Cue up the Randy Newman, as chef Taeyoung "T.K." Kim, who has worked with Roy Yamuguchi, Akira Hirose, and some of Nobu's team in the past, is planning just the sort of restaurant that makes us love L.A.: clever, ambitious cuisine in the casual environs of a liquor store. Pending proper permit approval, T.K. hopes to open The Standing Room, what he calls "my spin on a classic deli," next month in a space attached to Redondo's Catalina Liquor and Deli. The restaurant will have no seating, but will feature a walk-up, street-side window for the changing menu of hot and cold sandwiches and Asian-accented lunch plates, using seasonal ingredients and carefully selected, high-quality meats. And what's in store to eat here?
Kim, a California native whose family is from Hawaii, plans pork belly loco moco, a 48-hour braised short-rib sandwich with Korean-style au jus on a brioche bun, griddled cheese with tomato marmalade, and chili-seasoned fries, planning to use pan-drippings from braising as a gravy. In what he calls a nod to Rick Bayless' carnitas, Kim will also prepare pork belly sous vide that is finished in a fryer for both a lunch plate and a sandwich.
Kim tells Grub Street he's taking the food stand concept upscale, but affordable, as part of a test project for a brick-and-mortar concept that will be a wine room paired with dishes and tapas, mentioning Covell as the sort of vibe he envisions, with hopes of opening such a place in the following year or so. He shouts out local branches of Katusya and Sashi among the places he admires in the South Bay, but like many (including the reader who first put us on TK's trail) recognizes that the region could use some more of the kinds of places that we sometimes "take for granted" in Hollywood and Downtown. Sous vide carnitas and pork belly loco moco certainly do sound like something these coastal cities, if not many more neighborhoods around here, are currently lacking.
Look for The Standing Room to open adjoining Catalina Liquor and Deli in early 2011.
The Standing Room, 144 North Catalina Ave. Redondo Beach.