5 Dishes That Inspired Eric Park of Black Hogg

The Silver Lake restaurant’s new concept hits close to home

Eric Park’s decision to revamp Black Hogg may have come as a surprise to his followers who pined for popcorn bacon. The saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” especially when it applies to things as fickle as restaurants. But a recurring question prompted Park to take the restaurant in a different direction, which is now branded as Roots. The change was triggered, simply enough, by a bone marrow corn dish. “People kept asking me about it, and I’d tell them it was a nod to the Mexican street corn that I used to eat as a kid, with mayo and chile powder,” says Park. It was an ‘a-ha’ moment for someone who rarely considered the stories behind his food. “I had this new desire to cook stuff I grew up eating, things that would bring back the memory of pungent fried mackerel and fermented bean paste that my grandmother used to make,” says Park. “At first I resisted the idea of doing fusion Korean food. David Chang and Roy Choi had that on lockdown. But it dawned upon me that I wanted to cook more comforting foods.” We sat down with Park–whose newest Picture Book companion menu is a highly-personal document, replete with origin tales–and had him trace the stories behind his menu.

El Taurino’s Salsa Roja
“Mexican food is my all time favorite, and it influences most of my dishes when it comes to acid or spice. I make a carne asada style short rib steak with a red sauce that’s my best rendition of El Taurino’s–my favorite taco place in Los Angeles. I love the acid and the fattiness when you order an asada from there. Our steak has those same flavor profiles, and we throw some radishes on top too.”

The Prince’s Fried Chicken
“Our fried chicken was totally inspired by an old-school Korean pub called The Prince. There they serve a whole chicken, fried twice. My version is first confit in chicken fat, and it comes with daikon cubes, pickles, chile honey. I make sure to serve it with a can of OB Beer. It’s totally Korean, and that’s the best way to eat this chicken.”

Kobawoo’s Bo Ssam
“They serve boiled pork belly, but we char ours on the grill. It’s like a burnt end. It originated as a staff meal, when we’d use the scraps from the pork belly for tacos.:

Newport Seafood’s Salt and Pepper Squid
“I’d always order salt and pepper squid from Chinese restaurants like Newport Seafood. It’s seasoned with Szechuan pepper corns, black pepper, salt, sauteed chiles, garlic, and scallions. The pepper corns are so aromatic and savory.  I haven’t seen anyone prepare a whole fish like that, so I decided to offer a whole Mediterranean Sea Bream. The skin is super crispy, its interior moist. I throw in some Chinese red vinegar too.”

Halal Guys’ Lamb and Rice
“I lived in New York and used to hit this up all the time, 53rd and 6th. Instead of lamb gyro we use slow roasted lamb belly which we finish on the plancha to get an extra crispy exterior. It sits atop basmati rice with garlic cream sauce, and I make a slaw with harissa for an added kick.”