A-Frame – Roy Choi’s Food Almost All Grown Up

7 Dec

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Another long overdue review. A-Frame is Roy Choi’s first (somewhat) serious table service restaurant after hitting it big with the Kogi trucks. Housed in a former IHOP, the space is an incredible reworking of an old tired building.

But the real story is the food. Choi’s food is always reworking classics with Korean and other influences.

A-Frame is also Choi’s first place to feature a full bar. In addition to a typical craft brew lineup (plus Hite, a Korean Budweiser) and a modest wine list, there is a handful of cocktails with fun names like Waikiki Ho! and Venice Walk of Shame.
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Here’s where apologies are in order. The photos that follow are terrible. A-Frame is exceedingly dim for dinner and so the pictures I took of the food are just terrible. Sorry.

I suggest you consider the following pictures an impressionistic/expressionistic heap of images that suggest food.

Yeah. Well.

In any case, I’ll just say that the food is really great. Start with the Furikake kettle corn, a clever take on a simple food. The sweet and buttery goodness of kettle corn mixed with Japan’s ridiculously awesome condiment, furikake (a mix of bonito flakes and seaweed and sesame seeds). Also, get the kitchen fries — thick wedge-cut taro and sweet potato fries served with a kimchi sour cream. Just great.

The signature dish is the beer can chicken, a straight-forward take on backyard BBQ chicken. It’s actually a rotisserie chicken, but the glaze on the chicken and the moistness of the chicken is amazing. It’s served with two salsas, which provide some interest.

The double cheeseburger is really great. The meat is done in a smashburger style, so it’s thin but still juicy. It’s meant to be an homage to burgers in joints all across South LA, with a fairly straight-forward lettuce, onion, special sauce, cheese, on a bun. But Choi snazzes it up with a tomato confit and pickled red onions. Also a sesame mayo and on brioche. It is a great high brow/low brow burger like Bryant Ng’s homage to In ‘n’ Out at the Spice Table. Much better than the douchebag burgers that dot every place in LA these days.

I’ve said before that one of the unsung glories of Choi’s cooking is the dessert menu. A-Frame has a couple great examples of this. The Chu-Don’t-Know-Mang is a simple take on pound cake done as churros. And the ice cream sandwich features really clever flavors, like peppercorn ice cream and chocolate cookies.

All this great food is served “modern picnic” style, in dishes meant to be shared and eaten with your hands. They were one of the first places in the area to use enameled camp plates. It’s gimmicky and you’ll quickly revert to using silverware. But the place is meant to be a fun place for friends to gather. Unfortunately like a lot of places, it can get so loud that it is hard to hear each other. But A-Frame is still one of my favorite places to go for a fun meal.

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A-Frame
12565 Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
310-398-7700

My prior take on Kogi

And one of many prior takes on Chego

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