* This post is written by Klarisse Gepilano, one of the Korea Blog’s Worldwide Korea Bloggers.
I was first able to eat from School Food when I went to Korea. I had written about it before as one of the restaurants I visited during our afternoon in Garosugil. School Food Blooming Roll, or School Food Blooming Mari in Korean, is a light food restaurant chain in Seoul. I was very glad to hear that they actually have a branch in Los Angeles and I was very excited to go and try them out this time!
The first thing I noticed was the very distinct and cute decor. The branches in Korea were much more traditional, though they were still contemporary in their own way (the one I visited even had a wall with Nirvana lyrics). This outpost in Koreatown looked very young and hip, the walls were clean and white while some walls had a pink backlit School Food logo and one had continuous projections of K-pop music videos (I think this is only during night time, where sunlight wouldn’t be in the way).
The name “School Food” may have come from the menu’s casual fare–this is food most students would like to eat after school, lunches that invite people to come and talk, food that isn’t so complicated as to interfere with the conversation. When we arrived, there were several people waiting to be seated. The place was packed for a Thursday night! We waited for several minutes outside (there is no waiting area indoors, though they provided a bench for people to sit on while waiting). Once we were inside, the waiters were polite albeit very busy from all the business.
One look at the menu and you’ll notice how almost all the dishes have a cheesy version, which I appreciated, because I love cheese. We ordered three dishes:
Because there was only the two of us, we couldn’t sample all of the curiouser dishes. They had dishes like carbonara dukbokki and squid ink kimbap. From those that we did order, I especially liked the kimchi risotto with cheese–very tasty! And was also glad that the kimchi risotto did not taste like they shared the sauce with the dukbokki (I have had that unfortunate experience in a different restaurant before).
A complete experience would be having some of the dishes with a plate of their famous rolls. The spam kimbap with their special sauce tasted very nice, though we did hope there was more of the sauce because it was wonderful! Overall, with a price range of around $6 to $12, School Food is a great place to take friends and coworkers for a post-nightcap or a leisurely afternoon. The restaurant itself is part of MaDang Courtyard, a mini-mall gem in the middle of Koreatown where you can have Korean barbecue (at MaDang Restaurant, which has delicious food as well), get a haircut, or even watch some Korean movies being shown (with subtitles!) at CGV Cinemas! The Courtyard even has a Tom N Tom’s branch, despite the proximity of a bigger Western and Wilshire branch, for coffee lovers.
You can visit School Food’s website here (though in Korean only): http://www.schoolfood.co.kr/ or call them at (213) 380-3663 for more information.
School Food Blooming Roll is on the 3rd floor or Ma Dang Courtyard, 621 Western Ave., Koreatown, Los Angeles, CA.