At Cho Mak, it’s the whole fish with just a little salt
Restaurant: Cho Mak, which is Korean for a traditional hut with a thatched roof.
Concept: Casual Hanjeongshik (traditional Korean meals) in a K-town strip mall with fresh seafood and a bunch of banchan (side dishes). The seafood comes in three main categories: grilled, stewed, or in a spicy hot pot. Varieties include different types of mackerel, the bony hairtail, the slightly salty yellow corvina, black cod, mussels, pollock and even fish eggs.
What dish represents the restaurant, and why? Carrying on the tradition of the location (Cho Mak took over Wando’s old space), Cho Mak specializes in Korean-style grilled fish dishes. Korean-style means the whole fish, eyes and all, unadorned, except for maybe a little bit of salt.
Who’s at the next table? Somebody’s Korean grandfather was eating a meal alone, while two ajummas (middle-aged Korean ladies) were gossiping in the corner, sharing a bubbling spicy hot pot of fish stew.
Appropriate for: A Korean lunch alone or with friends. The rotating doshilak (lunchbox) combo is only $6.99 on weekdays.
Uh-oh: Bring cash if you plan to spend under 20 bucks, and watch out for the sour kimchi.
Service: The woman who runs the place is fast and efficient.
What are you drinking? Soju and Korean beer, what else?
Info: 357 S. Western Ave., #101, Los Angeles, (213) 529-4303.
The Scouting Form is a quick look at restaurants worth a visit. Scouts were selected by restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, who may or may not agree with a single word.
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