Friday, June 18, 2010

Sneak Peek of Debbie Lee's Ahn-Joo Truck: Korean Pub Grub, Minus the Pub.

Seeing Chef Debbie Lee's Korean-Soul food on America's Next Food Network Star was intriguing. So far I haven't gotten the chance to try it, but now Chef Debbie Lee just launched a food truck touting "Korean Pub Grub" and a soon-to-open restaurant.

Starting tonight, the Ahn Joo truck will be at the LA Film Fest serving filmgoers who don't feel like patronizing the LA Live establishments.

Two days ago Chef Lee held a sneak peek for their truck, Ahn-Joo, for some bloggers (and random passersby) near their office in Hollywood.

She was on hand taking care of customers, and at least in the early days you can probably count on finding her inside the truck.

Ahn-Joo will also be selling some Korean sodas, like the grape coco palm and aloe vera.

All the robata skewers are $3 for an order of 2-pieces. Here's the Salmon, Scallion, Korean miso honey.
I also tried the chicken skewers and both were good with moist and tender pieces of chicken/fish and good flavors. They're also easy to eat on your feet.

Korean Fried Chicken (garlic glaze): $7 for 3 LEGS! By the time I got there, there was one piece left from a previous order, so I just grabbed that one.
Yes, I love that she gives all legs. Dark meat FTW. Moist, tender, and flavorful with crisped skin glazed with a sweet sauce (although I could use more garlic flavor personally), like a proper korean fried chicken should be. Minus the heat of a spicy sauce. And the beer.

The most notably different dish was the Korean Nachos ($7). These are fried rice cakes with smoky chile queso, soy braised pork, and kimchee salsa.
Sorry that it got mutilated before I took a picture of it.
A fun use of the chewy ddukbokki here as "nachos". A lot of bold and heavy flavors going on, making it a tasty bite and both a good drunken/hungover food.

Mama Lee's Meatloaf ($7) is made with ground rib-eye, soy onion demi, and topped with crispy shiitake.
The meatloaf was very moist, and her use of rib-eye meat gave it quite a nice flavor.
I would've liked something to go with it though, or perhaps less sauce as it was a little salty for me. I liked the crispy shiitake because it provided a much needed textural contrast to the tender and moist meatloaf - while I liked the meatloaf itself quite a bit, I needed to balance the texture if I were to eat 2 pieces of it. Personally I'd like to see more of the crispy shiitake here, or some carrots perhaps?

There are only two desserts on the menu right now: Grilled Nutella Bhang which looked like nutella toast (didn't try it) and Fuji Apple Eggroll with ginger mascarpone. Both are $5 per order.
Still warm and crispy, I enjoyed this dessert although it was a little hard dipping it into the ginger mascarpone - since we were sharing and I didn't want to double dip. Also, I could barely taste the ginger in that mascarpone. Being a ginger lover: more ginger, please.

I also got to take home the Spicy chilled buckwheat noodles with fuji apples and korean veggies ($5). This was a nicely portioned buckwheat noodles with spicy gochujang sauce and sliced hardboiled eggs, fuji apples, carrots, pickled onions, and cucumbers. Perfect for the summer, really.

I felt that I got a glimpse of Chef Debbie's Korean soul fusion, though I'm still waiting for my chance to try that galbi pot pie. Of course, the truck was meant to be "Korean Pub Grub" so I shouldn't be complaining that most of the dishes I tried leaned strongly Korean instead of the fusion that I was curious about. Some of the items are fairly priced but a couple I felt were a bit more than I would expect from, well, a truck. The food we tried was quite good, but since I did feel a glass of cold beer would go well with some of them, I'll be looking forward to the restaurant.

Ahn Joo in Los Angeles on Fooddigger



MUST CATCH THIS TRUCK. Even though the Korean nachos were mutilated, they still sounded damn good!


I'm so sad to have missed this. :(

Thanks for the report!

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