At first glance, Baroo is an unlikely candidate to appear on lists of America's top restaurants. There's no sign; it's in a Hollywood strip mall next to a 7-Eleven; and the tiny postindustrial-minimalist dining room has only counter service and seats for barely 20 souls on stools around plain wooden tables. But what makes it great is the ultra-inventive Korean-inspired fusion cooking.
The menu changes daily, but perennial favorites include fresh-made pasta with celeriac, and a ragu that matches oxtail with gremolata, kraut powder and three-year-aged Parmigiano Reggiano. Even humble fried rice gets zjooshed up with pineapple, koji powder, purple potato chips and a sous-vide egg.
It's heaven for food nerds, who love the focus on experimentation and fermentation and there's plenty for the rest of us to appreciate too, thanks to clever flavor combos and a friendly vibe that's so laid-back it's practically horizontal.