January 16, 2017


In 2017, I'm aiming for minimalism.  Less is more.  Because you don't need a ton of things to be accomplished or lead impressive lives.  This is a lesson I learned from Baroo when I dined there over a year ago.  And while this post is long overdue, I have a strong feeling the innovative and creative minds behind Baroo have not changed this theme, even with Chef Kwang Uh on indefinite hiatus in Korea.  

A table of Korean gentlemen appreciating innovative Korean cuisine.

Baroo, now enjoying national acclaim, is located in an unassuming strip mall off of Santa Monica Boulevard.  There is one table and the rest is bar seating, that is, if you can manage to find a free seat in the hole-in-the-wall establishment.  At the time of my visit, they didn't even have a website, but that has since changed.  You'll see many cookbooks and (I'm guessing) vegetables (or is it kombucha?) fermenting in various-sized jars.  Despite the somewhat experimental and minimalist ambience, the food is beautifully presented and even with some unusual pairings, surprisingly refreshing and unique.  Best of all, it felt like high-class dining in a hidden gem -- special, indeed.

Bibim Salad -- grains (oat, bulgar, quinoa), vegetable crudite (thinly shaved fennel, celery, asparagus, baby radish, heirloom carrots), toasted seeds (sunflower and pumpkin), gochujang, tomato dressing, herbs, coulis, Asian pear, passion fruit powder -- $9 (Vegan)

Kimchi Fried Rice -- pineapple-fermented kimchi, amira basmati rice, sous vide egg, gremolata, pineapple jalapeno salsa, purple potato chips, roasted seaweed, toasted buckwheat and quinoa, and micro greens -- $9 (Gluten-free, Vegan)

Baroo's Ragu-Style -- handmade pasta with spicy oxtail faux ragu, tendon puff, gochujang, gremolata with cherry tomatoes, aged parmigiano reggiano -- $15

Classic Shortbread -- 84% butter cacao nibs with citrus bursts -- $2

With each bite, you find yourself recognizing a familiar taste countered by something new.  The ingredients are familiar, but the taste is unique in a way that makes you want to try more.  All this to say, this type of food may not be for everyone, or may be for you when you're in that creative mood/ not ravenously hungry (food is not entirely filling).  But for those who appreciate innovation and can tolerate Korean fusion, visit Baroo.

cuisine: New American with strong Korean influence (fusion)
location: East Hollywood (Wilton + Santa Monica)
hours: Sun-Mon: closed; Tues-Sat: noon-3pm; 5pm-9pm
websites: { Baroo | facebook | instagram | twitter }
attire: Casual
notes: No reservations and no sign.  There's a 7-11 next door and a small parking lot.
other: Bon-Appetit article | JGold review


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