After the Kogi taco truck revolution in 2008, Choi has been behind the launch of a number of hip, new restaurants in L.A., including Chego in Chinatown, Sunny Spot in Venice and A-Frame in Culver City.
His latest venture, POT, features a restaurant, lobby bar and a caf? inside the newly renovated Line Hotel by the Sydell Group. While the bar opened last month and the caf? last week, the long-awaited restaurant officially welcomed foodies through its doors on Tuesday.
We caught up with Choi to get the low down on POT:
The restaurant is described as "Korean food through the eyes of an American with Korean blood." What makes the food different than just a regular Korean restaurant?
I wasn't raised in Korea but I was raised in a Korean restaurant in America. But this is not my mom's food, it's my way of figuring out my own identity. Immigrant children have a divide that even their parents sometimes don't understand: the issue of never being Korean enough or Mexican enough or Indian enough. Yet your skin is Korean enough but you swim in this in between, even amongst your own culture because what is your own culture? That's what this food is, the in between.
You tweeted that POT is your "most personal spot yet." What makes it personal, other than the fact that it's Korean? What was your inspiration for the restaurant when you started developing the menu items?
It's personal because it's me saying here's Korean food in Koreatown and it's not fusion and it's not traditional. It's my Korean food, love it or hate it.
What was your biggest challenge, or did you have any, when you started to develop a plan for what POT would offer Angelenos?
Creatively there were no challenges, it flowed like water. Just the construction delays messed up my rhythm a bit but that's water under the bridge.
Ever since you rolled out the Kogi truck, you've exploded on the food scene in Los Angeles. Do you want to open more restaurants in the future? Or do you aspire to do something completely different, like possibly a TV show?
All. Can't stop won't stop.
What are some of your favorite places to eat in Los Angeles?
Taco trucks late night.
POT is located inside the Line Hotel, 3515 Wilshire Blvd., and is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.