Eko Eats downtown LA--modern take on Korean

Eko Eats on 6th street has been open for just a couple of months. It’s a quick service restaurant with most items in the $8-12 range. It serves up a limited but competently executed Korean menu like bibimbap, jook, kimchi fried rice, fried chicken. The ingredients are upscale and shall I say “Californian” which is to say health-conscious and modernized for a wider audience. I say modern and not fusion because flavors definitely lean more traditional but the ingredients are expanded to take advantage of California’s bounty. Call it “approachable” Korean for the two or three people living under a rock who haven’t been exposed to Korean food by now.

I’ve been in 3 times in 3 weeks and have enjoyed their modern version of bibimbap with items you wouldn’t find in a traditional version like kale, fried lotus root, gobo, in addition to the usual suspects like soybean sprouts and spinach. I really enjoyed the textures and colors of these unexpected additions. If I had to nitpick, I found the gochujang sauce a bit too sweet. The quality of the ingredients is apparent and everything is executed with care. Kimchi fried rice is made w brown rice, gobo, kale. Again, the crunch of the gobo and the toothsomeness of brown rice were a nice departure from an otherwise monotextural dish. In keeping w a fast dying trend that is bone broth, they serve a chicken bone broth that is quite rich, if a bit pricey for what you get. But having made broth, I know what it takes to get that kind of richness so I get it.

Walking in I was expecting another boring, flavorless, corporate, assembly line food, but was pleasantly surprised by the overall quality. Also appreciate the real plates, bowls and utensils when dining in. I haven’t tried the fried chicken which seems to be quite popular. I hope they expand the menu a bit though–Bulgogi bowl would be a nice easy addition.