Friday, May 28, 2010

Kissing: The Prince, Koreatown

When my friend Kat recently moved from our previously shared neighborhood of hipster gentrified Los Feliz to the more interestingly urban K-Town, Joan from the Hungry Hungry Hungry Hippo HHHH, her Turkish intern, and I decided to check out Kat's new neighborhood with her. The HHHH decided that we'd go to the Prince, an establishment that has been around since the 1940s, and not a lot has changed inside.

The bright red doors that you can't miss

The HHHH said it right when she described The Prince as a culture clash with its inside looking like an old school mafia style joint with a piano being played but by an Asian hipster,  an epic bar in the middle serving your everyday cosmos and yogurt soju, and Korean food pumped out of the kitchen to steak-house style booths with proper K-town style eatery bells to ring at each table (although our table seemed to be missing its bell). The crowd is directly proportional to the decor: a few Koreans, Hollywood spillover and a scattering of displaced hipsters.

As soon as we got seated in our booth, the HHHH busted out her blackberry to check out yelp reviews announcing the Tong Dark, or deep fried chicken, was the thing to get. It arrived first and we sort of poked and prodded at the sprawling de-feathered fowl not knowing how to carve it with chopsticks. Having pet chickens growing up, I usually stray from eating any, however, my dining companions expressed such adornment for the tender meat that I couldn't resist a little Zachary Farms temptation. And I admit, it was some damn good tasty and tender meat.

Getting dirty looks from my dearly departed pet chickens for this one.

Kat, who'd been to The Prince before, mentioned the kimchi rice as a solid choice.  It had a good amount of tartness, a little heat and just enough stickiness to tease my chopsticks and tongue. I was glad the plate was closest to me :)

Kimchi fried rice

My group selection was the pepper and sesame leaf Pajeon, or Korean pancake. I was expecting a huge pancake with bits of peppery sesame leaves and spicy peppers  instead of the individual chili peppers and baby leaf burritos stuffed with pork sausage and some other tidbits. It ended up being a flop due to an overdose of grease and intense pepper heat overload, leaving me gasping for a Hite beer.

Sausage stuff wrapped up with a sesame leaf and deep fried in egg batter

Our waiter brought us a complimentary kimchi pajeon, which we all preferred over our ordered pajeon. This was what Korean pancake dreams are made of: a slightly sweet batter sprawled out over kimchi bits.

Free stuff is cool

Kat started reminiscing about how good the (free) chips and salsa are at The Prince. We were not bequeathed any at arrival so we inquired with our waiter who promptly brought us a few rounds. These chips were challenger worthy of any Mexican joint. Crispy fresh chips with huge salt granules and fresh spicy salsa.

Intern from Turkey now getting really confused with Korean cuisine

Sorry fellas, one of the highlights to visiting The Prince is the ladies' bathroom. Pink and gold. I even have an Athenian vintage dress to match this.

You can find the HHHH's review here

The Prince
3198 1/2 W 7th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 389-2007


Trina said...

How have I never been in the bathroom after all these years!?!? Incredible... I've been missing out.

weezermonkey said...

The decor and food don't match at all!

Banana Wonder said...

Trina - Wha? Never been to the bano there? Next time we're drinking a lot more water!

Sharon - Hah you said it sista!

tobias cooks! said...

Looks delicious what they served you. Lots of food though!

sophia said...

What an interesting place! I wonder if it's name is based on the popular Korean drama "Coffee prince"...though the food is entirely different from what I would expect.

I love kimchi pajeon! Esp when the batter is made from split peas!

Banana Wonder said...

Tobias - Lots of food indeed! We gave our leftovers to some homeless guy outside

Sophia - I wonder about the Coffee Prince, it kind of looks like it could be a coffee shop inside (sans the bar). Hmm I like the sound of that split pea kimchi pajeon.

Exile Kiss said...

Hi Anna,

Wow, I've heard about this place for years but never went. It's... interesting. :)

I had no idea you didn't eat Chicken. :( I'm bummed only because that means you don't get to try Torihei (and their amazing Yakitori).

Banana Wonder said...

Exile Kiss - I still try chicken every now and then, but not the biggest fan. The Prince is quite interesting!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A pity we don't have that many Korean restaurants here... The decor doesn't go with the food served.



Banana Wonder said...

Rosa- that's why you need to come to LA :))))