Baroo

5706 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, California 90038
323-819-4344
Baroo +

Anne Fishbein Bibim salad

Details

  • Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. & 5-9 p.m.; Sun., 5-9 p.m.
Baroo is that most wonderful of restaurants, a place that is almost impossible to describe in part because no one would believe it to be true — a modernist, health-focused Korean fantasy inside a sparse room located on a decidedly unglamorous stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard just east of Hollywood Forever Cemetery. There’s no sign, and the room is tiny and simple: white walls, a communal table, a counter from which you order, a few stools along another counter against the wall, a blackboard menu and some shelving in back holding jars of things in various stages of fermentation. Owner Kwang Uh, a South Korean native, has had a fascinating career trajectory, filled with stints at impressive restaurants such as Daniel and Nobu. More recently, he’s staged at Noma and other world-famous restaurants in Europe, and you can see the extreme fine-dining training and deep philosophy in his cooking. Handmade pasta ribbons support a kaleidoscope of celery and celeriac: thinly pureed celeriac, pickled julienned celery, crispy chips made from celeriac and a dusky powder Kwang calls “celery ash.” The dish takes one flavor profile and layers it over itself with multiple variations in texture and technique. The result is lightly fruity and creamy and utterly beguiling. There are a lot of grains being put to use, including a few dishes with Job’s tears, which you may have seen sold as Chinese pearl barley. They’re best here in the dish called noorook, which also contains farro and kamut, and is mixed with roasted koji beet cream, concentrated kombu dashi, seeds, nuts, finger lime and rose onion pickle. Baroo is a weird, exceptionally personal, only-in-L.A. kind of treat. Is there any better kind? —Besha Rodell
Read our full review.

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