Friday, April 16, 2010


I think I'm the last person in LA that hasn't managed to catch the Kogi truck so I was super excited to learn that chef Roy Choi would be opening a brick and mortar restaurant that I wouldn't have to keep up with Twitter to find. I'd looked over the menu, read some reviews and already knew what I was going to order before I even went...all before I even had any plans to go. Luckily, my friend Kris emailed me earlier in the week to say we should check out the restaurant. Last night could not come soon enough. Chego is in an unassuming strip mall in west LA. In fact, if you aren't paying attention, you could totally drive by and miss it. Luckily, we caught it just in time and despite hearing that parking could be a nightmare in the residential neighborhood, we scored a spot right away.

To start, Kris and I shared the 3PM Meatballs and Charred Asparagus. The meatballs come flavored with Korean spices over a polenta cake. They are really flavorful and definitely spicy, but I didn't find them to be smack you in the face spicy.

3PM Meatballs

The asparagus was phenomenal. The char adds great flavor and I thought the combination of chilis would be weird with blueberries and Parmesan, but it all went perfectly together. I wanted to eat more, but I also wanted to save room for the main event.

Charred Asparagus

All of the bowls at Chego come topped with a fried egg. You can choose between kimchi, chicken, pork belly, and prime rib. I went with the pork belly. It was crispy on the outside and soooo tender inside with a sweet, slightly spicy glaze of gochujang. There was also a healthy heaping of peanuts and fried shallots as well as a welcome side of pickled carrots and water spinach. The only turn off was that the rice was a little overcooked, but honestly, once it's all mixed together, the combination of textures and flavors works. Despite the fattiness of the meat, the ingredients are fresh so you don't feel weighed down.

One Chubby Pork Belly Bowl

Kris got the prime rib bowl. I only tried the beef which was good, but apparently horseradish cream was a bit much.

Tiny’s Prime Rib Rice Bowl

There's only one dessert on the menu and you have to try it. I'm not normally a fan of melting ice cream, but when it's homemade and filled with brownie bits and topped with smoky almonds, caramel, and a candied cherry, I apparently can't stop eating. No matter how full of pork belly I am. There was a little bit of marshmallow fluff on the side that I felt was unnecessary and I really didn't touch. It didn't taste bad, but it's appearance resembled marshmallow snot, but I ignored that side and I think I did a pretty good job of tearing through it.

Rock Yer Road

We got to Chego at just the right time...aka before the line formed and we managed to snag one of the only single tables so we weren't having dinner with a bunch of strangers, although that is not always a bad thing. The restaurant is tiny so if you come late, you may be forced to eat your dinner in the parking lot. The menu is short, but varied, service is quick, and everything is served in a compostable container. If you are looking for a great inexpensive dinner, you will certainly find one at this tiny gem.

3300 Overland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 287-0337

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Alison Kilpatrick said...

Wow, I wish I lived in LA to try this place out. I have to say I don't eat Korean that much due to my peanut allergy, but it sounds so very good. Thanks for sharing!

Erica said...

Seems like a very unique spot! The asparagus combo sounds totally interesting!

Jenn said...

Sweet!!! I heard about the new restaurant. I definitely need to stop by when I'm in the area. Every time the Kogi truck comes by the Glendale/Eagle Rock area I find out too late.

MaryMoh said...

All the food looks very delicious to me. I love all the Korean flavour.

Diana said...

You had me at "melty ice cream." Zooong! I think that might be reason alone to try this place!

P.S. I still haven't tried the Kogi truck eitiher! You aren't alone!!!

Rachel After Thanksgiving said...

My friend, Kat and I, need to try Chego. Kogi is regularly by Amoeba on Wednesdays from 6 pm to 9 pm. Emily came with us this week! Blackjack quesadilla is amazing and I love the Calamari tacos... mmmm.

Anonymous said...

This Kris friend of yours really knows LA restaurants!

vanillasugarblog said...

so jealous. so very jealous.

Anisha said...

If it is any consolation, I still haven't tried the Kogi truck... even my parents have waited and hour in line for it! Great post, will definitely check out Chego!

Memória said...

Woah. Everything looks amazing and full of flavor. Even though I'm learning Korean, I've yet to try a lot of Korean food. I need to change that.

Sippity Sup said...

The choices of food are outstanding. I do enjoy the truck (for the adventure) but it's good to know there is a place to go where you know you will find the food you crave. GREG

L. P. Skeen said...

It does look amazing, but why is a sit-down restaurant serving on paper?

L. P. Skeen said...

PS: I don't live in CA, so I have no idea - what is a Kogi truck? Love Korean food. We have a couple Thai places and a few Vietnamese (even one Vietnamese/French place), but only one Korean place, and it's across the county from me. :( O now I need to go make some bulgogi...

Esi said...

Diana and Anisha, glad I'm not the only one who hasn't had Kogi yet!!

Rachel, the truck is always in my neighborhood too, but never at the time I am there! One day I WILL catch them :)

LP, Kogi is a Korean bbq truck that does fusion food. Think tacos with bulgogi. It's supposed to be amazing.

Kathleen said...

The food looks fabulous. I wish we had some of these great trucks in OC!

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...

i've enjoyed the kogi truck many times, but need to check this spot out! looks good. you've been on a korean kick lately :)

From the Kitchen said...

This looks and sounds delicious! Kind of reminds me of the trucks that sell "plate lunches" in Hawaii.

When we lived in La Jolla, we had a favorite restaurant in LA and I've been driving myself crazy trying to remember the name of it to ask if it might still be there. It was a charming little French place. I'll keep thinking.