Star chef and Top Chef Masters alum Sang Yoon is a man who refuses to be categorized. He grew up in Brentwood, L.A., by way of South Korea, Iran and France, fine-tuned his entrepreneurial ambitions selling snowboards in college and then went on to train at several prestigious Michelin-starred restaurants between here and Paris. Just another typical career path until...
He returned home to make culinary waves in 2000 by transforming a local dive bar, Father’s Office, into a craft beer and burger joint that refuses substitutions and ketchup anywhere near his burgers or fries. Say what? No ketchup is downright heresy, you might say. Who does this dude think he is?
A flavor artist, that’s who. Apparently, his ketchup kibosh, among other ingredient choices, was a stroke of genius: Esquire named his rebel-rousing Office Burger as one of the world’s best. Eventually, he bestowed L.A. with a second Father's Office in Culver City’s Helms Bakery.
In 2011, he opened Lukshon as an upscale take on Southeast Asian flavors melded with the region’s European colonial cuisine, such as that of the Dutch, French and Portuguese. “The lobster roll banh mi is one of my favorites: It's so flavorful and also a combination of two of my favorite sandwiches in one," Sang says of one of his Lukshon must-eats (pictured below, upper left). Now he's expanding his epicurian empire north, partnering with chef (and Top Chef Masters winner) Douglas Keane. Their California-inspired yakitori restaurant, Two Birds/One Stone, recently opened in Napa Valley.
Despite his background, Sang rarely cooks Korean food at home. So where does he go when he wants a good taste of home? Here are some of his favorite spots for Korean food in Los Angeles:
Photo courtesy of @enoch_ho.
Sang Yoon: My favorite Korean BBQ in LA. They serve really top quality meat including some luxury Wagyu beef offerings. The short-rib soup's the super sleeper on the menu.
Photo courtesy of @grilledcheesesocial.
SY: This place has fist-sized dumplings [above]. My favorite is the #2, which translates to king steam dumpling. They are soft, pillowy, and steamy perfection.
Photo courtesy of @gofindalice.
SY: My favorite Korean spot outside of Koreatown. It's a fish out of water, being a really great Korean restaurant in the middle of a Japanese neighborhood on the westside. The spicy tofu casserole [pictured above] is their signature item and what I always go for, as well as the great broth.
To discover more of Sang Yoon's favorite food destinations around L.A., continue reading this article on Citizine.TV.
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