The Monster is the first to arrive at Laon in Koreatown and as he waits for his friends he’s seated at a table that could easily fit fifteen. There are six of us. The restaurant is the temperature of a Nova Scotian winter and it is pretty well empty.
That aside, it’s a nice enough looking space, for this area of town even downright opulent. Whereas The Monster has been served brown, brackish water and had to overlook unsanitary bathrooms that heroin addicts would flee at other K-Town joints, Laon is polished smooth. How many other restaurants in the area sport Opus One on the wine list? Exactly.
The pickled banchan to start aren’t the traditional bounty of treats. Since Laon is a modern spin on Korean style small plates don’t expect this to follow the same agenda of other local spots.
The shrimp salad is good. It also has beef. So isn’t it really a shrimp and beef salad? The fish wraps are bland, decidedly so. Somehow glass noodles with assorted vegetables also has beef even though it doesn’t mention it on the menu. The Monster should know better. Vegetarian food always includes beef, right?
The seabass marinated and prepared with gingko, chestnuts and dates is phenomenal. Multiple orders grace the table. Dish of the evening. The kimchi pasta is also a standout. When the glass noodles arrive sans beef they also arrive sans taste. Guess there is a valid reason it includes beef.
On to the barbecue portion of the evening. There is squid and octopus and vegetables. The shrimp and garlic skewers are tasty winners of this batch. Multiple types of beef (for those who enjoy it) grace the grill.
Laon is kind enough to bring the table a complimentary dessert for each guest. A trio of treats, The Monster finds it bland and leaves much on the plate.
Jonathan Gold raved about Laon. The Monster doesn’t completely get it.
Why go? You are a vegetarian. Who eats beef.
Monster rating: 2½/5 Monsters
1145 South Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90006