Pikoh - Ricardo Zarate’s new project in West LA

Surprised nobody’s mentioned this on the site.

I’ve always had enjoyable meals at Zarate’s restaurants Mo-Chica and Picca. (OK, maybe things got a little shaky at Picca around the time RZ went AWOL…) Haven’t made it to Rosaliné yet.

Zarate and his former CdC James Jung recently opened Pikoh, an all-day cafe, in the old Thai Dishes space near Pico & Bundy. I went to check it out last week.

I’ll leave the full vivisection to another FTC’er but I was impressed.

The menu raised red flags for me. It seems like it casts too wide a net but Zarate manages to wrangle it all under the umbrella of a light touch, top-quality ingredients and brilliant secondary components.

A few examples:

  • Quinoa Kamameshi : More of a bibimbap, with brown rice, quinoa, shiitake, fresh wasabi. Unexpectedly savory and satisfying, served in a dolsot. With the crucially important rice crust on the bottom.

  • “Shakshuka”: This is a tomato stew fortified with katsuobushi + eggs + a couple of tiger prawns. I doubt this will pass muster with the FTC Shakshuka squad. But I’d order it again.

  • Halibut Cheek: Great attention to detail, came in a deeply flavorful dashi broth with shimeji mushrooms, bright herb/yuzu(?) crust to perfectly balance out the whole dish.

I’m thrilled to have a café in the neighborhood cooking at this level. I’m not sure I’d consider this a full-fledged FTC destination ‘worth a special trip’ but check it out if you’re in the area.

Parking is iffy, valet available or take the expo line.


Thanks for the report.
I saw it while searching for a parking spot for Yabu. Looks interesting.

We had a very enjoyable lunch at Pikoh last week. I really like how they designed the place with lots of booths for two. Food was tasty, and they have a full bar with all the fixin’s. I’m curious to go back for drinks and dinner.

Chicken tonkatsu sando had nice heat from the rocoto aioli.

Our only complaint was the fries were freshly cut, instead of double fried, and thus a little limp.

One curious thing I noticed when researching this place online: Eater published an article a year ago announcing their opening with the same name, concept, and location, but different chef.

However, as far as we can tell, the place didn’t actually open until this year under Zarate:

Perhaps @matthewkang or one of our other resident Eaters can clarify what happened?

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Apparently Zarate was a late addition to the team. They had another chef on board and it was supposed to open in September. It opened in January per our article, and Zarate brought in his own team to run the kitchen. I’d like to go back to try its daytime food.

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Did you find the food reasonably filling (for lunch, let’s say)? Prices don’t seem too bad, and it’s so close by that I’m quite curious about trying it…

This might be a Peruvian issue, at least here in L.A. Limp fries seem pretty standard. For a culture whose ancestors brought us the potato and where it is so prominant in their cuisine, what seems to be the preferred style of fries makes my head tilt confused puppy style.


I wish there was some ceviche on the menu. It would be so great not to have to drive to my favorite place in Gardena, next to 99 Ranch.


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But what happened to the original chef? The guy from Chicago? Just curious.

Reasonably so. The sandwich is on the small side but packs flavor and made for a satisfying lunch with the fries.

You might be right – they’re a lot like the limp fries at Pollo a La Brasa. But the problem is not confined to Peruvian places. I encounter it pretty much everywhere that serves fresh-cut fries, including In N Out.

Have you been to Rosaline yet?

And in UK it’s a whole other level of soggy. I think people should calm down about the crunch :slight_smile: I love in n out for example because they’re so fresh and dry tasting.

I think it’s a matter of preference. I like my fries to be a bit on the softer/soggier side whereas my SO prefers them to be super crispy. I’ve noticed that at some places you can request up front for fries to be extra crispy – we’ve asked for this at Plan Check and Eureka with good results. Or go to Stalking Horse where they have two types of fries: a thicker softer dipping fry that eats like a meal, or skinny crispy fries. We always order both of course :slight_smile:


And in Belgium it’s a whole other level of crisp.The difference is, nobody advertises their chips “soggy British style” :wink:

Those giant fries at Stalking Horse are softer - inside because of the girth - but still has a nice substantial browning on the outside. I think this version would satisfy both sides of the fries aisle.


I actually don’t recall them being particularly soggy or limp (and I was just in the UK this summer). They’re bigger and starchier, certainly.

Chips in England? They’re steak cut and served quite soft. Maybe you’re talking about french fries not chips at more modern places.

Nope, I was talking about chips at a pub (and steak cut, kind of similar to what @DoughnutsFC posted). Perhaps it’s an issue of somatics. “Soft” =/= soggy and limp, IMO.

When I think of soggy and limp, I think usually think of something that wasn’t fried at the right temp (I think, b/c I don’t really cook), as opposed to something that is “wet.”

I do agree that In N Out fries are okay b/c they’re “dry” (it’s not a term I would’ve thought of previously, but it describes them well).

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Baller. Thug life…


Not always soft. UK peeps actually have these same arguments about soft vs. crisp. Heston Blumenthal actually triple cooks his chips.

For me, soggy usually means the bag/box/etc. wasn’t properly vented so the fried food got steamed.

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Yes, def that, too. Although it wasn’t even have to be w/ to-go items. I notice it w/ fish and chips (incl the US); where the fish + fries touch each other, it’s often soggy.

Traditional places though. Regular chippies and pubs. Of course good chefs have modernized

Swung by here for an early dinner tonight.

gnocchi with bay scallops (half eaten)

There were probably as many scallops as gnocchi here. Very reasonably sized, given the price - could easily serve as more than half a meal for most people, probably. Scallops were pretty good; maybe a touch too firm. Gnocchi were perfect. Sauce was amazing, super complex, great interplay with the seafood and even managed to tie in the pecorino!

jidori chicken

Loved the ginger shoots(?) and charred lime. Chicken could’ve been a bit crispier, but I’ve had far worse for far more. Probably better for sharing than solo dining.

pork tonkatsu

Woah! Move over, Kagura - this is the best tonkatsu I’ve had to date. Perfectly crisp, super juicy, not the slightest bit of excess grease left over, and great with all 3 accompaniments (sharp mustard, tonkatsu sauce, charred lemon) or by itself. Give me a miso soup and a bowl of rice and I’ll call it a day.

passionfruit panna cotta

No official dessert menu, but it was a choice between this, a flourless chocolate cake, and cookies (and ice cream?), so I went with the most interesting option. Pretty good! The pomegranate seeds did provide an interesting contrast, though I’m still a bit iffy on whether they were truly necessary. The panna cotta was very good - made with house-ground vanilla beans.

Cocktail menu looks amazing, amazingly enough ranging from $11-14 (who’s paying rent?). Will need to come back with a group and try one of everything.