There’s a bit of confusion about the relatively new downtown eatery Le Ka. Some people think it’s called Leka, others Ka Le, and perhaps a few truly misguided souls believe it’s something named Kale. Let the record show that the restaurant is named Le Ka. The story — as I remember it after a few glasses of wine — is that “Ka” means “family” in Chinese. Furthermore, “Ka” is the surname of the owners. Meanwhile, “Le,” as you may know, means “The” in French, and so the restaurant name literally means The Family… in Sino-Franco language fusion.
Sino-Fanco fusion is also at the heart of several of Le Ka’s dishes, which I recently enjoyed as part of a media-comped dinner. Located in Downtown LA (where everything cool is these days), Le Ka boasts a big, glassy space and a hearty menu full of some definite hits (and a few near misses). Check out pics of the food after the jump…
Le Ka from the outside. There’s not always a lady sitting at a table at the entrance, but ’tis Christmas party season, and there was a roaring one inside on the expansive patio.
The space is tall, glassy, and impressively designed. Very urbane — closer to something one might find in NYC, not LA.
A cozy nook lit in warm, dim hues is a perfect date section for when you’re trying to GET IT AWN.
Fire pits abound.
A view from the patio looking in.
Oysters on the half shell. These ain’t no raw oysters though. They’ve been poached in butter and are served warm.
I ultimately prefer my oysters either cold and raw or hot and fried, but still, this offering was pretty tasty. That’s probably thanks to the puddle of butter that comes with each shell.
Next is an option from the charcuterie menu: duck rillettes. Rich and ducky — I approved.
It should be noted that the fresh bread served with this dish was delicious.
Here’s an odd pairing: uni with braised oxtail and congee. The oxtail and congee are wonderfully packed with flavor — almost to the detriment of the delicate sea urchin, which gets lost in the fray. That being said, the uni does inject the dish with a lovely seaside aroma. Bottom line: this dish surprisingly works.
Grilled octopus with a kimchi vinaigrette. Overall a good dish, but two notes: we definitely needed more of the awesome kimchi vinaigrette, and some of the octopus, while flavorful, was unfortunately rubbery (other pieces, however, were fine).
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, this was my favorite dish of the night: merguez sausage with mechouia and harissa. Just wonderful. Bold flavors, great texture: it gets an enthusiastic YUMMMBERS.
Suggestive macro shot!
Slow-cooked boneless Wagyu beef short rib. The kitchen was right on the money with this tender dish. Melt in your mouth, etc. The parsnip puree and juniper berry red wine sauce also deserve mention too. I only wish there had been more.
If you think about it, this plate sort of looks like a woman with big sunglasses smiling.
Mussels in a red curry broth. Possibly the weakest dish of the bunch. Nice flavor, but nothing to write home about. Plus, the mussels were tiny.
With so many pizzas floating around the restaurant, we had to follow suit with one of our own. This one with caramelized onions, fontina cheese, wild mushrooms, and pancetta was a definite success. DEFINITE.
An action shot to show off the melty cheese.
For dessert, a humble bread pudding with butterscotch sauce.
Verdict: Definitely a solid contribution to the DTLA scene. Worth checking out, especially for happy hour and after work dinner. Don’t miss the merguez sausage, mushroom pizza, or Wagyu short rib.
800 West 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017