Chef Roy Choi is at it again doing what he does best. Commissary is his latest delicious offering, again in Koreatown at the Line Hotel, only this time… it’s a love letter to vegetable lovers everywhere.
Commissary is Choi’s “produce garden restaurant.” Diners get to eat in and around the 2nd floor rooftop garden – a greenhouse of sorts, over looking Wilshire Blvd at The Line Hotel. The restaurant has a vegetable focus, but it’s not strictly vegetarian. There’s a fun and certainly different approach to ordering too – inside of a stamped envelope, diners look at a menu of drawings of vegetables and meat, which are categorized by price and size.
After the initial head scratching, and a peak at the “menu cheat sheet” I got the hang of ordering, and found that it’s a really fun way to “look” at the food you are about to eat. (note: avg. 2-3 plates per person)
The menu is familiar; asparagus, corn on the cob, steak, a cheese plate, nothing too exotic. A real treat though for a boutique hotel which competes with the likes of The Ace Hotel. You can pay a visit to Choi’s Korean themed Pot downstairs if you’re in the mood for a more “ethnic” punch.
The menu here, as it states on their website, is an “homage to all the people and families here in So Cal that work on farms to bring food to our tables.” Everything from fresh figs, salads, deviled eggs and even schnitzel! can be found on the menu. There’s also a deliciously soft and juicy french dip sandwich that would make downtown’s, Philippe’s proud.
And the icing on the cake… if you saw Jon Favreau’s latest foodie-centric movie, “Chef” you’d be happy to know you can order a perfectly crisp and gooey grilled cheese, as designed from the movie’s culinary consultant himself – Choi of course.
Partnering again with the farmer’s market centric cocktail chef Matthew Biancaniello, he brings his masterfully fruity cocktails this time in a simple, deli tupperware cup. That’s the Choi touch — high quality ingredients with bit of lo-fi, you know, to keep it real.
I opted to try a lighter entree – the black bass with buttered peas and brown sauce. It was a lovely pairing of flavors – tender white fish with a crispy blackened skin. I couldn’t help but groan and moan and make those happy food noises that one makes when eating something really delicious at the table. And so, this was the summary of the rest of the dishes I tried as well. Salty-sweetness with hints of spice – a welcome theme all around. Special shout out to that amazingly addictive corn on the cob. Yep. The corn is indeed a winner.
My nighttime pictures don’t do the place justice. Come during the day when you can enjoy the pretty garden greenery. Dine at night and cozy up with a blanket outside near the pool deck. The decor and vibe reminds me vaguely of Choi’s Sunny Spot - there is a delicateness to it. And the food has subtle yet bold flavors that slap you around (in a nice way of course). The plates to me, are reminiscent of A-Frame.
Despite being in a beautiful location, Commissary is perhaps Choi’s most honest restaurant — it will likely get anyone — even meat-eating, die hard Kogi Truck lovers, to enjoy eating their vegetables.
I could not sum it up any better than Choi himself… Here’s a snippet taken from the chef’s Instagram feed:
“This is the final piece to a puzzle that started a few years ago and really the last stanza in a journey that began with Kogi for me. I spent the last six years putting and playing everything about my life out there through food to try and find some strength and solace but to also bring us together. From the streets to refrigerator rice bowls to a restaurant with the aloha spirit and a mean ass fried chicken to a dream interlude in Jamaica to my challenging my Korean identity as a young immigrant to bringing fruit and coffee to south central to now trying to make vegetable relevant to a new generation by just making them fun and challenging classicism in America by building a country club for the public. Welcome to Commissary. Who knows where I go from here as now I no longer need to explore my own psyche anymore and my next projects might be just psychedelic and weird. But for now I wanna thank all my families: Kogi, Chego, Alibi, A-Frame, Sunny Spot, 3 Worlds, POT, caFe, Commissary, and L.A. Son for helping me figure this shit and myself out. Welcome to Commissary.”
View more of Commissary in the slideshow: