First Bite: Take the A-Frame, or Roy Choi Turns Toward Hawaii
Where Roy Choi goes, people will follow -- this has been well-established. Because if the legions of the hungry are willing to follow his Kogi trucks when they alight in deserted motel parking lots or alongside Orange County topless clubs, it stands to reason that they will go where they might not have to stand in line for 45 minutes, figure out whether the Bonecrusher is the special this week or next, or chug Korean grape soda out of cans.
So it is with great expectation that the faithful have been tracking the progress of A-Frame, Choi's first venture with waiter service, cocktails, and food not necessarily folded into a tortilla.
As you might have expected, A-Frame, in what looks like an old IHOP tricked out with enough pine and track lighting to make it resemble a ski chalet, is pretty different from the legion of gastropubs. You will find a respectable selection of mini-microbrews, mostly hoppy beasts, on tap, but also what may be just the second appearance of Hite beer outside Koreatown; and a legion of small plates, but one that owes more to locals-only Hawaiian bars than it does to what most of the other guys are doing -- buttered kettle corn dusted with furikake; peel-and-eat shrimp sprinkled with punishingly spicy dried-shrimp salt; and a dryish version of beer-can chicken, the perennial surf-house fave.
In one sense, there are fewer Korean-influenced preparations at A-Frame than there tend to be at Chego and Kogi, but the crab cakes, scented with lemongrass, are served with a stack of gaenip leaves to wrap them in, and the grilled lamb chops, although they come in a green sauce not far from a Border Grill salsa, are undoubtedly rubbed with Korean chile paste.
For dessert? Sticks of deep-fried pound cake rolled in cinnamon -- instant churros! -- served with a glass of cool chocolate milk.
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