Katianna and John Hong are both accomplished chefs who have tackled an ambitious project in the middle of the pandemic. Yangban refers to a Korean period of aristocracy during the Joseon dynasty when the wealthy maintained the standards for society. Naming their venture Yangban Society is tongue-in-cheek, explains LA Times restaurant critic Bill Addison, and sets the tone for an egalitarian approach to dining.
With a pedigree that includes Melisse and the Restaurant at Meadowbrook, Katianna and John grew up Korean American with wildly different backgrounds. Katianna was adopted into a family with a German-Jewish and Irish Catholic heritage. John grew up in suburban Chicago. Their cooking is an exploration of heritage, surrounded by white culture and returning to Korea.
With some dishes reminiscent of banchan, Addison recommends the egg salad, a smoked trout schmear, galbi short ribs, twice-dipped chicken wings, biscuits and curry gravy. He calls Yangban society “smart, interesting food,” and suggests saving room for the soft serve made with buffalo milk out of Petaluma.