Those who have been following the food truck scene in Los Angeles know the trendsetter Kogi. And those in the know who don’t want to stand in the long lines at the Kogi truck drive over to the Alibi Room in Culver City to get their tacos served hot by the same people who started Kogi. Now, those who want more than a Korean taco or kimchi quesadilla can check out Kogi’s new sister restaurant Chego – yes, this is a legit restaurant in a quintessential strip mall in LA.
Chego means “the best” in Korean so I was curious to see if the place lived up to the name. The Korean influenced restaurant opened in April in this unassuming strip mall off of Overland near the freeway. It’s far from downtown Culver City or the bars. When I got there on a Tuesday evening, the line was out the door. Inside, there are tables with seats that line the walls but in the center there’s a long communal table people stand and eat at. I admit I like the standing table because it saves space and you get a chance to talk to strangers — because of the casual atmosphere.
OK, let’s get down to business… the food. Don’t expect tacos or quesadillas at this joint. It’s straight up small dishes, bowls, and appetizers. The dishes are Korean inspired but not purely all eastern. I mean, just take a look at these Ooey Gooey Fries… chilli, two types of cheeses, sour cream, pickled garlic and then some… there was definitely some western influences in making this appetizer.
Believe it or not, I wanted something a little light and I had a hard time finding that on the menu. I settled for the $12 Salad (which is really $7) that has goat cheese, cranberries, mixed greens, miso, and pickles…
I also got a side of the 3PM Meatballs. These are three fried meatballs with polenta, meat, sesame, and topped with green onions. I really wanted to like this dish and it almost had it – the flavors were there but I wanted the outside to be a little but more crispier since it was fried. But, boy, it sure looks pretty.
If you go to this place, it helps to bring a group of friends because you can try each other’s food. One of my pals ordered Tiny’s Prime Rib Rice Plate. Um, there’s nothing tiny about this dish. The meat was cooked just right – juicy in the center with lots of flavor in the skin.
Someone else at our table got the Buttered Kimchi Chow which is between kimchi fried rice and bibimbap. It was really flavorful but a bit too spicy for me. I did like how they added the furikake seasoning on top though. If you’re into the spice – this dish is for you.
My verdict? The prices were decent and I’d go back again but next time I’ll skip the small dishes and go straight to the main dish – especially that prime rib plate. Yum!
I do wonder if more food trucks will go legit and open storefronts. Do you know some are following in this trend? Let me know!