Chego is widely regarded as Roy Choi’s brick-and-mortar version of Kogi. The food that’s served at the restaurant, however, is probably somewhere in between Kogi and Chef Choi’s other restaurant, A-Frame. Back in the day, when I lived in the Palms area (less than a month ago), Chego was within walking distance from my apartment. Still, I wasn’t really amazed after a couple of attempts. Like I said in my A-Frame post, I considered Chego to be a decent place, but ultimately it was more hype than anything else. Everything there just seemed so…salty (and I like heavy seasonings). Well, why come back then (especially after moving out of the area)?
I was on my way back to the new apartment last Thursday when I was thinking of a place to grab a quick dinner. I originally wanted to eat in the Pasadena area, since that was where I was coming back from, but couldn’t think of a worthy place near where I was at (Eugenia suggested Dog Haus, but that was actually 4-5 miles north of where I was, and I didn’t want to drive further away). While getting off the 10W (since 405N seems to get congested even around 8pm nowadays due to construction), I passed by Chego. Since it didn’t look too busy (it’s usually packed), I thought to myself “why not?”
I believe I ordered this on one of my former visits (probably did, since it has pork belly). It kind of reaffirmed my apathy for Chego’s food, but I have to say that this was better than how I remembered it. This time, I didn’t just taste salt and spice. Those flavors were very bold once again, but I thought there was a better balance this time around. However, it looks like there’s still too much going on in the bowl. Maybe it can be simplified a bit? Also, for pork “belly,” the meat wasn’t fatty at all. More of a pork chop cut. The fried egg and pickled radishes were a nice touch (but necessary?), though I tasted no peanuts.
Another item I wasn’t too crazy about in the past. Again, a better version than I had remembered. However, too much sambal oelek and sour cream in my opinion. But the flavors were very good. I particularly liked the pickled garlic, and the fries weren’t soggy at all.
It’s still a common theme for the dishes at Chego to be in-your-face with salt and spice, and each dish still has a million bold ingredients. However, I found the food on this visit to be a little more focused and better balanced. I still feel like the food here is probably a hit-or-miss, but on this visit it was more of a hit. In the end, I consider Chego a flawed restaurant that has very interesting combinations of food (however of a mess those combinations are – consider it like a Pollock painting) that is quite enjoyable from time to time.
Chris Hei grade: B
3300 Overland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034