Name of restaurant: ROOTS at Black Hogg.
Chef/Owner: Chef Eric Park originally opened Black Hogg in Silver Lake back in March 2012. After closing his gastropub for a remodel in July, he recently opened a temporary popup called ROOTS at Black Hogg.
Concept: Heartfelt comfort food. The dishes are first and foremost a loving tribute to Park’s grandmother. The ROOTS “picture menu book” even opens with her photo. “She loved food. Loved it… She made garlicky kimchi, super stinky bean curd, fried up funky fish with their heads and eyeballs still attached.”
As noted on their Facebook page, “ROOTS presents the very personal journey of Chef Eric and his culinary inspirations, including his family, his upbringing in Los Angeles, his early exposure to a wide range of ethnic cuisines, his travels, his culinary training ... simply put, his roots.”
The casually elegant, 40-seat space has new lighting, acoustics and artwork, with pretty blue and white tiles covering the front of the bar. If, by chance, you don’t make it to the summer popup, there’s no need to fret. ROOTS has been so successful that Park plans to keep it open indefinitely.
What dish represents the restaurant, and why? Crispy Salt and Pepper Fish: a whole, deep-fried sea bream with chimichurri fish sauce, a nod to Park’s grandmother, of course. The perfectly crisp skin (and flaky, moist fish) is a funky, delicious treat.
Runner up: Short Rib Steak & Slow-Roast Tendon with “street taco” red sauce is topped with a bright, green onion salad. The steak is fire-grilled and the flavorful tendon is more fatty goodness than gelatinous.
Return favorite: Black Hogg’s popular Marrow Street Corn also is on the new ROOTS menu. As a kid, Park loved hearing the sound of the elote (street corn) carts even more than the ice cream truck. The dish arrives with a large, roasted bone marrow (cut lengthwise), served with a bowl of grilled sweet corn, cotija cheese and chile piquin. Scrape the marrow into the corn and mix. It’s deliciously rich and would be even better with a few pieces of crispy toast.
Who’s at the next table? The room is packed by 7 p.m. To the left, young women are celebrating some sort of reunion at a large table. Couples pack the smaller tables throughout.
Appropriate for...: Everyone. There are a few vegan options on the menu.
Uh-oh...: The original popcorn bacon (cubes of bacon, battered and fried) is no longer on the menu. Park hinted that they might reappear as an off-menu item in the near future.
Service: Very friendly. Valet parking is available Tuesday through Saturday.
What are you drinking? La Luca Proseco.
ROOTS at Black Hogg, 2852 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, (323) 953-2820, blackhogg.com