Famed Los Angeles food critic Jonathan Gold reviewed downtown Culver City's new Korean restaurant, Moko, last week. Read the whole review in the LA Weekly here.


Gold gives this brief summary of what makes Moko's chef, Gary Robins, so worthy of attention:

Robins had probably been the first important Asian-fusion chef in Manhattan, at restaurants like Aja and Match Uptown, where his mango sundaes and grilled mackerel with edamame had been a favorite of Ruth Reichl when she was the critic at The New York Times, and he was solid as the chef at the Biltmore Room and even the Russian Tea Room, where he served a short term...Robins was famous for his mastery of the pan-Asian palate, teasing umami and spiciness into places where they'd never been before, deft with seafood, and polished enough to command the intricacies of a three-star New York kitchen, which put him near the top of the profession.

Gold finds the food good — if lacking some of the intensity that a truly authentic Korean restaurant can have. He especially recommends the dumplings as well as the kimchee jeon pancake.

 

The sauteed mandu — dumplings — filled with pan-fried duck and slabs of foie gras can be kind of great, oozy and rich in all the right ways, and you'll probably want an order of the supple kimchee mandu for the table. Nobody in Los Angeles quite has the proper take on David Chang's famous buns from Momofuku in New York (Flying Pig tries hard), but Robins' are really good: pale, slippery saucers of fluffy steamed dough folded over chile-tinged sausage patties with pineapple and a sweetish sauce, or braised pork with watercress and Korean pear. ... And who wouldn't want their kimchee jeon pancake, inflected with pork belly and smoky bacon, plum sauce and chile? It's the kind of excess we believe in.

 

 


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