Not many chefs would even attempt an edible study of kohlrabi, the root vegetable that’s a crunchy, fibrous cousin to cabbage. Thankfully, Chad Valencia is just that ambitious at LASA, the modern Filipino pop-up that he and brother Chase run on weekends at Unit 120 in Far East Plaza, aka ground zero for Chinatown 2.0.
Lasa translates from Tagalog as “flavor” and the descriptor is frequently in evidence during their four-course, $45 dinner menu, which runs Friday-Sunday and changes monthly. The Valencia family hails from Papanga, a Filipino province about two hours north of Manila with strong Spanish influence, none of which factored into my favorite course: Dalawa.
Their second course was a great representation of spring ingredients that involved a steamed and seared kohlrabi cake served on a bed of blanched spring onion, kohlrabi tops and kale cooked in coconut milk. Crunchy raw shaved kohlrabi discs completed the plate. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a more complete picture of kohlrabi in L.A.