A restaurant I loved had been closed for three months for a renovation and it finally revealed itself. I saw the pictures online and could see just how much it had changed. It wasn’t the same restaurant that I met almost a year ago. Gone were the days of the white walls accented with yellow trim with animal stencils standing in a line. Instead, those walls were now dark with deep colored paintings along them. It was a 180 degree change from what I recall Status Kuo to be, but I liked it. It was as if the restaurant finally came into itself and transformed, almost going from Jean Grey into the Phoenix. No longer needing to fit into some idea of what it should be, Status Kuo now re-introduced itself and it was bigger, darker, and sultry whether you like it or not.
I was back at the restaurant to check out both the aforementioned redesign and the revamped menu. Upon walking in I immediately liked what I saw. Considering itself to be like an Izakaya pub, the restaurant has captured the late night vibe with a bit more of an intimate appeal than a pub. Songs from Roky Erickson, Gang of Four, and Michael Jackson played throughout the speakers. I noticed, “The Way You Make Me Feel” repeat about four times and couldn’t help but wonder if it would be an indication of how I would later feel about the food. A girl can hope. Sitting with a menu in hand, the waitress Heavenee came over to walk me through it. She pointed out a few of her favorites with such great description that I ended up ordering exactly what she suggested. If the menu tasted as great as the restaurant looked, I could tell I would end up spending a lot of money here.
Turns out, it did! I ended up getting a cocktail and three plates that won me over so well that I considered giving Status Kuo every dollar to my name and future paycheck. Let me explain.
The first reason I wanted to give Status Kuo all my money was thanks in part to a simple drink. I asked the general manager, Aaron, to suggest a cocktail that best reflected the restaurant and the bartender, Samuel, brought The Town Menace ($14). The dual colored drink was made of pisco brandy, aquavit, honeydew, and celery. A few sips showed that that the drink was stronger at the bottom with a beautiful relaxing taste at the top. I didn’t want to stir it up to blend the two as the separation had to be more delicious in its parts. It’s the one time when I will say I support segregation. Too far? Maybe, but in this case even Martin Luther King Jr. would understand. “Ok, Danielle you’ve gone too far!” Taste it for yourself and you’ll agree too.
As the drink began to disappear in the glass, the first plate arrived; it was the Spanish Octopus ($18). This would quickly become the second reason why I would direct deposit my paycheck to Status Kuo. From this plate I realize that octopus should always be charred, no exception. Ever. The octopus came on top of an arrangement of fried eggplant and pee wee potatoes and was paired with an aji verde sauce. To make the dish one you will immediately enjoy, the octopus is braised in red wine for 90 minutes and then charred. The outside of the octopus was crispy with a scorched texture, while underneath those layers was a beautiful flavor that your taste buds can’t resist.
Normally a rubbery and chewy consistency wouldn’t be ideal, however somehow Chef Ticiana made it incredibly faultless and welcome. Alongside the octopus, the Peruvian green chili aji verde sauce was a beautiful level of spicy. It doesn’t come off strong, but you also shouldn’t undervalue it either. It’s a great cover on the octopus that won’t overpower it or detract from the overall flavor of the dish. Even though this is a small plate it could go for a great meal if you’re not looking for anything heavy or sharing. I highly suggest that you don’t share this dish.
The third reason would have to be the Roasted Cauliflower ($10). I was actually excited by the simplicity of this dish’s description: cauliflower, eggplant, schwarma butter, and parsley. When the plate arrived, it was a bit more than that. Almost half of a cauliflower sat on top of an eggplant puree with schwarma butter across the plate, scattered cherry raisins, and cornflower petals adding a gentle touch of color. It was such a pretty dish to see because cutting into the cauliflower was like watching a flower bloom. Even though the restaurant is dark, your eyes will adjust as best as possible to see the gorgeousness of it. The cauliflower itself is cooked so nicely that it picks up the eggplant as if it’s a silky gloss. The eggplant in turn is the smoothest concoction that Jesus Christ must have whispered it into Chef Ticiana’s ear. Eating this dish as a proclaimed carnivore made me feel like I put my fellow tribe to shame. It was hard to admit it, but I adored it! How was it winning me over so hard after just one bite? I decided to finish it in hopes of finding an answer and the only thing I was left with was a clean plate.
I asked Heavenee to surprise me with her favorite item from the “Land & Sea” section of the menu and she brought out the Tai Snapper ($24). The assembly of snapper with couscous, bell peppers, dende, coconut, lime, and cilantro would be the best and final reason I would give Status Kuo all my money. First, the couscous melts the moment it hits your tongue. You may think nothing of it initially. You simply put it on your fork and send it to your mouth, but the moment it hits your tongue you’ll ask yourself, “Where did it go?” The small bouncy grains are a great compliment to the snapper. The snapper itself isn’t bursting left and right with flavor, but instead its carried evenly throughout. Out of all the supporting ingredients, the lime is the strongest player on the fish with bits of the dende coming through slowly afterwards. From start to finish this plate is exceptional.
I love the new look and menu of Status Kuo. Thanks to the redesign and flawless menu, the restaurant can take all my money. It may be easier if I direct deposit my paycheck into their business account and they give me the equivalent in food. While we’re at it, they can take all my gasoline because I’m basically giving them that too. There you have it, the restaurant can take my paycheck and my gasoline in exchange for food and I wouldn’t be mad at all. I’d walk out of Status Kuo feeling full waiting for a friend to graciously pick me up and I wouldn’t even be mad. As a matter of fact, I should try and get that set up by the time this sentence closes with a question mark.
Address: 3809 Grand View Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066
Phone: (310) 574-7610
Hours: Daily – 5:00pm to Midnight, (bar is open until 2:00am on Friday and Saturday)
Social: Website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Food tastes great
- Friendly staff
- Cool decor
- Street parking only