dessert, we tried the fried apple pie w/SoCo (Southern Comfort) caramel and cheddar cheese ice cream [top right] which didn't impress as much as the chu-don't-know-mang deep fried pound cake churros, sprinkled with cinnamon and served with a cup of chocolate malted milk and vanilla ice cream. On a cold night in December, the churros would have been perfectly paired with some malted HOT chocolate.
In all, the food was good, the company - great, and the atmosphere left me with a sudden urge to go snowboarding in Mammoth.
Another BoLA adventure finds a keeper. Next time, though, I'd give anything to see Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortensen. A girl can dream...
street: 12565 Washington Boulevard, Mar Vista, CA 90066