Majordōmo - chinatown


#61

Not sure if you mean “posters” when you write “people.” There have been quite a few posts here over the (few) yrs in which various posters have commented on the why “ethnic” seems to be synonymous w/ “cheap.”

Some of the people pigeonholing ethnic cuisine are actually OF that ethnicity. One might argue, actually, that MOST of the people who are pigeonholing are of that same ethnicity. My (East Asian) parents have a pretty open mind when it comes to food (relative to other people of the same ethnicity of the same generation), and I imagine that they’d have difficulty paying a ton of $$$$ for something that’s an elevated form of something that they “recognize” as being fundamentally an inexpensive dish (esp if they grew up eating said cheaper version), even if they recognize that the ingredients are of superior quality.

They would probably have no difficulty paying for something that’s expensive if there’s not a cheaper form available or if that’s the only “game” in town.

I also think certain generations are more sensitive to $ (and more sensitive to $$$ spent on food) than others.

Having said that, I do agree w/ you that trying to be “authentic” is not always a good thing.


#62

Lol @ “the Han is strong in this one” the punchlines are strong with you,
as well

I feel like I did a decent job making my point. All I’m saying is folks
should try it before rendering judgment. I appreciate that you are willing
to try it and that’s all I’m really appealing for. I also tried to point
out some dishes folks might like, hope that part was helpful.

If folks look at the menu closely, they’ll notice the large format dishes
are an outlier in price but not really in price/person served. There’s also
a couple affordable entrees on there including the steak, pork and the
eundaegu jorim that are relative values to eating in a comparable
restaurant, but I think the disagreement is whether this restaurant’s point
of comparison is Chi spacca/NoMad (both casual-ish upscale restaurants that
serve large format proteins with a bevy of other smaller plates) or Kobawoo
House. I’m arguing for the former here


#63

I was in the area last night. Thought I would try to stop in around 8:30pm as a solo diner and grab a bar seat. All the bar seats were taken. There was a fairly large number of people lurking behind this seats, presumably looking to jump in them when vacated. Asked the hosts about making a reso. Zero reservations available for the entire month out. Said that walk-ins have been more successful if they arrive at opening time, which I think is 5:30pm.


#64

when I checked last night at 1am, there were 3 available via opentable. Mostly Friday night after 930.


#65

Thanks for the thoughtful comment as always.

  • Re “ethnic” being synonymous with “cheap” — I feel you. I also steer clear from calling something “ethnic,” and saying it around me will usually elicit a pretty angry-sounding “what the f— does that word even mean?”

A dish and a restaurant experience has principle components that can be weighed without bias/anchoring. It’s an ideal and yeah, I’m probably a hopeless dreamer, but in an age where everyone’s a critic I think it’s more than possible to look at dishes this way.

  • RE some of the pigeonholing of [insert ethnicity cuisine] here :wink: are actually OF that ethnicity: That’s a really good point, I guess I assumed that a Korean-American person who’s been following the city’s dining scene couldn’t try this place without walking away very impressed. I’m definitely supportive of progressive ways to push Korean food forward and adapting it to its environs. I think Korean cuisine has so many valuable core elements that play well with other types of cuisines and I’d love to see that further explored. I also understand the tremendous value that traditional restaurants provide in preserving culture in an age of data accumulating at critical mass, but I do not see the approaches* to be in conflict or as either/or propositions.

100% agree with certain generations being more sensitive to $ than others. My mom actually used to be extremely frugal until I became very passionate about food (she also raised my brother and I by herself). She noticed how much I loved food and luckily I had her backing me up to nurture my passions (credit to my dad for bankrolling me from afar), but of course, the majority of my Korean-American friends’ parents weren’t exactly going to be the most free-spending supporters of their children’s more creative exploits, and I definitely get that.


#66

This is a good and thoughtful post.


#67

Perhaps. :wink: Yes, it is POSSIBLE to analyze a dish w/o bias, but smell and taste are such powerfully emotional (and thus irrational) senses (IMO), esp when those senses are tied to issues of identity, both personal and collective (as they are perhaps more strongly w/ “ethnic” cuisine).


#68

This. My mom almost had a heart attack when I told her Cassia had a $28 bowl of laksa on their menu. It might be an amazing bowl of laksa, but she would never order it if she went.


#69

My wife who is Malaysian-Chinese with a lot of time spent in Singapore did order it. Her thoughts?

“It’s okay.”

As rare as other versions are around LA, score one for the OG version I guess.


#70

:joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy:

It’s so true, and I don’t understand why @matthewkang gets so defensive anytime someone makes a measured criticism against a restaurant that comped him – I mean it’s not like there’s a personal affiliation or anything, right?

I certainly hope that he isn’t paying out-of-pocket for early access, but the over-the-top levels of defensiveness make me wonder, as it almost comes off like someone who feels the need to justify the restaurant to himself and cannot handle a suggestion from anyone that it might not be “worth it.” Exhibit A:

Like that’s just bitchy and unnecessary. :grimacing:

Exhibit B

Like we’re just here to discuss food, and part of that discussion involves a bit of cost-benefit analysis, especially for most people. I really don’t like seeing someone post a non-emotional observation or criticism about a restaurant or their opinion of restaurant pricing and suddenly get put on the defensive to justify themselves.


#71

Hey I’m here with my identity out there. Who are you? Have you been to Majordomo yet?


#72

Good for you! That is a choice you have made. :grinning:

Who I am is completely immaterial to the point I made, however; why do you even ask? I certainly hope it isn’t from a sense that feedback only “counts” if it comes from certain individuals of a certain perceived status or “rank”…

As to your question, though, based on early reviews and the content of this thread, I see no reason to flock to Majordōmo, and especially not during the near term. I’ve long since left the age where I felt the need to participate in the hype machine, waiting in interminably long lines for (often) slightly-above-average food at Michelin Star-level prices just to garner likes on Instagram.

If Majordōmo is worth visiting, it will be around in a couple years operating the same or similar concept, but the ridiculousness of vying for access will be much less.


#73

Haha not at all. I’m just another member of this forum. Please feel free to criticize me whenever, but don’t hesitate to look me in the face too while you do it. I think it’s only proper. My defense of Majordomo’s pricing comes from one who constantly has to defend competitive pricing of Asian restaurants, especially modern Korean ones. Diners are pretty comfortable with pricing at non-Asian places, especially Italian or French. Perhaps it’s perceived value that needs to change. The QPR notion, while occasionally helpful, depends on the class/ambition/financial capitalization of a restaurant and really can’t be applied across the board.

Look, I’m always happy to point out when something is expensive, or supposedly expensive. But I’ll also happily defend why I think something’s worth the high price.


#74

Alright so this is more about the hype machine than the actual content/offerings of the restaurant. Well I hope you can make your way over after a few months, when things die down and people realize the location isn’t the easiest for many Angelenos, and you can nab yourself a handy Tuesday evening reservation.


#75

I’m gonna push back on this post.

This is exactly the kind of post that’s unhelpful. It’s skirting argumentum ad hominem, if not crossing the line. And I have to ask: What the hell are you even talking about?

@matthewkang was active in the thread and was providing counterpoints to a few posts, because that’s what we do here. Posts, by the way, that, as @matthewkang deftly pointed out, were often inaccurate comparisons. In several cases, the posts were not informed by experience.

@matthewkang puts his cards on the table both with his credentials as well as his vested interest in seeing Korean food celebrated in new ways.

Can you address the merits of his point of view? Or should he be dismissed just because he’s passionate, informed, and runs contrary to the majority in the thread?


#76

Looks like I found the headliner!

:wink:


#77

I’m not sure I can fully-cosign that you’re “just another member,” but I certainly think I was direct and upfront by going out of my way to @ mention you instead of simply directly replying to the poster with whom I was in agreement.

I think this comes to the crux of my point: do you actually have to defend pricing? As noted elsewhere in this, and other threads, there certainly is a good, healthy and ongoing debate about certain ethnic cuisines historically being pigeon-holed into “cheap” price points, and I certainly agree that it is important to recognize ethnic food can be both elevated as well as home-spun. What I see, though, and what I initially commented on, is what I (and apparently a few others) have perceived as a dogged defensiveness against anyone who even suggests that the QPR might not be up to their standards. It’s a healthy debate that deserves to be had for any restaurant, but as I noted above, responding to someone’s non-personal post about their personal QPR threshold with, “Please replicate it and invite me over so I can have some,” is just overly-personal, bitchy and unnecessary. In my opinion.

…and IMO this is the direction the discussion should have gone into earlier in this thread-- asking why does a particular poster feel that Majordōmo falls short of this standard, and explaining why you think otherwise. Because all I got out of it was that you think elevating Korean food in this city is important (it is), but not really why you think Majordōmo is the vehicle to do this.

Great! Looking forward to it.

No, that’s not entirely accurate. I judge things on a restaurant-by-restaurant basis, and if Majordōmo piqued my attention by offering something truly beyond that which I cannot find elsewhere, I’d still want to check it out. But what I get from this thread is a collective “meh,” where it loses major points on the QPR front from several posters whose judgment I have come to highly respect. And (so far) no other compensatory factors have been articulated to offset the imbalance.

Is that clearer?


#78

Some of my most expensive meals in the US have been Asian. Specifically - Chinese & Japanese. I’m willing to pay if the the quality warrants. i.e High end Chinese in SF, not so in LA… Very high end Japanese catching up to the quality in Japan. I have not been but really keen to try Benu, they seem to be pushing the envelope with Asian influenced cuisine coupled with complex execution in an elegant setting, happily pay $$$ for a meal there.

If a restauranter wants to command $$$, it has to be commensurate with quality of offerings available locally and where applicable internationally or offer something new. A hipster facade, fancy cocktail program & celebrity chef without offering anything special is just a quick way to ring the cash register… We’ve already seen the outcome of over-expansion of Gen 1 celeb chefs - think Flay, Emeril, Puck etc. Back then for anyone young enough to remember they were the greatest thing and could do no wrong. We’re just going through the 2nd (or 3rd wave) of this trend.


#79

I think it’s well within the purview of a discussion of a restaurant to discuss their PR/marketing efforts, especially if there seems to be an overly-defensive display of push-back against even the slightest of criticisms from known members of the local food press.

Now, I’m very curious where I “skirted” or came anywhere close to crossing the line of an “ad hominem” attack on another poster by responding (in agreement) to someone’s post and stating my opinion of how certain posts are coming across to me. @matthewkang writes for a well-known food blog, and so it strikes me as odd when he responds to mild criticism of a particular restaurant online as if he is a personal investor in the project with a financial stake. I would hope any personal affiliation would be disclosed out of journalistic ethical standards.

Correct. We discuss our opinions here. I don’t think, though, that one is obligated to have sat down and actually spent $22 for 6 small pieces of bossam to have an opinion on whether or not that cost seems reasonable given the number of bossam specialists already in Los Angeles at substantially better values. If anything, the fact that food press often receives compensated meals makes this point relative, as a food writer doesn’t have to take this into account nearly as much when forming an opinion of a restaurant.

And this is a very valuable service to the greater Los Angeles area. Again, my initial point was that I didn’t think it played well to challenge someone to recreate a dish and then invite him over to try it in response to that poster’s sharing of their opinion on QPR and their decision to eat out.

I live for well-articulated contrary points of view, not unnecessarily bitchy quasi-personal attacks on posters who vaguely critique a restaurant’s QPR.


#80

Benu is truly excellent and I had the luxury of going when it was more reasonably $185 a person for dinner. That’s fine dining though. Majordomo is priced in such a way that you could conceivably go and eat for $50 a person before drinks/tax/tip, and that’s kind of par for the course for lots of newer LA restaurants. $6 bing/eggplant or $8 butterball potatoes, $15 tapioca lo mein, $26 rare strip loin.