I was going to start this off the way I started Part One of my series with The Line Hotel - by saying that one of my favorite areas in Los Angeles is now home to one of my favorite restaurants. But that’s not true. Because a lot of my favorite places to eat are in Koreatown, and I’ve just added another one: POT.
It was an easy add. It’s part of Roy Choi’s very un-disappointing roster, located in the super cool Line Hotel with a playlist that pretty much makes you want to stop eating and go into a full on body roll (think Keith Sweat, Jodeci, and Aaliyah). Real talk. It’s full of detailed quirks like waiters in gaudy gold necklaces and floral patterns, pot plant wallpaper, and collectible character trading cards handed out with every bill. It’s a bustling ambiance somewhere in between hip and casual.
POT is one of Choi’s many contributions to The Line. He also has the POT lobby bar that serves anything from Long Islands to cocktails made of mushroom soju and durian bitters. Then he has the Café which is a mixture of Taiwanese bakeries, Seoul food markets, and Salvadorian panaderias. Currently rolling out is Choi’s Delivery – a new way to do room service. Food is served delivery style on different fabrics. You won’t find cheese plates on white tablecloth covered by a silver lid here. Lastly, there’s Commissary, still under construction. Choi says we can expect, “fruits, vegetables, flavor, sex, and some R. Kelly”. The partnership with the Sydell Group was a full circle move for Choi. He had seen what they did with the Ace and NoMad hotels in New York, and when he walked into the Line, he felt at home.
Now let’s get to the food. It’s not what you’re used to from Choi, i.e. the Korean-Mexican fusion, i.e. Kogi and Chego. This is straight up Korean fare. I had the opportunity to link with Jessica – POT’s Public Relations and Marketing Director – who sat us right by the kitchen. When I asked her what she recommended, she damn near recited the whole menu. I can honestly see why.
We started with the traditional banchan and a potato pancake.
Then on to the best steamed egg and uni fried rice I’ve ever had. So good we ordered seconds (ok, thirds).
Finally, the climax. The hot pots. We tried three different kinds. One with ramen noodles and sausage and spam, the other with seafood, and the last with glass noodles and prime rib bulgogi. Ugh.
By the end of it, I was already planning my next visit. As I was thinking about what I’d order, I ran into Roy Choi.
I remember reading an interview he did with LA Weekly’s Jonathan Gold. In that, Choi said that through POT, he is “paying out [his] whole life to you.” I asked him what that meant. He replied, “I mean that I got a lot of tangled shit that I built up in my life through broken relationships, identity struggles, anger issues, failed careers, addiction, on and on. But that’s all flavor. And I’m letting all that breathe here at POT to connect with y’all. It’s my soul food.”
Many thanks to Jessica and Roy for the experience, and everyone at The Line that made this feature possible. See y’all again soon!