Bowled Over At Baroo…

Celeriac
Celeriac

Dinner at 5pm on a Saturday night?

No, I haven’t succumbed to the Early Bird Special…just trying to beat the crowds at the hot new restaurant, Baroo.

Baroo is named for the bowl that Buddhist monks are allowed to possess and use for their meals until their last breath.

Baroo is founded on the concept of a free-style, experimental kitchen by owner/chef Kwang Uh, serving food “with respect and love to nature and people.”

Baroo's Matthew Kim & Kwang Uh
Baroo’s Matthew Kim & Kwang Uh photo:latimes.com

Uh owns Baroo with Matthew Kim, his friend from school and a native of South Korea. Kim also helps run the restaurant, including serving the food.

Baroo is located in a nondescript, unassuming strip mall on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood.

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There is no sign. Look for the number, 5706.

It was a hike from home and Waze took us on a winding race through the back streets of Hollywood.

Baroo
Baroo

We grabbed the only parking spot left in the dilapidated lot and waited in from of the metal gates of the tiny storefront until the 5:00 opening. Two others were lined up.

Baroo
Baroo

The restaurant is minimal and unassuming, offering Korean-American fare using seasonal, local products and fermentation techniques.

These are intricate and inventive dishes.

Chef Kwang Uh’s background is impressive He studied at the Culinary Institute of America and worked for noteworthy restaurants Daniel and Picholine in NYC. Chef Kwang Uh was also an executive chef at Nobu Bahama.

Baroo Communal Table
Baroo Communal Table

There is one communal table and a counter with stools for a grand total of 19 seats.

The menu changes frequently and is written on chalkboards hanging on the wall.

You read through the multitude of unusual ingredients without much assistance. We plunged ahead and took our chances.

After the decision process is completed, you head to the counter, pay and lie in wait as each dish is lovingly prepared to order.

Fermentation
Fermentation

No alcohol is served instead it’s all about Kombucha.

Drinks
Drinks

Uh makes it all in-house including rose kombucha, lemon verbena kombucha, elderflower kombucha. They are very interesting…a bit acidic and not sweet.

Celeriac Handmade Pasta
Celeriac Handmade Pasta

Our first dish was amazing flavorful with a rich taste. It was the celeriac handmade pasta with celery roots, celery crudite with pickled mustard seeds, celery ash, crispy Jerusalem artichoke and edible flowers ($12). The noodles were divine.

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Asian Fever

This was followed by a wonderful Asian Fever with Amira basmati rice, southeast Asian inspired housemade mix, lemongrass and coconut foam with sake lees, crispy shrimp chip, heirloom cherry tomatoes and lime supreme ($9).

This is a gluten free offering and you can add a 63 degree Sous Vide egg for an extra $1.

Norook
Norook

We then shared  the delicious Noorook, another vegan dish with mixed grains with Jobs tears, Kamut, & farro grains, roasted koji beet cream, concentrated kombu dashi, toasted seeds (sunflower & pumpkin), macadamia nuts, fingerlime and rose onion pickle ($12).

Oxtail Ragu
Oxtail Ragu

Still curious, I ordered Baroo’s Ragu Style handmade pasta, spicy faux oxtail ragu, tendon puff, gremolata with heirloom cherry tomatoes, krout powder and three years aged parmagiano reggiano ($15).

It was too much to eat on my own. It was very good, but my least favorite dish.

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Also offered are a Pickle sampler consisting of Shiso beet, Napa cabbage kimchi with pineapple jus, red onion with rose, onion and lime and jalapeño, watermelon rind, brussels sprouts with wild berry and passionfruit krout (each item $2).

Bibim salad was also on the menu with assorted grains with oat, quinoa, bulgur, vegetable crudite with fennel, celery, asparagus, baby radish, heirloom carrot, toasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, gochujang San Marzano tomato dressing, herbs coulis, passion fruit powder, baby kale and Asian pear ($9).

Kimchi Fried Rice
Kimchi Fried Rice

A fan favorite is the Kimchi Fried Rice with pineapple fermented kimchi, Amira basmati rice, 63 degree C sous vide egg, gremolata, pineapple jalapeno salsa, surple potato chip, roasted seaweed, toasted buckwheat, quinoa, and micro greens ($9).

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Desserts are also available. David ate dessert too quickly so I am lacking a photo, but trust me, the classic shortbread was delicious.

We had a great foodie conversation with our table mates. By 6:30 the line was long to get in so we finished up and headed out.

Baroo is a unique, casual dining experience. It is definitely worth a visit.

Try for off hours to avoid a wait. There is literally nowhere interesting to get a drink or amuse oneself  in this Hollywood ‘hood.

Baroo 5706 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, California. Open Tuesday-Saturday 12-3pm and 5-9pm. Sunday 5-9pm. Closed Monday. Street parking. Credit cards accepted.

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