The return of weekly restaurant reviews

If I built my perfect meal out of Shiku, the Grand Central Market stall run by Kwang Uh and Mina Park serving Korean comfort food, I would start with Andong-jjimdak – Andong-style soy braised chicken.

the the dish is a special and not always available. Its braising sauce has a garlic and ginger sweetness that permeates chicken on a cellular level and highlights the varying degrees of earthiness in cabbage, mushrooms and potatoes. The glass noodles wiggle in the mixture for a little nod. The whole thing comes on rice, and there’s an option for a fried egg on top. It goes well with the other ingredients.

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At the same time, I ordered at least three banchan: “kimchi corn,” a condiment full of smoky heat that used to be part of the bowl of fried chicken (called Karma Circulation) at Uh’s trainer restaurant, Baroo; white, nutty and silky kimchi; and jinmichae bokkeum, sautéed dried squid spiced with roasted peanuts. Really, though, it’s hard to go wrong with one of Shiku’s ever-evolving banchan lines, several of which with rice make a harmonious meal.

Shiku marks my return to weekly restaurant reviews. It seemed like the right topic for back to school, given that it focuses on take-out (although easily appreciated immediately as soon as you find a table in the crowded market) and, more significantly, represents a milestone. transition in the trajectory of Uh and Park as chefs and restaurateurs. Baroo – especially its first incarnation, the 16-seat Uh restaurant that opened in an unglamorous Hollywood mall with childhood friend Matthew Kim in 2015 – was one of the craziest and most open restaurants Los Angeles had never seen them. I wrote one of my favorite parts about this during my years at Eater.

A shiku banchan spread.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Maybe like you, I consider a lot of things in the world right now one day at a time, and the restaurant review framework is one of them. Once strictly service journalism (is this place worth spending your money, and what are the best things to eat there?), Reviews have long blurred in a form that confuses the context of functionality, provocation and analysis at the root of the culture. criticism and the beauty of literature. The approach varies enormously from review to review. It’s also a declining profession, in part because the media keep disappearing, and also because it’s costly for companies to pay for critics’ meals.

And the past year, amid all the losses and turmoil, has given those of us who still have the privilege of being restaurant critics a lot to think about.

All of that to say: after nearly 20 years in this position, I still love reviews more than any other type of writing. Hope you will continue reading as I (and the form) continue to evolve. If you have any ideas on what you would like to see in the reviews, send them to [email protected]

Last Sunday Los Angeles lost Mark Peel, one of the chefs who shaped the modern ethic of “California cuisine”. He worked with Wolfgang Puck at Spago before opening Campanile with his then-wife Nancy Silverton in 1989. Laurie Ochoa wrote a nice review, noting that her husband, Jonathan Gold, had called Peel “the LeBron James of the grill “. I had my first restaurant meal in LA at the Campanile; I also wrote some thoughts.

Adam roberts brings us a tribute to rainbow cookies, recipe included. “Rainbow cookies are the perfect metaphor, not only for pride, but also for anyone celebrating their own identity,” he says.

Lucas Kwan Peterson has a beginner’s guide to Mexican candy.

Gustavo Arellano wrote a column thinking about the tortilla-throwing incident between two rival high school basketball teams in the San Diego CIF Section Finals.

Julie giuffrida has a roundup of plant-based recipes for the summer, including some of the vegan stars (a meatless version of Tommy’s chili burger; spinach-artichoke dip; and strawberry muffins) developed by the former kitchen editor Genevieve Ko. Don’t miss either Ben Mims’ vegan carrot-banana cake.

To finish, Jean Trinh reports on El Ruso’s first brick and mortar location in Silver Lake and other current events.

Bonus: This week Eater LA released that of Bill Esparza tirelessly researched and beautifully written opus on California barbacoa trails.

Rainbow cookies made for Pride Month by Adam Roberts.

Rainbow cookies made for Pride Month by Adam Roberts.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)