Question: The last time I was in New York, friends were telling me about
a place out in Queens that served kimchi pizza. Kimchi pizza! If kimchi pizza
can exist in Queens, I assume there has to be something like it here, but I
have never heard of such a thing. Have you?
—Addie, Los Angeles
Answer: When Geraldine Baum wrote about that New York kimchi pizza last
year in the Los Angeles Times, I was a little taken aback. Surely there
had to be a local example of the phenomenon — Los Angeles does have the biggest
Korean community in the United States, and it seemed a little strange to be
writing about culinary cross-pollination in Queens when Koreatown was in our
backyard. But when I thought about it for a while, and checked my stash of Korean
menus, the closest I could come was the kimchi pancake with cheese at the Korean
nightclub Zip in the Mid-Wilshire district. The pancake was surprisingly good,
and had most of the sensations of pizza, but still — it was a different thing.
Just last week, though, I wandered into the newly remodeled Greco’s, a fairly
mainstream restaurant in Old Town Pasadena: antipasto plates, cheap red wine
in carafes, a rudimentary menu of veal and seafood and such, but basically an
old-line pizzeria. And although this was probably the last place I expected
to find something exotic done well, the kimchi pizza with Italian sausage was
excellent — brawny-crusted and muscular, healthily sluiced with cheese, with
a sweet-sour spiciness that came across more as a rustic vegetable thing than
as anything Korean (you probably couldn’t identify it unless somebody tipped
you off in advance). The pie tasted resolutely Italian, as if it originated
in a southern region you couldn’t quite locate on a map. Kimchi pizza! Go figure.
43 E. Union St., Pasadena; (626) 795-9615.
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