Here's why you should go to Khong Ten in Los Angeles
As some of you know I was born in Saigon and am half vietnamese (mother) and half Caucasian, (father). 7 or 8 months ago I met a lovely fellow food (@lisaeatsla) who is not only a half breed like myself, but we share the same birthday! We mostly like the same foods too. So when she tells me about a Modern Vietnamese restaurant on the Westside of LA that she was going for a tasting, I pretty much invited myself to go with! I looked it up on Instagram, it looks OK. I googled it and I found a YouTube posted by FoodBeast on their "Going In" series. This is where they order one of everything on the menu. Everything looked delicious in the video but, not so authentic. After doing a little more research I find that its more about the flavors of Vietnam vs an actual dish from Vietnam. Now my curiosity has peaked. I can't wait to go!
It was our second tasting that day and we were both in a "I'm not hungry, but I can always eat more" mode. Chef Kim Vu, Owner and Executive Chef greats us at the door. She's so cute and fun. Love her! We find a well lit booth and as I start to look around the restaurant I see how gorgeous it is. Its smaller. It seats about 35 inside (but has a large outdoor seating area) and its decorated in a modern teal velvet and a funky floral wallpaper. She explains that the dishes are twists on Vietnamese favorites. They are meant to interpret the feel of Vietnamese food with the spices and flavors and are not meant to imitate or copy. And in my humble opinion, she did that. Exactly that. Everything we tried was not only gorgeous on a plate, but I felt my heritage in the dishes. Everything was fresh and clean and so balanced. Even the deep fried options. They didn't feel greasy and were served with some amazing sauces and dips. See below for some of the delightful dishes that we tried!
Pictured above is their gorgeous bar and main dining room. Everything was so well thought out and I love that they even have purse hooks under the bar counter! They have a full bar and some great signature cocktails. plus they are working on a pretty awesome happy hour.
The meal started with this fresh, made from scratch Limeade. I could have consumed 3 or 4 of these. I behaved myself and only had one. Sigh.
Chef Kim was quite generous and let us order one item from each section of the menu. We started with the Tutti Frutti Farm Zucchini Sticks. The zucchini was lightly battered and perfectly cooked. It was served with a delicious carrot garlic chili Romesco and fresh limes. It was amazing. A great way to start off the meal.
This is the gorgeous Bok Choy Salad. There is shaved farmers market stone fruit, Weiser Farm rainbow carrots, toasted almonds, watermelon radish, and a Coriander Lemon Vinaigrette. It was Crisp, Light and so Fresh! The acid from the vinaigrette was perfect to cleanse the palate from the zucchini.
This picture does not show the true beauty of this dish. It's julianned Thao Farm crispy sweet potato with sauted shrimp and a beautiful Vietnamese aioli, fresh herbs and fresh lime wedges. I'm not sure how I explain it...all I can say is that this dish is so Vietnamese, but completely doesn't look like it. An amazing interpretation.
This dish is so simple yet so good. It's Harris Ranch Sirloin cubes tossed in a sesame chili oil. The beef was super tender and there was so much flavor in every bite. Slightly sweet, a tad bit smokey and way tasty!
Such a fun twist on the basic Banh Mi sandwich. The meat is a Vietnamese Seasoned Chuck & Sirloin with roasted Tutti Frutti Farm tomatoes, caramelized onions, Fresno chili's, house pickles and topped with Cilantro & Herb Mix.
This was my favorite dish of the afternoon. The pork chop was so tender. It was topped with a combination of julianned pickled veggies, fruit, jalapeno's and herbs. Then drizzled with the same pickling liquid. I can't even describe how lovely it was. Its a large piece of filling meat and it was cooked to perfection.
Chinese 5 spice lava cake sitting in a coffee anglais and topped with preserved cherries. The perfect end to an amazing meal! I want to reiterate that this is not a traditional Vietnamese restaurant. The dishes are inspired by Vietnamese cuisine. With that being said. You need to get yourself over there ASAP. Everything was full of flavor, but clean. Nothing was too heavy or too much. Even the fried foods and the pork chop were perfect. I'm already planning what I want to try on my next visit. Chef Kim, if you're reading this...fire up the Spicy Pork Meatballs, the Loco Moco Bowl, the Crab Fried Rice and the Ginger Scallion Braised Beef Bavette! I'm coming back!!! Khong Ten LA
11520 W Pico Blvd, LA, 90064
@khongtenla DISCLAIMER:The food at this restaurant was provided complimentary or at a discounted price, however all opinions are 100% mine. A free meal does not buy a good review.