The Wiltern Center is a 12-story, 155-foot Art Deco landmark on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue in Koreatown. Of course you have heard of the Wiltern Theater that commands that street corner but it is actually connected to a building next door called the Pellissier Building. And the Pellissier Building is now home to the magnificent Terra Cotta Restaurant.
The lighting from the bar will capture your eye from the street but when you open the doors and walk in, you will be in awe.
The interior is expansive, combining the raw space of a warehouse with twenty-foot high ceilings and exposed vents with the vintage glamour of chandeliers, large black booths and communal seating.
Terra Cotta is part of the 6th Avenue Restaurant Group, who own Korean barbecue hotspots Kang Ho Baekjeong and Quarters Korean BBQ. The owners are second-generation Korean Americans who have been trained in fine dining. At Terra Cotta, they combine their heritage with their love of Los Angeles with a global menu that represents Korean, Japanese, Latin American and other regional influences. The menu is divided into four sections – raw, anju, vegetables and mains – and all of the plates are good for sharing.
Raw (these light dishes with delicious flavor combinations are perfect to start the meal)
Toro Tataka (truffled amazu ponzu, avocado and shitake salad)
Scallop Crudo (black bean vinaigrette popcorn shoots and cucumber)
Japanese Buri Aka Hamachi (jalapeno/tarragon emulsion, crystallized soy and cherry blossom salsa)
ANJU (Anju is a general term for a Korean food consumed with alcohol)
Grilled Octopus (kochujang romesco, korean pickles and roasted garlic)
Uni Rice (hot stone rice with seaweed, cucumber, caviar and sea urchin)
Yuzu Clams (manila clams, house bacon, yuzu soy, red chiles, garlic chips)
Korean Mushroom (shitake, king oyster, eringi, maitake and enoki with shiso chimichurri)
Korean Fried Cauliflower (crispy cauliflower, cho-kochujang and sesame seeds)
Spatchcock Chicken (aji verde salsa, aji amarillo mayo, korean moo)
Galbi Toban (prime beef short rib, carmelized onions, galbi sauce)
A meal at Terra Cotta is not complete without a drink. Whether you want wine, beer or a cocktail, Michael Nemcik has crafted a diverse, eccentric yet accessible beverage program.
The international wine list, which is heavy on Italian wines, as well as German, French and Californian, includes almost two dozen wines by the glass. The white wines, which are high in acidity and minerality, are perfect for the raw dishes and the spicy flavors. The light-bodied red wines can be paired with the more substantive dishes. But the wine list is about balance and finding harmony with the global flavors.
For the house made cocktails, Nemcik makes everything from scratch. This is not the place to come if you want to find name-brand, mass-marketed products. Whether a gin & tonic, a shaken drink or a stirred drink, the spirits used are rare and exotic craft products from around the world.
There are also twenty-four craft draught beers. And, instead of a Champagne cart, Nemcik offers a soju cart. Enjoy a shot of cold soju at the start of your meal.
Makgeolli – Pastry Chef Jason Licker had turned makgeolli (Korean rice wine) into a foam and served it with banana ice cream and passionfruit cream.
Matcha Mille Feuille (salted toffee, caramelized phyllo and hazelnuts, coconut ice cream)
Creme Brulee (vanilla custard, raspberry-yuja, seasonal fruits)
Being located next to the Wiltern Theater, Terra Cotta is open late. So instead of heading to Denny’s after a concert, head to Terra Cotta.
3760 Wilshire Blvd. in Koreatown