K-Town in Tinseltown: Shin Shines with Plenty of Wattage

Mark Ronson at the controls.

The slow-cooked brisket could certainly be the reason why Kirsten Dunst, Mos Def, Duffy and Devendra Banhart ventured out on a chilly Monday night to the newly opened Korean BBQ restaurant Shin. But it was, inevitably, a request of superpower levels from the likes of Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas, producer Mark Ronson, DJ Steven Aoki, actor Gerard Butler, actor-DJ Danny Masterson and his fellow “That ‘70s Show” mate Laura Prepon—the worth-mentioning partners in this newest supper club on the Hollywood scene.

No doubt about it: Tinseltown meets Koreatown at Shin. They might as well put that in bright lights outside. But, then, that wouldn’t draw them out in droves. What does (besides boasting a glittering ownership) is being tucked away on an unassuming corner on Wilcox, off the beaten Sunset and Hollywood Boulevard paths–but still not so far from the safe zone of these VIPs that it might require entering the foreign territory of K-Town.

Julian Casablanca, Danny Masterson and Simon Shin

To their credit, a number of them are regulars down Wilshire way. Danny and Steven are regulars at a number of Korean bbq dives, the kind that after a visit require either a double dryclean of your suit due to the clinging scent of that 1 a.m. meal, or outright burning them to ashes.

On nights when they couldn’t get themselves there, any one of this group, but particularly Danny, would ring up his schoolmate Simon Shin to come over and make his signature dishes, including tangy marinated ribs and thin squares of omelet filled with carrot.

Rocknrolla: Gerard Butler will whet your whistle now.

Behind the Shin bar Monday night, Gerard played bartender, flipping a bottle of Belvedere into a tumbler for a concoction that resembles a Sea Breeze but here at Shin is dubbed a Korean Kiss.

Danny, with that wicked moustache he’s been training, seem to pop up everywhere—at the door, at one table or another, out the swinging kitchen doors—acting very much like the preoccupied owner he was that night.

Steve and Julian held court at their respective tables, really long rows with friends on either side, gleefully stuffing themselves. As Andy turned over delicate slices of spare rib meat on a downward-smoke-sucking tabletop grill, Simon came by the table and patiently answered our barrage of questions.
Is this his first restaurant? Yes. After two years in the tech world, he decided he’d finally give in to the hammering requests by Danny, Steven and other friends to do what he loves best. He spent much of his youth helping his mother out in her restaurants, which happen to be in K-Town, so he’s no virgin to the demands of running such a place.
What was this place before? Snoop Dogg’s recording studio. Andy joked about the challenge in scraping the layers of resin off the walls. “You’re one of the only people who get that!” laughed Simon.
The soft, sweet pink radish was translucent it was so thin, and wrapped around the rare sliver of beef, it was heaven. “I wanted the food to be authentic,” Simon said. “And really wanted it to be about crisp, fresh vegetables, light sauces.” “And nothing too crazy?” chimed in Andy. He always looks for the strangest entries on a menu. No tripe here. Or lingering reminders on our clothes once we left the place.
We did just that not long after our chocolate desert and Johnny Walker chasers, when the tables were removed and the doors flung open for many more of their fab pals to help them celebrate.

Dim Mak's Michael, DJ Steven Aoki and a pal.
Alana, Yasi and Alana

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