Koreatown, a neighborhood of Los Angeles, is one of my favorite locations for food. There are many hidden gems tucked away in strip malls—so tucked away, if you don’t keep your eyes open, you could miss them. However, La Vue—a newer spot on Wilshire that I just discovered—is not one of those places. The space is gigantic, much larger than most restaurants in K-town, and I didn’t know why until I stepped inside.

Not only is La Vue a restaurant serving lunch and dinner, but at night, it becomes a karaoke bar with its own private rooms… but more on that after the food!

La Vue
3855 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010
http://cafelavuela.com

La Vue, led by Chef Alex Kim, is an eclectic mix of Italian and French cuisine; some of the dishes incorporate Asian flavors. The menu is heavy on shared plates, seafood and pasta. Right when you walk in from the parking lot, you enter their modern designed patio, featuring lots of plush furniture. It’s comfy but classy at the same time.

I had the pleasure of breaking bread with pals horror film composer Eric Elick and filmmaker/scream queen Jessica Cameron. We realized, by default, we had to order the Sweet Pumpkin Salad. It’s October and since my guests are in the horror scene, we can’t skip eating an iconic holiday symbol.

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If you’ve got a sweet tooth, this salad is right up your alley. The pumpkin is topped with a light green salad with a balsamic dressing, then drizzled in maple syrup and served with pecans. It managed to remind me of eating both a pumpkin pie and fresh salad in one bite.

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We also shared the Grilled Vegetable Medley Caprese, which came on this fun spinning plate.  The veggies are hot off the grill, so they maintain a crunch when they arrive to the table. Like any caprese salad, there’s burrata cheese, fresh basil and tomatoes — and for a kick, grilled garlic.

I’m a tough critic when it comes to carbonara pastas because I love them so much… so when I saw Kimchi Carbonara on their menu, I was a tad skeptical. Why mess with a perfect recipe?

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I was so wrong. La Vue’s Kimchi Carbonara is my new favorite pasta dish in K-town. The pickled kimchi flavors mix beautifully with the eggy, cheesy sauce. Instead of chopped bacon, it comes as a full slice, with a Parmesan crisp as garnish. We killed this dish so quick, we probably should’ve ordered another. The briny kick from the kimchi with the creamy sauce couldn’t last long on our table.

img_3448Mentaiko Pasta, a popular dish in Japan, isn’t commonly found in LA (outside a handful of places), so I was very excited to try it—especially since I was told it’s Chef Kim’s signature dish. I recommend this dish for lovers of seafood. The mentaiko sauce is prepared by seasoning and brining pollock roe, which break apart to form the light pink sauce. Usually either olive oil or butter is blended with the roe, creating a perfect seafood sauce.

Chef Kim gives the sauce a hint of spice from jalapeño, then it’s poured over pasta, garnished with nori, bonito flakes, Parmesan cheese and served with a halved shrimp. Each bite is creamy, savory and oceanic. Of course the Kimchi Carbonara was the favorite but this is a very close second.

img_3262After the carb-load, it was time to get our sweet tooth on. The Black Tea Panna Cotta comes in a deep black bowl ( a trend I’ve seen popping up), which makes it a little trickier to share, but the decadent dessert makes up for it. The black tea flavor is very present in the creamy panna cotta, and is lightly dark and herbal. Then it’s topped with thin, wafer-like cookies, matcha crisps and a sea salt chantilly cream on top.

img_3451The Pavlova at La Vue was topped with berries as well as mango and raspberry sorbetto. This was the table’s favorite dessert. Nothing beats this classic meringue dish topped with icy, fruity sorbettos. This was the perfect way to wrap-up the evening. Now it was time to explore the karaoke rooms.

 

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Like any traditional K-Town spot, the karaoke rooms are private. Located upstairs, the rooms here hold 20 – 30 people and are priced at $60 per hour. There is a special tapas menu for the karaoke rooms, which features lots of sharables like Crab Tartar, Bruschetta and Tuna Poke. There are also more filling dishes like Herb Grilled Beef Sticks, Baby Back Ribs and Chicken Wings.

The rooms have bottle service and I must say, the prices are very reasonable compared to other bottle service clubs in Los Angeles. I don’t want to list the prices, but trust me, this beats any nightclub in Hollywood. Also, the songs and lyrics are updated weekly, so you can sing off key to many different tunes.

They also have these adorable light up tambourines. As you can see here, Jessica couldn’t get enough.

My idea of a perfect night in K-Town with friends would be dinner at La Vue, then transfer to one of their private karaoke rooms. This Girl on Food will be back for more.

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