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Chego: 99 Essential Restaurants 2011

Looking for a good time on the Westside? Stop by the back room at Chego sometime, where customers assemble their own takeout packages with the ease and grace of Keystone Kops. You really haven't lived until you've seen a young corporate attorney trying to fit his Ooey Gooey Fries into biodegradable organic packaging, unbleached napkins going where they've never gone before.

If Roy Choi's food didn't taste so good, it would be easy to consider him as much conceptual artist as chef, a provocateur whose concern is imposing food on his customers in a way that makes them uncomfortable yet happy. If your experience with rice bowls is limited to what you've had from the drive-thru at Yoshinara, you may be befuddled by Choi's weighty, baroque constructions that splice the flavors of L.A. into great splooshes of combinatorial DNA — rice with pickled watermelon radish, sautéed ong choy, peanuts, crumbled cotija cheese, a fried egg and a crisp, spurting slab of pork belly rubbed as lovingly with Korean chile paste as a '64 Impala show car has been with lacquer. The Korean/Thai/Chinese/Japanese/Indonesian Chego specialties are complex enough to make the loco moco seem as simple as a waltz, and if you order two desserts and look sad, Alice Shin, the language poet whose tweets are as essential to Kogi's success as Choi's cooking, may let you have a free love letter. Choi isn't elevating Los Angeles street cuisine to the level of fine dining; he's using the language of fine dining to exalt the food of the street. Pastry chef Beth Kellerhals is something of a marvel, but her sweets sell out fast, especially when her Sriracha candy bar is on the menu. Order dessert first. 3300 Overland Ave., W.L.A. (310) 287-0337, eatchego.com. Tues.-Sat., 6 p.m.-mid. No alcohol. Limited lot parking. MC, V. Modern Asian.

99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011:

Jonathan Gold's Introduction
Anne Fishbein's Photos
The Google Map

The List:

A-Frame
Akasha
Alcazar
Angeli Caffe
Angelini Osteria
Animal
Antojitos Carmen
Attari
Babita
Bludso's
Border Grill
Bottega Louie
Bulgarini Gelato
Cacao
Campanile
Casa Bianca
Chang's Garden
Chego
Chichén Itzá
Chung King
Church & State
Ciro's
Comme Ça
Cut
Dae Bok
Din Tai Fung
Drago Centro
El Huarache Azteca
El Parian
Elvirita's
Euro Pane Bakery
Eva
Fab Hot Dogs
Father's Office
Fig
Gjelina
Golden Deli
Golden State
Good Girl Dinette
The Gorbals
Guelaguetza
Guisados
Huckleberry
Hungry Cat
Ink.
Jar
Jitlada
Kiriko
Kobawoo
La Casita Mexicana
Langer's
Larkin's
Lazy Ox Canteen
Le Comptoir
Little Dom's
Lou
Lucques
LudoBites
Lukshon
Mantee
Marouch
Mayura
Meals by Genet
Mélisse
Mezze
Mo-Chica
Mother Dough
Mozza
Musso & Frank Grill
Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa
Newport Tan Cang Seafood Restaurant
The Nickel
Night + Market
Oinkster
101 Noodle Express
Palate Food + Wine
Park's Barbecue
Picca
Playa
Pollos a la Brasa
Providence
Ray's
Red Medicine
Rivera
Rustic Canyon
Salt's Cure
Sapp Coffee Shop
Sea Harbour
Son of a Gun
Sotto
Spago
Spice Table
Street
Tacos Baja Ensenada
Tasting Kitchen
Terroni
Tsujita L.A.
Vincenti
Waterloo & City

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Chego - Closed

3300 Overland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

310-287-0337

www.eatchego.com


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