Next time you drive past one of Los Angeles’s many, often tumbledown, strip malls, look closely. Nestled between the laundromat and the questionable massage parlor might be one of the city’s best restaurants. Petit Trois, Sushi Gen, Jitlada…all in strip malls. Baroo is no different, and for chef Kwang Uh—a Noma alum—the choice of location is deliberate. Affordable rent means more research trips abroad for fresh ideas and new ingredients. The dishes at Baroo are hard to describe: experimental, deeply savory, and Asian-inflected. Pickles take center stage to the point that the only decoration in the otherwise sparse space is jar upon jar of Uh’s fermentation projects. Surrender and roll with the chef’s recommendations, although we’re partial to the Amira basmati rice, coated in a ton of herbs, coconut, dried shrimp, and pickled things. Most of the menu is vegan, it’s all under fifteen dollars, and the house-made kombucha is essential.

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