David Chang’s LA incarnation of MajorDōmo has got to be one of the best restaurants that I have visited lately. It’s been difficult to get a reservation here, but I persevered and was not disappointed. The food at Majordōmo was on point and delicious. I was unexpectedly surprised, given my previous experiences with the Momofuku chain. Frankly, I can’t wait to go back.
The first word of advice, the restaurant is in a part of LA that is a bit sketchy at night. It’s an industrial part of town where parking and street lighting isn’t great. My word of advice, pay the $8 to valet park if you are driving there alone.
Now, back to the experience!
Like many of today’s restaurants, Majordōmo features an open kitchen where sight and smells add a warm and inviting ambiance. The outdoor patio, when open, is a refreshing space, especially in California. As usual, my friends and I got a little too ambitious, and we ordered a good portion of the menu. More likely than not, if we had a few more in our group, we probably would have ordered one of everything. It is that good.
BING - What comes to mind when you think of bing? Having lived in Shanghai for many years, bing to me is the thin crispy wheat flour pancake rolled up with some you tiao (a type of Chinese donut), egg, chives, cilantro, soybean paste, and chili pepper. Our server forewarned us that Majordōmo’s bing was unique. It is more “bready,” i.e. akin to naan, but the bite was chewy like a hotteok (a Korean sweet pancake filled with cinnamon sugar). We ordered 4 of the 8 bing options and all were equally delicious.
CULTURED BUTTER & HONEY - Our server asked us whether we wanted cultured butter and honey to go with our bing. Need you ask? Yes, please! Once the butter and honey touched the hot bing, it became one, and all the flavors came together. Simply delicious!
EGGS & SMOKED ROE - I love eggs anyway I can get it. I can eat eggs all day long. I mean every day for the rest of my life and not get sick of them. The smoked roe, which by itself was delicious and so crispy, it tasted like bacon. Placed alongside the smoked roe were 2 perfectly sous vide eggs that were then topped with ikura, cured salmon roe.
Just to be clear, I did not want to share this dish with anyone. Next time, I am ordering one just for myself!
MUSSELS & JALAPEÑO DASHI - This was my second favorite dish of the night. The jalapeño dashi is like crack. It has just the right amount of heat and umami. We used our bing to soak up every last drop of that dashi. The mussels were fresh and cooked well. At least for me, this dish is all about the broth. It is really flavorful and delicious.
Foie Gras, Ricotta - This was the last bing we ordered. The plate is stacked. The bottom layer begins with jam, then a layer of ricotta and a HUGE pile of finely shaved foie gras.
You had to dig deep into the bowl to make sure you got all the layers of the foie gras, ricotta and jam all in one bite. The foie gras was shaved so thinly that once it hit the hot bing it melted. All that goodness spreader and melded with the ricotta and jam. One thing to note, once the foie gras melted on the bing, I felt the flavor wasn’t as strong, and I just wanted to pile on more foie gras shavings.
FRIED OXTAIL -We also ordered the Fried Oxtail appetizer to give it a little “balance” to our appetizers.
First of all, oxtail takes a very long time to tenderize. (I use patience and a slow cooker at home.) Momofuku’s version is unique: The oxtail pieces are tender on the inside but crispy on the outside.
To create additional crunch, the fried oxtail is covered with a mix of nuts, toasted seeds and puffed rice. The crunch and toasted complements the beefiness of the oxtail. SO GOOD! Each spoonful is like a treasure hunt of different flavors. Seriously, if you have not tried fried oxtail before, you are missing out.
HEIRLOOM TOMATOES - Heirloom Tomatoes are in season during the late summer & early autumn time here in LA. They are so much more flavorful than your average tomato at the grocery store. They come at a cost, but it’s worth the splurge once in a while. The heirloom tomatoes were mixed with ripe peaches, sesame seeds, basil and some olive oil. The savory sweetness combination of peach tomato and basil makes it remarkably fresh. I’m going to make this at home!
MARINATED MUSHROOMS - The presentation was cute. The mushrooms are topped with pea shoots, pistachios and puffed rice. The radish pieces are very refreshing and unexpected surprise with the mushrooms.
CRISPY RICE - Have you ever had crispy rice before? As a kid (and as an adult), I love eating the crispy rice from the bottom of the rice cooker. When there wasn’t too much of it in the rice cooker, we made our own with a waffle maker.
There’s just something irresistible about the burnt crispy rice. Mix this with shrimp, corn and bacon and who wouldn’t love it?
MARINATED BLACK COD - Marinated Black Cod was good. In comparison to the other dishes though, it did not really stand out to me. There was serious competition for attention during dinner. The cod also comes with stewed daikon, a very traditional ingredient in a meal thus far reflected the today’s modernist flair.
CRISPY PORK BELLY - The crispy pork belly indeed had a perfect crusted skin and tender meat. Pork belly is a forgiving cut of meat. It is hard to mess it up. All the components were tasty, especially the Momofuku’s signature dōmojang (paste) that is a loose riff on Korean fermented bean paste. As a Korean American myself, I can see how it is an ode to David Chang’s Korean heritage.
I do have one gripe about this dish. There are ONLY 5 pieces of pork belly. While tasty, it was underwhelming and expensive. I don’t think I would pay $24 for this dish again.
SHORT RIBS - Ok, now I know you all must be thinking of that Whole Plate Short Rib on the menu. How is it prepared that it would justify a $190 price point? One other note, if you want to try this dish, you will need to pre-order 24 hours in advance. I guess that just means I need to go back again!
1725 Naud Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012