Here's Looking At You Brings New American Food, Wine & Cocktails To Koreatown
Here's Looking At You opens in Koreatown tonight, offering modern California cuisine, unique wines and craft cocktails.
Here's Looking At You takes over the space formerly occupied by cheesesteak shop Whiz, a beauty salon, and a psychic reader to make a 50-seat restaurant. It's helmed by Lien Ta and chef Jonathan Whitener, who met while working at Animal where Ta was a culinary liaison and Whitener was a chef. Whitener was classically trained in French cooking at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and also spent time at Craft and Mezze.
"New American is the easiest way to describe [our menu]," Ta tells LAist. "But Jonathan's cooking is very much inspired by the cultures that exist in Southern California."
The menu is split up into five sections: vegetables, seafood, poultry, meat, and dessert. Each has a fair amount of options, but of course, we asked Ta and Whitener if they had any particular favorites. Whitener considers the beef tartare and the aged rice porridge with grilled sturgeon to be signature items. The latter, he says, is "kind of a play on dirty Southern cream and rice soup," but with a Chinese twist.
Ta mentions they have a few raw items she thinks are interesting, "as opposed to just crudo on a plate." For instance, they have a kingfish dish, which she says rarely sees on menus.
"The plating is very unusual and beautiful. It's held up by picked daikon, with an onion soubise sauce which I think calls to Jonathan's classical French training. It's got a serrano chili emulsion on the side which gives is great heat, and charred onion powder…dusted on the plate."
They also serve a grilled quail served with pickled beets and a beet barbecue sauce, and, depending on availability, either a sirloin or rib-eye of a Colorado Holstein dairy cow, aged 30 days, with fermented radish butter.
Their desserts are not particularly sugary or sweet, though they do offer a bubble gum ice cream and a yuzu tart. The Yellow Peach dessert, made with goat milk, cornbread, lemon, verbena and popcorn, has a more savory taste.
Behind the bar, they have a modest selection of canned and bottled beers, including four Japanese imports, and a large selection of wine curated by sommelier Danielle Fournier.
"What I love about her wine list is, generally speaking, I'm not sure that it's ever known to me as a guest if a wine list has a perspective, but with hers, it is defined," Ta says. "She took Jonathan's cooking, which is bringing a classically rooted cooking technique into sort of...the future of what american cooking might be, and does a wine list where it celebrates the old world and the new world. So we may have an old-school dry Riesling from Germany, but we may have something nice from California. Maybe you won't find that vanilla, buttery chardonnay, but we'd love to introduce you something from Spain or a white pinot noir by the glass that might not be as normal, but pairs really beautifully with this food."
Giving the Normandie Club a run for its money, they've got 13 craft cocktails for summer at $14-15, developed by Allan Katz and Danielle Crouch, who Ta says she fell in love with when they opened up, in her opinion, L.A.'s best bar at the time: Caña Rum Bar in downtown Los Angeles. There's the Crimson Ghost, made with beet-infused vodka, lime, hibiscus-plum wine, syrup and perilla. Or the Sunset Vampire, made with bourbon and tobacco-smoked Mexican Coke syrup. Ta also mentions that you could ask for the Timecard Special at the bar, which is a high-proof bourbon pickleback sorbet served with a tiny bottle of Miller High Life.
Here's Looking At You opens tonight at 6 p.m. Operating hours will be Sun., Mon., Weds., and Thurs. from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Fri. & Sat., 6 p.m. to midnight. Closed Tuesdays.
Here's Looking At You is located at 3901 W 6th St in Koreatown, 213-568-3573. Reservations can be made via Open Table here.