Dinner: STATUS KUO
February 10, 2015
By Sydney Delaney
For dinner at Status Kuo, we found an innovative, deliciously chic approach to downright good finger-licking food that is well planned but not over done. Known for their specialty rotisserie meats and house made pastas, the depth of flavor and variety of ingredients in each mouthful pleased our table bite after bite.
Who: Two wonderfully talented and innovative chefs break with tradition in creating, preparing and serving each dish plated at Status Kuo. Watching Chef Luna Varone and Chef/Owner David Kuo like a dynamic duo in their element, it is easy to see the synergy of cooking effort behind the whole team in the Status Kuo kitchen.
What: A well-planned culinary intersection of some of LA’s favorite ethnic food traditions are found in every dish; Korean, Japanese, Italian, Mexican and a strong dose of good old Southern grits and gravy make a meal at Status Kuo an exceptional experience. It’s like eating at your best friend’s house from another culture (or two or three) and tasting their experience of a favorite home cooked dish. The meal opened with perfectly roasted shishito peppers opened the meal, swathed in unagi butter, with crushed cashews to enhance the buttery richness and dotted with gems of ruby grapefruit for a sweet tart contrast. This was followed by small but intensely flavored rainbow mushroom soup, a puree of mushrooms and vegetables that warms, nourishes and satisfies the palate. A tall, colorful and lively salad with arugula, crisp-tender spears of sweet asian pear, golden beets, pepitas, goji berries and champagne vinaigrette was a refreshing contrast to the richness of a unique spin on a philly cheese steak-style sandwich. It was filled with tender duck that had been marinated, smoked and roasted to produce an artisanal take on a great fatty poultry and classic hot sandwich. Balancing the rich duck meat and melted cheese were lime zest, cilantro and deep heat of sambal. To drink was their house-made hibiscus blood orange soda, a refreshing, a tart-sweet beverage that went well with everything. Meat is taken seriously at Status Kuo, as are fresh produce and comforting takes on salad, heirloom vegetables and lovely pastas. One of our favorites was a total surprise: Yuzu Garlic Bread, infused with the golden Japanese citrus and a thick, crusty savory bite. The two wonderful house-made pasta dishes, bucatini with Romancesco cauliflower, and the Donald Watson, bucatini served with a hearty mushroom sauce of porcini, shitake, chanterelle, sunchoke and black truffle, proved their ability to take both lighter and heavier approaches to pasta with balanced textures and a sense of fun around amazing comfort food. Our meal ended with a unique dessert inspired by the sweet savories of Hawaiian BBQ: Korean Pear tart flavored with cinnamon, coupled with a fantastic grilled pineapple gelato, caramelized guava sauce with a hint of sweet curry topped burnt citrus peel garnish to complete the aromatic smokiness. Again, flavor and complexity was balanced, rich yet not to sweet on the palate, a definite winner.
Where: Nestled on a small energetic street south of Venice Boulevard in the Mar Vista-to-Venice neighborhood, surrounded by a few shops and restaurants in a laid back residential area of West LA. They have created a space that is intentionally bright, with open prep space and cheerfully decorated in a simple way. Wall cameos of chickens and pigs create a spare yet whimsical feeling of the pure culinary purpose for which locals come to dine: an authentically passionate farm to
When: You can stop in and sit a smooth beautifully crafted wood table for brunch, lunch and dinner. Or if you’re feeling the LA-swanky vibe, call in for some masterful catering or take-out when its time for lunch & dinner.
Why it’s So Good: The delicious complexity of pulling various flavors, farmers market ingredients and sharp cooking techniques from different cultures is done with well-intentioned energy by David Kuo and Chef Luna Varone. The servers are fantastic, attentive and have a true sense of joy and commitment equal to the task of running this small work-horse of a restaurant that really produces great food. We applaud this sincere effort behind each dish that is served and will definitely be back for more!