I'm a sucker for pork buns. Every time I visit NYC, I make it a point to go to Momofuku for Chang's pork belly buns (and also the ridiculous duck). So when I heard that SF transplant opened up shop in trendy Arts District LA, we had to try it out.
The Chairman has a very basic menu - which I very much appreciate. 4 choice of protein - pork belly, cola pork, spicy chicken, and miso cured tofu. You then get to choose how you want your protein - steamed or baked bun (like a brioche bun), rice bowl, or cold noodle salad. Obviously, I went for the steam buns and some fries.
First up - the Spicy Chicken Steamed Bun. This is the one with the pickled carrots piled into the sandwich giving it some good acidity. The chicken was tasty, but nothing about it was spicy in any way. If you're going to call something spicy chicken, make it spicy chicken. Don't play with my emotions. The bun was exactly what you'd expect. Nothing about this steamed bun blew my mind though.
DishRanker Steamed Chicken Bun Score: +1
Next up was the Pork Belly Steamed Bun - the house speciality. The pork belly was succulent and rich, while the pickled daikon gave the whole thing a good crunch. But again though, I really felt like it was all missing something - some kind of flavor bomb that would smack you in the head with each bite. This had none of that. They could really get crazy with the flavors, but I feel like they purposely made it bland to not offend anyone.
DishRanker Pork Belly Steamed Bun Score: +1
After we had a taste of the buns, we moved on to the fries, and honestly, they were the best part of our meal. Thick cut Kennebec fries - like the ones you find at Ox & Son - accompanied by ketchup, sriracha, honey mustard, and 1000 island. Can it get any better?
DishRanker Fries Score: +3
If you find yourself in Arts District, I would not say that this is a go-to place. If you live/work in the neighborhood, and like steamed buns, you have a place now. Other than that, just go for the fries.