Mendo fans who have been dining at our restaurants for a while are most likely familiar with Chef Judy Han. Before leaving the company in 2014 to start a restaurant of her own, she steered the culinary ship for seven years as Mendo grew and opened new locations throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties, making sure that serving exceptional food was always our primary objective as we scaled up. Chef Judy always stayed on the culinary vanguard, finding inspiration through her fine dining background and thoughtfully creating new flavors, textures, and unexpected combinations that formed our menu into what it is today.
We will be forever grateful for Chef Judy’s contributions to the Mendo menu, and now that she has opened her own restaurant we’re excited that we can once again enjoy her culinary creations in a whole new format. The restaurant is called Eko Eats, and it is located in Downtown LA at 630 West 6th Street between Hope and Grand just around the corner from the Central Library and a couple short blocks from the 7th Street/Metro Center Metro stop.
The menu reflects Chef Judy’s own spin on traditional Korean food, which she grew up with and found renewed inspiration for during an extended tour through South Korea that she took with her family after she left Mendocino Farms and before she opened Eko Eats. With a commitment to serving nourishing, real food and supporting small, local suppliers, Judy has thoughtfully incorporated tons of options for guests with dietary restrictions, so omnivores, vegans, and gluten-free diners alike can find plenty to enjoy.
Guests can find bibimbap on the menu, of course — Judy’s is made with organic Koda Farms steamed rice topped with 10 house-prepared vegetables, seasoned crispy seaweed, sesame seeds, and a side of kochujang (Korean pepper paste). Add on a pasture-raised egg or some of Judy’s addictive Korean Fried Chicken, which has a ridiculously satisfyingly crunchy fried batter and the perfect sticky, spicy, sweet glaze. You’d think such outrageous flavor and texture would be reserved for meat-eaters only, but no — vegans must try the organic Korean Fried Tofu, which is cooked in its own dedicated fryer to eliminate any possibility of cross-contamination.
Judy also serves up her own version of Chicken Jook, a traditional Korean comfort food, but gives it a foodie spin by using her own housemade bone broth and organic rice to make the porridge and garnishing it with tamari-glazed free range chicken from Gone Straw Farms, sauteed Asian greens, sambal, and scallions. Bonus: it’s gluten-free. Beef lovers can enjoy the Chosun Beef Bowl, made with Niman Ranch kalbi marinated beef patties served over Koda Farms organic rice with sauteed kale, shiitake mushrooms, housemade sambal and scallions. Eko Eats also offers great catering options! Check out the full menu here!
The whole Mendocino Farms Base Camp team trekked down to Eko Eats a few weeks ago, and every plate was greedily scraped clean. We highly recommend you check it out for yourself. Say “hi” to Chef Judy for us while you’re there!
These folks are feeling the Eko Eats love, too: