Nestled in one of the less forgiving stretches of Downtown LA west of Main Street, where oil patches, boomboxes and swarms of flies are among the attractions du jour, Hock + Hoof is a welcome respite from the throes of the Historic Core.
Outfitted with lighting you’d find at a rooftop party in the Arts District, owners Kat Hu and Justin Yi have deftly crafted a welcoming environment in spite of the metal chairs and stools (surprisingly comfortable) peppered throughout the establishment. A thoughtful soju cocktail list may be worthy of exploration for one round of drinks, but the restaurant’s wine selection, especially its reds, balance the rich, protein-heavy dishes that occupy the majority of its dinner menu. You’ll want to share the not-so-small plates coming out of Hu’s kitchen with the cod tempura and tripe + tendon (the fry bread may be the most delicious part of the dish) among the standouts.
But perhaps Hock + Hoof’s strongest offering is its dedication to exemplary service. From a fun yet polished waiter who provided helpful guidance in considering the best wine pairing for the meal ahead to a few minutes chatting with Hu about her favorite dishes on the menu, there was an unmistakable warmth exhibited by a staff still trying to gain a semblance of the restaurant’s day-to-day grind. Pleasantly surprising, frankly, for DTLA where service can be unmemorable beyond the rare Ryan Ibsens (Bestia and Bavel) and Andrea Borgens (barcito) who regularly go above and beyond.
There’s dedicated space for what may one day lead to al fresco dining, but why miss out on the guttural lyricisms of peak ODB that seem to speak to Hock + Hoof’s rising profile on Spring Street?
Ghetto superstar, that is what you are.
Hock + Hoof | 517 S. Spring St. | Los Angeles, CA 90013