First, let’s get this out of the way: “Maitreya” is the fifth coming of Buddha. Maitreya in Ktown is a Korean fusion restaurant. Horrible name? Not so fast. “Maitreya” is Sanskrit for “friendly”, “benevolent”. A friendly and benevolent Korean restaurant? Why not.
Second, Koreans are almost as good as ripping off each other as the Chinese and Vietnamese. Almost. Kogi came, and then there was Calbi, BOOL, and Bap Bul (essentially the same as BOOL! Egads). The Chinese are freakin’ shameless: Boba Truck? No, MIGHTY Boba Truck. And the Vietnamese… Well, they like to open up 4 exact pho restaurants on 2 kitty corners. After a little civil war, a 4 country pho battle scares them not.
Maitreya decided to be “inspired” by Kogi’s menu and put K-fusion into a B&M operation inside LA’s very own City Center. Spicy Korean wings? Check. 2 kinds fusion tacos? Check. Cajun fries, calamari, quesadillas, check, check, tripled checked. The thing is… in that vicinity, there’s nothing “nice”. Gaam is inedible, one can only take so much AYCE from YSHR, and sometimes, you just don’t want another bowl of yook geh jiang from the omma jip on every corner. (Yes, I’m convinced every corner restaurant in Ktown is run by a mom & pop pair). So instead of defaulting to Yard House, all the Latinos in Ktown can hit Maitreya for that M-Thurs date night — they speak perfect English here. Your wallet will thank you as well, because happy hour here, just like much of K-town, runs until 8pm, and starts up again at 10pm.
Why bother covering this place now? Maitreya is about to celebrate its third birthday. A clubby loungey restaurant in Ktown is like a 20 week preemie — the chance of survival is low. After three years, Maitreya should be able to hang out around the block a bit longer, and it must be doing something right. Just don’t expect any craft beer, or even craft food. Take it for what it is, love it for what it is.
Maitreya, a Ktown Cowboy sponsor.
3500 W 6th St # 101
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Of note: Maitreya shares a lobby with Zion Market, known for its weekend bargains. If you’re still hungry and sober after Maitreya, 99% chance there’ll be soju on sale for $1.99 at Zion. Just don’t rock the glow, cuz the ajumas will straight cut you off at the point of sales.
- « Revamped Bar And Kitchen More Enjoyable Than Ever
- » Stay off the bandwagon: Shaved Snow at Green Island, Monterey Park & Nubi, San Gabriel