ITALIAN FUSION COMES TO LIFE IN KOREATOWN
You could say that Concerto, formerly Caffé Concerto, in Koreatown feels very homey and that might actually be because it used to be an actual house. Look at the outside and you’ll see a two-story house in K-town.
Walk inside and it looks like a jewelry store only it is elegant tarts and colorful macaroons and other decadent desserts that are on display in glass cases. This bi-level hotspot features an outdoor patio, bar, dining room and upstairs lounge and aptly serves rich Italian dishes, Asian stir-fry, and a bevy of cocktails and spirits.
During our recent visit for dinner, we started with an Old Fashioned with blood orange, maple syrup, and black walnut bitters, and a Sunset Boulevardier featuring Woodford Reserve Rye Whiskey. This was a great way to kick off the night.
The menu is extensive and features several Italian dishes that that blend Italian and Korean cuisines. You might think that’s odd but the proof is in the pudding or in this case in the sensational Kimchi Carbonara. Yes, I said kimchi carbonara. That dish includes kimchi, bacon, onion, pepper, anchovy, and cream sauce and it is phenomenal. It’s not your typical pasta dish. Just like the combination of Korean and Mexican makes terrific tacos; let’s hear it for the winning pairing for Italian and Korean and this dynamic dish was an evening highlight.
If you’re looking for solid starter dishes, you can’t go wrong with the Pepata di Cozze (peppered mussels) or the Grilled Octopus with tomato, olive, caper, and lemon dressing. Both were just so damn tasty.
Two menu favorites of mine were the Sweet Pumpkin Salad, and the Gorgonzola pizza with white sauce, gorgonzola cheese, caramelized onion, and walnut served with a side of honey.
The salad was absolutely divine with fresh pumpkin and strawberries, not to mention peanuts and a dynamic dressing. The flavors were phenomenal. The salad was fresh, clean, sweet and guilt-free. It was love at first bite.
Likewise, the white gorgonzola cheese pizza was rich and decadent and out of this world good. The side touch of honey was absolute brilliance. This is a real diet-buster but sometimes you just have to treat yourself right. Food coma will follow this amazing pie.
Other rich options include the Uni Pasta with fresh uni, spaghetti, and cream sauce, along with the Truffle Risotto with three types of mushroom, onion, garlic, truffle oil, grilled bell pepper, and parmesan. Does it get any better than truffle risotto with truffle oil?
If you really want to treat yourself right and don’t mind bordering on gluttony, then the Steak and Lobster is the way to go. It’s just a winning combination.
You should definitely save room for dessert as it is a house specialty. Go ahead and indulge and treat yourself to a slew of decadent macaroons or cake or the Concerto special Crème Brulee Latte.
While the setting is serene, the energy at Concerto is loud and festive and the eats don’t disappoint. Go, indulge and don’t feel guilty about it. Nights out like this is what living is all about.
Concerto is located at 610 S. Serrano. Open daily from 10 am to close. The bar opens 5pm to 2am Thursday thru Saturday. Call 213-738-0909.
Story & Photography By: Jose Martinez