Solid Fusion at a Premium - Chef David Chang's Majordomo Arrives in L.A. [Thoughts + Pics]

<insert item that Chowseeker didn’t like that are not likely explained by execution issues here>

Obviously there were differences of opinion about some of the dishes.

Chowseeker1999 still seemed to see inconsistent execution over multiple visits, which I have not. I’ve known restaurants open seven days a week where it was helpful to know which days you’d get the “B” team. It’s like the Sergio effect.

I’ll give you the cold food. Probably a runner or server forgot about it after it came off the line. Fine, if you want to chalk that up to the “B team” so be it. Not really sure why that would be the kitchen’s fault, but ok.

But the other criticisms can easily be chalked up to personal preference and not necessarily the fault of the kitchen. So no, I don’t think Chowseeker had the worst luck of going to Majordomo multiple multiple times and always getting the “B team” as you say. I think the more likely scenario is that it simply doesn’t line up with his palate and preferences.

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It seems to me @Chowseeker1999’s dislike is a little of all the above. But s/he probably shouldn’t waste anymore money by going again. :sunglasses:


Hi @honkman -

@PorkyBelly didn’t care for the Lady Edison either. He said it was grainy. I trust his palate and didn’t order it. Now we have @Chowseeker1999, who had an even stronger dislike. I gotta’ put some weight on that. But you really enjoying it, plus all the back & forth on this thread is now making me want to try it… kinda’.

You may have touched on something. You haven’t had it. Whereas we have and absolutely adored it. That could make us biased. The Bing, Cultured Butter, Honey and Benton’s Reserve was one of my best bites of 2018. Taking it off the menu is almost unforgivable. :angry:

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Hi @tailbacku and all (just trying to answer various posts at once, so it’s not just in reply to you), :wink:

I don’t think the majority of issues we ran into was just a matter of palate:

  • Cold Bing (2nd time it’s happened) - That’s not a problem with my palate.

  • Stuffed Peppers - Overly greasy / oily. Kitchen problem.

  • Roasted Duck Crispy Rice w/ Foie Gras - It was mainly salty, one note, rather underwhelming. Maybe it’s just our palate on this (everyone at the table was super excited after I told them how much it was recommended by our FTC’ers, no one came away from this feeling like it was good). But given how this particular evening was, I chalked that up to a rushed kitchen “off night” (maybe their Chef de Cuisine wasn’t in?).

  • Lady Edison Ham - Yes that’s just preference. But again, I took 2 separate groups of friends (9 of us total in 2 visits), none of us thought this was superior to Majordomo’s OG Benton’s Reserve Ham, but sure this is palate preference.

  • Mafaldine w/ Crab - This had old (frozen or refrigerated / reheated Crab). I’ve eaten enough fresh steamed Live Dungeness Crabs on the pier and bought some home and cooked it to know the difference. As mentioned in my post above, what made it worse was that we still had the lingering memory of Cotogna’s stunning Taglierini Neri Dungeness Crab Pasta on our minds, and Republique’s Mafaldine with Lobster. Both of those completely blow away Majordomo’s attempt (which was mediocre at best).

And @Ns1 (who is the King of QPR on our boards, always looking diligently for the best value out there), Majordomo’s pasta is indefensible given that you’re paying over $50 for this plate of pasta, and it’s so poorly executed with lesser ingredients. That is not OK.

  • Their Uni Spaghetti used old, bad Uni. Period. Any Chef in the kitchen who can’t be bothered to taste and verify the product they’re putting out (or they did and still put it out to save money, etc.) should be reprimanded. This isn’t a palate problem either. I know what fresh Uni tastes like, and this wasn’t it.

  • Oysters: They only serve 1 type of Oyster, with 1 preset Sauce already doused all over the Oyster. If you like your Oysters completely overpowered by a one-note overwhelming tart-saltiness, with No Utensils, No other condiments for choice (No Mignonette, No Horseradish, etc.), and with bits of Shell, more power to you. L.A. has too many other great fresh Oyster offerings that outshine this poor, poor attempt at Oysters. This is not a palate problem.

  • Seafood Cocktail - Palate preference. I thought it got boring really fast (and we were splitting it, and I still got bored after a few bites). Just adding Kimchi to everything is sloppy and lazy by the kitchen staff.

  • Double Fried Chicken - Is just poor execution. Just look at the photos. If you like unrendered Chicken Fat and Flabby Skin, with mediocre batter (barely any crunch, no crispiness), and want to pay ~$45+ for LESS than Half a Chicken, then I’m glad for you. :frowning: We’ve eaten more than enough Fried Chicken (and documented it for FTC) to know Bad Fried Chicken when we see it.

And as noted above, just to make sure, we drove off to 2 simple, hole-in-the-wall Korean Fried Chicken shops afterwards (77 Kentucky and Kyochon) and everyone was shaking their heads, agreeing that both of those places made Korean Fried Chicken leagues better than Majordomo.

  • Grilled Whole Sea Bass: Flabby, inedible skin. That’s a kitchen problem.

  • Sugar Snap Peas - This is just preference, but if you had Majordomo’s OG Sugar Snap Peas during their Grand Opening, it was just better than it is now (brought back after hiatus this 2nd time). It was zestier, had more zing, brightness.

  • Jumeokbap - This is personal preference. But I thought Majordomo’s OG Jumeokbap during their Grand Opening was phenomenal! This version? Not so much. A downgrade, being overwhelmed by too much Mayo and the removal of their Avo and Pickled Radish.

  • Grilled Dduk Galbi (Kabobs): This is just personal taste. But I think the comment I made about a lazy presentation (as were many of the items for Brunch) still stands: Whatever kitchen staff put this together, just throwing a bunch of different condiments in little bowls and letting the diners do what they want seems “fine” on the surface, but there was a downright bad flavor combination that made the food taste gross. That’s just lazy implementation and has echoes of Pok Pok Phat Thai (if you ever went there), where Chef Andy Ricker thought it was a “brilliant” idea to let customers just season the Pad Thai themselves. Some people liked that idea, others found it confusing and annoying. The same thing here: If the chef isn’t confident enough to properly season / serve the food and has to drop 6 different seasonings and 3 different methods to eat the Kabobs, it’s questionable at best. But what made it worse was that not all of the condiments and vessels they provided played well together. You could definitely add something wrong together and it made it taste bad.

  • Boiled Chicken / “Hainan Chicken Rice”: If you like paying over $100 for mediocre, bland Hainan Chicken Rice, that’s fine. The Sauces developed for this were overpowering the dish (the Black Bean Sauce). The Rice was bland, and it is no hyperbole that every single hole-in-the-wall Hainan Chicken Rice shop we’ve visited on our Hainan Chicken Rice Journey around L.A. served better Rice than Majordomo for this dish. Chef @JLee’s humble pop-up in Chinatown for Hainan Chicken Rice completely blows away this $100 version at Majordomo it’s not even in the same league, and for a fraction of the price ($12? IIRC).

Yes, it comes with a 2nd dish, which ranges from good (1st Chicken Noodle side), to mediocre (Chicken Salad), to bland and disappointing and overcooked (2nd Chicken Noodle iteration later on), but that doesn’t justify the price either.

  • Their “Galbi Jjim” homage is so inferior to every single version we’ve tried in K-Town (even the dumbed down version now at Sun Nong Dan), and you pay over $100 for the “privelege” of eating this poor version from Majordomo, it is a joke.

So, “no” the vast majority of my problems wasn’t personal preference.

A kitchen delivering this many problems and inconsistent / mediocre dishes (along with some great dishes) just isn’t something that should be blindly praised. If people have issues they should be welcome to bring them up. As @Sgee and others have mentioned, there’s nothing worse than wasting a meal on bad / mediocre food. It’s even worse when they charge you a massive premium for the mediocre food, which is what Chef David Chang and Majordomo are doing.

And certainly it’s not a kitchen that should be counted among L.A.'s finest.


My only point here is that “difference in palate” and “execution issues” are not mutually exclusive. It’s clear (to me) that some issues you experience are related to the former, and some the latter. You’re preaching to the choir here re: QPR @ David Chang restaurants.


I hope you’ll send these comments to Chang.

I’m on the confusing and annoying side. This happened to us the last time we went to Cut in BH. I can’t remember the dish, but there were too many unexplained condiments. I fault the waiter. He was friendly but couldn’t figure out how to manage our table of seven, so chose to leave the food with an inaudible description and scurry away. He was also distracted by the happenings at the entrance. Talk about irritated. Most of Cut prices make Majordomo look beyond fair. Oh and half of us didn’t like our steaks.

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@Chowseeker1999 if it’s any consolation. I dined at a couple of DC’s restaurants prior to Majordomo opening up - wasn’t blown away and though it was overpriced. As these Majordomo rave reviews starting flowing in, I continued to double down.

At this point I’ve concluded, Sgee’s dining preference and DC’s cooking style is not compatible… cutting my losses. Reminds me of my Red Medicine experience in it’s polarizing heyday - although not as bad in DC’s case.


How different is the flavor profile of the Benton Reserved to the regular one ?

I can’t say. I don’t recall knowing about Benton’s Ham before having it that night.

I’ve had both and I like both. But I have a high affinity for funk.

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Hi @Sgee,

Thanks. Yah, actually of all of the groups of friends I’ve taken with us to Majordomo - some well-traveled; one couple has been to more highly rated restaurants around the world than I can remember (a ridiculous amount), half of them are way more discerning than I am, some aren’t foodies at all - and only 1 of them wanted to go back immediately (after we had the APL Ribs of course). Everyone else’s reactions have ranged from “overrated” “overpriced” “not going back” to “it’s fine, but not in a hurry to return.” But all of our friends who have tried the APL Ribs agreed it’s their best dish and they’d be glad to try those again… I’m feeling the same.

My group of 4 is actually the opposite. The APL style ribs is great, but we wouldn’t mind going without it but the duck is a must for us. Thanks for the review though!

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I like that we all don’t like the same things.


Apparently we all have to like the same things and if we don’t, it’s the execution of the kitchen that failed.

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does anybody really like cold bing though?


no of course not, but if you read what I posted up top, I already made that concession.

If whoever’s on the pass is doing their job right, food that’s supposed be served hot won’t get cold before it’s picked up.

I call that a problem in execution, as opposed to a problem in conception, such as cooking the bings ahead and planning to serve them cold.