Not the quietest joint in DTLA, but it does get the juices flowing for that delectable food that one just can't seem to get enough of once they've started. The space isn't very large, but the slightly-industrial setting with a warm lighted interior from the plentitude of small ceiling lamps and white Christmas lights along one wall makes one feel welcome, nonetheless. I dare say, the space is almost intimate, minus the communal bar seating you may have to occupy if the tables are taken.
The booze menu sports an impressive array of Asian-inspired cocktails, which are all made with some type of soju, (distilled Korean alcohol), and also includes a wine + beer list that is sure to please any alcohol(ic) connoisseur. I absolutely loved their Sweet Pea cocktail with soju, lemon, elderflower, butterfly pea flower, and lemon bitters. It was so perfectly-balanced, I couldn't even tell there was alcohol in there.
I was also surprised when the manager, Sunny Lam- whose disposition is as warm as his name- brought me a complimentary drink called the 'Buzzcut' made with some unique ingredients of its own: Osthmanthus honey, juniper soju, lemon, & egg white. It may sound weird, but this drink was as deliciously-balanced as the first, with a slight hint of sweetness, floral notes from the dried flower petals sprinkled on top, & a decadent smoothness from that frothy head of egg whites that was about half an inch thick. My favorite part of this drink was the little honey-nut crisp they lay at the top of the glass, which they make in-house, & is so sweet, I couldn't help but dip mine in my drink & enjoy it like coffee + biscotti. Trust me, it's amazing.
For brunch, you'll have to decide between gut-busting local favorites like Fried Chicken & Pandan Egg Waffles, fried chicken sandwiches, hearty beef burgers with jalapeños aioli, duck confit plates with butter popcorn grits, fried fish fillets, burrata & fruit, and *bleh,* yes they do serve avocado toast… But with an Asian twist!
I ignored the fried chicken sandwich this time around because I just had to try their Pandan waffle version, and boy, am I glad I did! In my foodie career of eating fried chicken & waffles on, at least, a monthly basis, this may be the absolute best fried chicken & waffles dish I've ever had. The uniquely-colored Pandan bubble waffles add a sweet contrast to that juicy, savory, crispy fried chicken. And that fried egg on top is the perfect cherry on top of this crazy sundae.
Fried Chicken & Pandan Waffle
That beast of an all-beef burger is also nothing to scoff at. It comes with fried Havarti, jalapeño aioli, butter lettuce, tomatoes, & pickles with your choice of sides. Obviously, I couldn't say “no” to the waffle fries. The meat is thick & juicy, the fried Havarti cheese adds a gorgeous contrast of crispy gooeyness to the crunchiness of the lettuce & softness of the bread. The waffle fries are waffle fries, but the dipping sauce makes them “pop” all the more.
When you come, don't do what I did & wait forever at your table for them to come take your order; you order at the counter & they bring it to you. I also love their positive, yet unapologetic attitude. They make no secret about their love of meat here & have signs near the restrooms about everyone being welcome, but ask you to please leave your hipster, vegan, hairy hamsters at the door. This place gets my humble foodie nod of approval.
Hats off to you, Hock + Hoof!