Monday, September 9, 2019

Dandi Pop-Up Brings Modern Korean Dining to LA

Los Angeles may be home to a lot of great Korean food, but they're mostly "old school" restaurants and we don't have too much by way of modern Korean cuisine. That is changing with Dandi, a Korean-Southern Californian pop-up from Joshua Pressman and Jihee Kim, which is popping up for dinner at Hotel Normandie (and other future locations). The two chefs met while working at Rustic Canyon.

Dandi offers two tasting menus, an abbreviated and an extended one. I recently tried the extended tasting and started with this trio of appetizers:

Corn silken tofu, dungeness crab, brown butter.
Squash wafer, chicken liver mousse, apple cider jam
Jokbal (pig trotter) croquette, hot peanut sauce, perilla
The corn silken tofu with dungeness crab was our favorite, not just of the plate but of the entire meal! Needless to say, the meal started off strong. The silken tofu was a little sweet thanks to the corn but it worked wonderfully with the brown butter and the sweet crab meat.

Pressman pairs the tasting with mostly natural wines (as much as he can), like this Hasta la Vizsla, a pet nat (petillant naturel) wine from the Loire Valley.
There are also some beer and wine available a la carte if a pairing seems like too much for you.

Next course: Cold soup of peaches, pork belly, flowering coriander
Yes, there are pork belly bits under those peach slices!

Hamachi crudo, chile manzano-passionfruit aguachile, shiso
The chile and passionfruit aguachile gives it a nice combination of flavors. It is sweet, sour and spicy all at once. A slightly sweet flavor profile seems to be the theme for the first courses?

Mandu of shrimp mousseline, plum wine consomme, charcoal-chive oil
This was my second favorite course of the night. The mandu skin was delicate, and so was the plum wine consomme that they come in.

Barbeque: pork coppa, plums, pepper & jus
The sweetness from the plum is a good complement to the pork.

Tostada: beef tongue, jjim, chive kimchi, melty cheese
I couldn't take a pretty photo of this, but this tostada tasted better than my photo, I promise!

Korean fried quail, pickled turnip, yuzu kosho slaw
The KFQ was the main entree with a nice crispy batter. It was a little spicy, but not overwhelmingly so.

The first of two desserts: Chocolate cremeux, passionfruit, black sesame

Mascarpone mousse, poached rhubarb, yuzu consomme
This dessert looks so simple but tastes amazing. A perfectly smooth and creamy mascarpone with the light sweetness and tartness from the fruits.

Dandi certainly brings a new kind of Korean cuisine to LA, combining modern Korean food with Californian cuisine. It's something that many of us hope to see more of!

The extended menu at Dandi currently is 8 courses $100, while the abbreviated menu is 4 courses for $45. Check Dandi's website for upcoming dates and tickets! The next dinner is on September 20 at Hotel Normandie.


Mark Caston

I heard of this from a friend who hankers for korean food, will try to make a reservation for beef tounge galbi jimm tosada with wine. She'll love to hear about it.

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