HLAY (because nobody has the time to say its full name) might be the ultimate neighborhood restaurant. Located on a corner in the middle of Koreatown, it’s intimate, original, and polished, with creative cocktails and a menu that speaks to the tastes of Los Angeles. Chef-partner Jonathan Whitener’s global influences—rau ram, Nashville hot spice, bagna cauda, and sour plum powder—come across as more spontaneous than helter-skelter. Slices of hiramasa yellowtail and pickled daikon are served on top of onion soubise and dressed with wakame vinaigrette, charred onion powder, and serrano chile emulsion. Beef tartare hits high notes with red chiles and pickled ramps, served with turnips and crunchy cress. Veal sweetbreads, whole duck, and baby octopus say “this is a serious restaurant,” but then there’s bubble gum ice cream for dessert and a seasonal pie available at the bar every day. —B.H.