Homey goodness can go a long way, and Status Kuo is hoping to serve that up in spades. Opened on Dec. 5 on Grand View, where it meets an increasingly trendy strip of Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista (down the street from the Curious Palate, up the street from Mitsuwa), Status Kuo calls itself a “rotisserie-focused eatery,” yet its early offerings indicate more.
"You can tell there is something happening in Mar Vista," says executive chef and owner David Kuo. "Over the past few years, there have been a rash of businesses coming into the neighborhood, all aiming to provide something for the local residents."
With an emphasis on hearty food that can be enjoyed inside the small, 20-seat space or taken out and devoured at home by busy families, Status Kuo offers chicken, lamb, suckling pig and prime rib as well as house-made pasta and dishes inspired by Kuo's Taiwanese heritage. There are also delicious and fresh sides that hark to the weekly Mar Vista Farmer’s Market, which takes place on the street directly outside the bistro.
The side green salad is simple, with small additions, such as persimmon, pomegranate and pepitas, making it special; the sherry vinaigrette could easily be bottled and sold on its own. The seasonal emphasis on ingredients should keep things interesting. At the moment, Status Kuo is serving a root vegetable side dish for $5.
In fact, all of Status Kuo's prices are in a reasonable range, as the restaurant is attempting to be a spot for locals (though probably not many will be getting the $28 whole branzino to go for the kiddos). Half a rotisserie chicken with salad goes for $14 and can feed two, especially with the addition of another side, such as yuzu garlic bread or macaroni and cheese, both $5.
There are a few sandwiches to choose between, from basics with a twist — such as the chicken salad, amped up with Aji amarillo and chipotle adobo, or the lamb tri-tip, gussied up with the addition of caramelized onion and horseradish.
Kuo, along with his wife, Maki, and chef de cuisine, Keith Silverton (Nonna of Italy, MessHall), keeps the menu small and tight with enough interesting additions to keep it, well, interesting. Quirky touches, such as fried apple hand-pies and hibiscus-pomegranate–blood orange soda, garnished with mint, make Status Kuo worth a try.
The bistro also will reflect Kuo’s Taiwanese heritage with a few Asian-influenced items. The whole branzino is dotted with gochujang, a spicy, fermented Korean condiment with just the right amount of heat. Other ingredients, such as pickled mustard greens and Peking duck, stray from the more classic American food reflected in the menu.
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Status Kuo’s design reflects an almost Scandinavian aesthetic of clean lines, industrial materials and a hint of whimsy, with hand-drawn farm animals decorating the back wall. Design Bitches (Superba Food + Bread, the Springs) worked with Kuo on the look. The camp-style white enamel cups and mugs, rimmed with navy, are an especially charming touch.
Status Kuo is open daily, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., 3809 Grand View Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 574-7610.