Fine Chinese Dining Comes To--- Koreatown?

The concept of fine Chinese dining in Los Angeles is a recent one, and one which does not have a very deep roster. Consequently it’s surprising to find a self-proclaimed (see picture), and indeed based on their pricing in fact, fine Chinese dining restaurant open in Koreatown.

Now finding such an animal in Koreatown would not be a surprise since Koreans like their brand of Chinese food, and there are a lot of expensive places to eat in Koreatown. No, what makes Hong Yeon surprising is the totality of its location. Hong Yeon is located in the Rotex Hotel on Olympic Blvd. at Gramercy Place and looks like a nice enough place to stay. But here’s where things break down. The way Hong Yeon is configured, the back of the kitchen looks out to the side of Gramercy Place, directly onto a homeless encampment. Which explains why the entire front entrance to the hotel on Olympic is blocked off, and there is only one small entrance to the hotel, off of the rear parking lot. Oh, and then there are the room rates, which run roughly $100 a night, explaining why the hotel was apparently sold out when I dropped by.

As you can see, the Hong Yeon dining room was full when I was there, with a crowd having the wherewithal to have an expensive meal.

And as I mentioned the restaurant charges fine dining prices. All I could afford was the sweet and sour fish fillet, which set me back $40. It was actually quite different from the typical deep red sweet and sour sauce you see at most Chinese restaurants, rather a tan colored gravy chock full of vegetables and wood ear fungus. Not a bad meal at all. But those prices–I would be hard pressed to find an item on the menu that wasn’t a top of the market price. And set dinners are as much as $100 per person.

If this hotel and restaurant were located someplace else in Koreatown with typical Los Angeles hotel room rates, it would make perfect sense. But as is, I’m baffled.


Judging by the TripAdvisor reviews, it’s not the best $100-a-night hotel in Koreatown.