Majordōmo - chinatown


I enjoyed it as much as the $200 bistecca fiorentina at chi spacca. and the fries it comes with are outstanding, like a thicker, crunchier belcampo fry.


what’s the price tag on that steak? Ever since I started dry aging my own beef at home, I can’t get myself to order steaks at restaurants.


45 Days is quite a long time to dry age. After having a very, very (overly, IMHO) dried blue-cheesy steak from eataly I wonder what the benefit of going beyond a month may be?


Their steaks didn’t appeal to me.


For me, 45 days should be the minimum amount of time to dry-age. I don’t feel like the usual 28-30 days is as good.


I have had 28 day dry aged and only got funk towards the outer edge where the steak is exposed to the air the most. Did you notice if you got either edge piece of the primal at Eataly? That can make a difference, I always ask for the chuck end side of the ribeye for dry aged as I like that cut better than the sirloin end of the rib primal.

But I really enjoy a nice 60 day dry aged steak. For me, it has the perfect amount of funky, nutty beef flavor.




The Beef Plate short ribs, carved tableside. They use some of the meat between the ribs to make a beef rice. The give you the bone if you want to eat the meat and fat next to the ribs. Comes with butter lettuce, shiso, rice paper, ssamjang, kim chee, salt & sesame oil, pickled radish and jalapeño.
sorry, the pics are in the wrong order.


how was it?


i personally liked it, my wife and our friends seemed to enjoy it too. They told me that the texture was supposed to be more like steak and is cooked to 185 degrees internal temp, instead of a regular smoked beef rib which is cooked to an internal temp of 200 degrees. I guess that’s what makes it APL style
it feeds 4-6 people, i thought it was worth it with the presentation, the condiments and sides and especially the beef rice. i would go and order it again.


So if you split a single order between 6 people, how many wraps or slices of meat does each person get?

Interesting note re: the style cuz yeah 185 is really low for BBQ. Basically $1 per degree :smiley:


the slices are pretty long, they cut all the way across all 3 of the bone. there was 4 of us and we ate about 4 slices each and i took home about 6-8 more slices, plus leftover beef rice and all the bones with meat on them.

The meat was cooked to an internal temp of 185 degrees, they said the smoker temperature was cooking at 250 degrees, usually done in about 5 hours. They use a J&R smoker, i believe it’s the same style as Rays BBQ and Gjusta’s smoker.


Was wondering about that, with the high sugar content of the marinade I think it would taste burnt if smoked too long. Hence the wrap in plastic method to cook further as seen on Ugly Delicious, probably employing the same method at Majordomo.


As I understood the discussion in “Ugly Delicious,” the point of wrapping in plastic was to let the parts that weren’t done keep cooking without overcooking the parts that were done. That seemed like an initial experiment, with the high-end smoker at Majordomo they might be able to control things so it didn’t need the plastic-wrap step.


Think its a variation of the “Texas Crutch”. Easier way to manage cooking process, esp in a restaurant where you don’t have dedicated pitmasters.


I was a somewhat infrequent poster at the old CH site, and was thankful to find this new site with some familiar names. I would still be happily lurking along if this thread hadn’t moved me to register and comment.

Went to Majordomo this weekend because a friend really wanted to try it. Based on this thread and others in the FTC forum (and without having gone myself), I did my best to dissuade him, citing long lines, poor QPR, over-hype, etc. At the end of the day, though, he wanted it badly enough to push through my objections and the general group inertia caused by the fact that no one else really had it on their list of “must trys.” I have had David Chang food in NYC (whole Bo Ssam at Ssam Bar is a solid meal… buns and ramen and other things, not so much) but I wouldn’t call myself a devotee or even an enthusiast. I have heard his name before but wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a lineup. That being said, I had a fantastic dinner at Majordomo that centered on the controversial $190 smoked short rib set and will be going there again just because of it.

Because it’s helpful in establishing a base for this review, I will state that I’ve experienced both high-end and low-end dining across the world – Michelin 3 stars, hole-in-the-wall diners, street carts, mid-range restaurants, chains, fast food, famous places skating by on recognition alone – I can, will, and have eaten them all. These days, I like to find bargains and largely eschew the high end dining scene here in LA. Not because I can’t afford it, but because sometimes I just get offended at the prices being charged for things (Una Pizza Napoletana NYC back in the day, I’m looking at you) and because I know I can go to a place like Pollo a la Brasa and have an extraordinary culinary experience without breaking the bank. It doesn’t mean I don’t or can’t appreciate a place like Urasawa, it’s just that I, like I suspect many of you, like to eat delicious things and not pay too much for them. My dining companions for the night in question are in a place in life where they don’t really consider pricing when it comes to dining choices; they’re in it to eat the best things the world has to offer. So, with all that nonsense out of the way (I mention it only because it seems particularly relevant to the Majordomo discussion for some reason), on to Majordomo!

Non-food considerations: We actually showed up at 5:30 since we didn’t have reservations, only to be told there would be about a 1:40 wait for a 4-top. We left and came back at 10:00 and the restaurant was about 1/3 full, so plenty of seats. I wasn’t particularly happy about making the trip back for the 10:00 seating because they apparently stop answering the phone around 6:00 or something strange like that and I didn’t want to make the trek out there again without knowing whether we could eat or not. I yielded to my friend, though, because he wanted to try it. At 10:00, the server mentioned that they only had 2 of the short ribs left (I think they make 5-6 on a given day), so if you’re going there for it, probably a good idea to try and reserve one in advance. The locale is industrial, and provided zero protection against the ridiculous wind/rain (no overhangs, wind-tunnel corridors, etc., with the inside of the restaurant too crowded to wait inside) but reminded me of other restaurants popping up downtown in slightly less-accessible locations (a la Factory Kitchen/Little Bear). Restaurant decor is nice but more on the casual “California hip” side. Indoor and outdoor seating areas, with plenty of heat lamps outside, and a visually-interesting mural painted on a wall outdoors.

I don’t do pictures, so I apologize for the wall of text. Our order for the night was: Bing with eggs and smoked roe; sugar snap peas; stuffed peppers; APL-style smoked short ribs; horchata kakegori. The bing, peas, peppers have all been praised at length (and chosen by me based largely on the experiences of the intrepid FTCers who were kind enough to share their experience) and I won’t expound too much more other than to say that everyone had a similar reaction to this board (for the most part) and loved them. I thought the peas were a touch on the salty side (good counterpoint to the heavier meat dishes, though) and the peppers were a little on the greasy side (but delicious, even if a tempura master might shake her head). I didn’t (and wouldn’t - I’m not ordinarily a horchata fan) have chosen the horchata dessert (shaved ice, essentially, with some rice pudding and cream filling/topping) but thought it was fantastic and wouldn’t object if someone wanted to order it again - a perfect ending to the meal. It reminded me of a good fried ice cream (if you were ever un/fortunate enough to dine at Chi-Chi’s, the textural contrast offered by the cinnamon sugar effect on the cream topping sparked in me some nostalgic memories of their version), but replicated in a shaved ice form. Someone mentioned that they found it bland and tasteless. That was not my experience at all, but I have eaten a lot of shaved ice in my lifetime and I suppose maybe there’s a familiarity issue (it certainly doesn’t have the flavor profile of an ice cream, for example)? I would happily go to the restaurant again to try the other various bings, but honestly, I don’t know that I’d consider that eating experience head-and-shoulders better than having a well-made naan and curry (although the ingredients being used to top the bing are certainly far-beyond any of those at the “regular” Indian restaurants I’ve dined at), or if you lean more towards the east asian side of things, the green onion bread and lamb pot from Tung Lai Shun. Not to say that the bings are analogous to these types of bread at all - it’s more a comparison in the “bread + savory topping/stew” vein of things.

On to the short rib. I’ll be fair - $190 for “3 ribs” (as someone else here described it) triggers my “WTF” sensor. That being said, the $150 steak at Chi Spacca also triggered my “WTF” sensor the first time around, and, having had it, I will never ever order that steak from Chi Spacca again unless someone else is paying and really wants it (not when the pork chop with fennel pollen is there, and not while you can get rib-eye cap steaks and other decent offerings from Costco for great prices, but that’s probably best discussed in different threads). The Majordomo short rib, though, was an absurd amount of food that belied the “3 ribs” description. I know it’s a short rib, but I would describe the quality of the meat and the cooking technique as on par with the best briskets I’ve eaten in Texas. I haven’t had them all, and I don’t doubt that a better brisket/smoked meat exists somewhere in Texas or elsewhere, but I can’t imagine it’s better by a significant amount. The presentation is fun. They wheel out a ginormous slab of meat affixed to 3 bones the size of something you might see Fred Flintstone walking around with. After explaining a bit about the dish, the server proceeds to hand-carve the meat before layering it on a serving plate and indicating the lean and fatty side (fatty side is the way to go!). The carving process takes a while, and after the “oohs and ahs,” they portion out the carved meat and take the ribs back to the kitchen to finish carving and to make the accompanying fried rice. The “banchan” (for lack of a better term), even though familiar for those who have eaten at Korean restaurants, is of a quality that you’re not likely to find at a mom-and-pop ktown hole in the wall (except for the rice paper wraps - more on that a bit later). Everything is recognizable, but elevated (bib lettuce vs. romaine; shisho leaf instead of perilla [jury is out on whether perilla would have been a better choice taste-wise]; shatteringly crunchy daikon slices in the soy/sugar/pepper/radish dip that everyone has but I don’t know what they call. You’re just not going to find ingredients/prep of this quality at most Korean restaurants. The kimchi was also good, but I’m not going to wax poetic about it since you can find phenomenal kimchi even at ktown food courts. The rice paper, though, was pretty horrible. It was stuck together and difficult to separate, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they admitted that someone had prepped all of the rice papers at the beginning of the night and we were seeing the effects of what sitting out until 10:00 does. It tasted fine, but they tore when you were trying to peel them off the stack. Whoever in the kitchen that made that call should be dragged out back and beaten, or maybe we can give them the benefit of the doubt and say they didn’t know it would happen. Happily for me, I don’t eat rice paper wraps with korean bbq, so i didn’t care, and I’m sure that if we had cared enough to say something, we would have been brought fresh rice paper.

The short rib was good enough to eat without wrapping in the elaborate condiment concoctions that are possible, but did have a noticeable gochujang-flavored marinade/rub (and also went phenomenally well with the flavor profiles of the banchan). Some people might be offended by this (I’m pretty sure Korilla taco truck lost a Great Food Truck race challenge because they offered someone in Memphis a korean-style marinated pork rib and he just didn’t understand it as “BBQ ribs”), so if that’s you, then probably best to stay away. The fatty side was my favorite and I’d compare the meat favorably to anything I’ve had at Maple Block (which seems to be going downhill, unfortunately), both Bludsoe’s locations, and aforementioned TX bbq joints. Although I’m down for pickles, raw onion, and wonder bread as an accompaniment, I think minds in TX might be blown if they got to experience the Korean-style trimmings offered at Majordomo. They will refill any of the banchan (not sure if there’s a limit - we replaced just about everything except for the shisho leaf and lettuce two or three times) but didn’t do so with the alacrity and generosity of spirit that you’d encounter at an AYCE place. The complimentary fried rice they make with the rib trimmings was good, but a little on the oily side (marrow helps contribute to that, I’d expect). They put perilla seeds in it, which provides a satisfying crunch as a counterpoint to the grease, and it’s a nice nod to a Korean culinary custom, but I wouldn’t call the rice the high point of the meal. Visually, the short rib set was impressive enough that the table next to us asked if it tasted as good as it looked.

Someone previously mentioned they don’t like to spend money on things they can do at home. If you can smoke a short rib at home this well (and I say this with zero snark - I don’t doubt there are people who can), I would urge you to consider opening up a BBQ joint here because we need you (and if you can do it at a price point significantly less than Majordomo, I could see about rounding up some investors for you). This was a meat experience, however, that I would have no chance replicating.

This brings us to the “P” part of QPR. 4 guys ate everything, with just a slice of lean short rib and the bones (still bearing a good amount of meat) left. It was a disgusting amount of food for 4, though, and if we were more reasonably inclined, we would have had a lot more of the ribs leftover. It is an expensive dish. There’s no getting around it. Whether or not it is “worth” the price is an entirely subjective assessment, but for me and all of my crotchety ideas regarding food and cost, I am putting my money where my mouth is and going again. The pricing for the food outside of the short rib is reasonable, and I’d rate the bing over a baco at Baco Mercat (closest comparison I could come up with off the top of my head) in terms of both taste and “value.” You can leave here with a bill that wouldn’t look out of place at any similar caliber restaurant in the city, so strictly in terms of pricing (and without going into whether or not you think the food is “worth” it or whether the LA dining scene is overpriced), it’s your standard downtown restaurant. Cocktails are actually on the reasonably-priced side. I’m more a straight scotch person myself, so I don’t go out of my way for drinks, but I had an old-fashioned that was visually appealing (single solid ice cube with the imprint of a momofuku peach and some nice trimmings) and, more importantly, the price on the menu didn’t make me skip it automatically, which I often do when I’m at similar restaurants. They have a decent selection of wines, and I didn’t notice any more of a markup than would be expected at similar restaurants. My baller friends did mention that the price point for the short rib was a little high in relation to their other experiences, but were happy enough with the food that they’d return. I think a group of 6 or so would be just right for the short rib. You’d get the chance to try some of the other things on the menu as well (skate fried rice, I’m coming for you next time) and, as with most things, the first few magical bites were the best (although I took the bones home and they were eaten clean, cold, by eager mouths).

I had read some gripes about service, which I wanted to address as well. In general, I think servers here are well-intentioned, but, in my opinion, even at the highest levels (with the exception of Urasawa and some of the sushi counter experiences), LA service lags behind NYC in terms of experience and expectations. You may disagree or have had different experience. The servers at Majordomo were knowledgeable about the menu, were attentive about drink and water refills, and seemed happy enough despite the crush of people they’re experiencing. Multiple people came to check on us and to see how we were doing. I mentioned earlier that they weren’t all that zippy about making sure our banchan plates were full, which I was kind of expecting given the price point of the ribs, but I can live with that. Some of you will take that as fuel for whatever distaste you may have of Majordomo, but at Melisse, the worms that I found in my dessert fruit were met with a shrug and a “sometimes that’s what happens when you use fresh fruit.” Didn’t even offer to adjust the bill or comp the item (I was much younger when it happened and didn’t make a scene). So, compared with that? You decide if that’s enough of an issue for you not to visit/return.

I had (and still have) a lot to say because I thought the dog-piling and hinting at bias/favoritism from people who hadn’t even been to the restaurant was getting a little unreasonable. I’m with you. I love eating vicariously through the community here - bottles of sake that must be laced with palladium or something given the prices; white truffle tasting menus; $2 banh mi that are just crazy on the QPR scale… You guys/gals are willing to share it all and for that I’ve been extraordinarily grateful and have been able to create a massive list of places to try. There’s a flip side to that, as well, though. There are a number of restaurants that I’ve crossed off my list because sometimes I focus too much on the “I’m paying how much for that?!?” factor. Majordomo was right there, until I actually went and tried it. Lesson to me, and maybe to some others here as well. It’s fine to discuss the value of something in the abstract, but the sheer amount of vitriol (again, from people who hadn’t even bothered to try the restaurant yet) was disturbing and does a disservice to the community here. Obviously I’d love it even more if the ribs were half the price, but I came in expecting to be pissed by the value received for the price paid, and I left without the slightest regret for having paid what I did. I can’t speak to the bo ssam or other “expensive” dishes that were triggering things, but, taste aside, Kobawoo bo ssam doesn’t look like it’s even playing the same game, based solely on the accompaniments that are served with the Majordomo bo ssam (and some of which were also served with the short rib). Maybe this is the root cause of all the discontent? I suppose you could compare the Big Mec with an In n’ Out burger, and I would choose to eat the InO burger on the basis of price and taste, but there is no disputing the difference in ingredients that are being used for the two, and I doubt that Petit Trois could charge InO level prices without taking a loss.

Anyway, thanks for following up to this point, those few of you who didn’t just skip the wall of text. I’ll be going back to lurk mode, but wanted to give a thumbs up to the FTC community and offer a little back since I (grudgingly) opened my wallet for the $190 short rib at Majordomo and, overall, found it an experience worth repeating.


Wall of text is an understatement.


Wonderwall of text is more like it. Loved your take. I admit I was also dubious about the APL ribs before actually inhaling them. And them leftovers made for a kickass unctuous fried rice at home the next day.

But again… I loved your post. Please write more for our community!


Great intel and I mostly agree with your observations. I think as a Korean American I’m really excited with some of the flavors and dishes Chang is playing around with at Majordomo. I went for the fourth time last week and think it’s better than ever, though I think there’s still plenty of room for improvement. It’s still a pretty young restaurant in the grand scheme of things.


Great report and observations thanks for taking the time to write it. I agree the bashing of this place has been pretty unfair. Now I just need to find some people to order that short rib.