Status Kuo isn’t just a good pun, it’s also a good restaurant.
From the minds of Executive Chef and owner David Kuo, his wife, Maki, and Chef de Cuisine Keith Silverton (Messhall, La Brea Bakery), Status Kuo is a neighborhood joint serving up solid dishes with a focus on rotisserie.
Located just off Venice Boulevard on a trendy stretch in Mar Vista, Status Kuo is designed for no-fuss dining and takeout with flavorful and often healthy meals. Some dishes include Asian elements, reflecting Kuo’s heritage.
The rotisserie chicken is perfectly cooked with herbs and nicely rendered skin while still maintaining its juiciness inside. Served with a salad of mixed greens, fruit (this time it was persimmon) and edible flowers, this is a healthy and tasty dish. And at $14 for half a chicken that can feed two, this is a deal.
Kicking things up a notch is the whole roasted branzino with lemon, fried capers and rayu (Japanese red chili paste). At $28, this dish is a splurge for this menu, but it’s well worth the higher price tag.
The most interesting dish I tried was the Taiwanese Sunday Gravy, Kuo’s modern interpretation of classic Taiwanese flavors. I was expecting long, Chinese-style noodles, but what came to the table was more of an Italian pasta dish flavored with braised pork, pork belly and pickled mustard greens. I’m familiar with Taiwanese food and had just returned from a trip to Taiwan, so I was curious to taste Kuo’s version. While it was kind of strange to have these flavors coupled with short, European-style pasta, I enjoyed the dish. Though I did wonder where the “gravy” was.
Status Kuo is also making its own sodas and desserts, both admirable. While the hibiscus and blood orange soda was just OK for me, the baked apple hand pie — a healthier version of McDonald’s famous pies — was top-notch, as was the house-made frozen custard that accompanied it.
Kuo has plans for whole roasted suckling pigs and to hold roasts at the nearby Mar Vista Farmers Market on Sundays. After failing to open a restaurant in Culver City last year after investors pulled out at the 11th hour, Kuo hopes Status Kuo will become a mainstay for the Mar Vista neighborhood.
“I wanted to put my name on the restaurant as a guarantee,” Kuo said. “You know who is behind the restaurant and who will be in the kitchen cooking for you. The menu is designed around food I would serve my family.”
Note: This meal was hosted.