Named for the serving bowl used by Buddhist monks, Baroo is an unmarked Hollywood gem that can be found within the most random of strip-malls. Expect to be wowed by the food and experience at this inventive eatery.
Baroo, housed in a tiny space on Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood is white and minimal, with little on the walls except a chalkboard menu, a handwritten poem, and shelves of colorful fermenting pickles in glass jars. The concept here is a free-style experimental kitchen, straight from the creative genius owner / chef Kwang Uh. With a focus on local, sustainable, and organic ingredients, Kwang masterfully manipulates fermentation to create depth of flavor (umami-heaven) with mostly vegetables and grains. The majority of the menu is vegan and gluten-free, with options for sustainably sourced protein add-ons. Kwang, from Seoul, went to CIA culinary school in Hyde Park, cooked at Daniel and Nobu Bahamas, and staged at Noma before gracing Hollywood with his presence to open up his first ‘restaurant.’
Along with his friend Matthew Kim, Kwang runs Baroo as a two-man show, presenting intricate and highly inventive dishes that marry his authentic Korean heritage with local California ingredients (including greens from Kim's garden). At Baroo you’ll feel like you’re inside Kwang’s wildest culinary imagination. With roughly seven dishes to choose from on the chalkboard, each item is a must-try; prepare to be wowed by an amalgamation of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seaweeds, nuts and sauces.
Whatever you do, don’t skip the kimchi fried rice, which comes with pineapple-fermented kimchi, a 63-degree sous-vide egg, purple potato chips for crunch and smoky roasted seaweed. Kwang’s dishes are just as delicious as they are beautiful. Our only disclaimer is to take your patience pills before this one, as you’ll likely have to wait for your dishes which unorthodoxly come out at different times. But trust us, it’s so worth it and part of Baroo’s uniquely untraditional dining experience.
We just got word that Chef Kwang is taking the month of May off to travel, meditate, and recharge. Keep an eye out for when he re-opens the space!
|Baroo 5706 Santa Monica Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90038 (323) 819-4344 // baroola.strikingly.com|
Photography by: Emily Knecht