Kenji started out as two trucks, selling Korean-style Mexican fast food on the street, just like in LA or New York. It might sound like an odd mix of cuisines, but it developed pretty organically in the USA, where immigrant populations from both nations are large. Born from an on-the-go concept, it’s no wonder that Kenji’s first indoor location is modest and playful, rather than aiming for fine dining. But somehow, the fun never really happens. For example, we’d love to knock back a few of their lychee mojito smoothies (B175) but show up at 9pm and Kenji’s already closed. And one-page laminated fast-food menus are incredibly convenient but why is this one introduced by a slightly long-winded (but super classy) gentleman in a blazer? And finally, kudos to shiny black couches upholstered in leather, but there are three other restaurants sharing the same open space—and let’s not forget you’re in a mall—so who would want to chill out here anyway? Stumbling out of RCA at 2am, we’d be willing to forgive Kenji’s underwhelming food but this odd choice of location really doesn’t encourage leniency. Made to eat like in a proper restaurant, you’re all the more aware of the fact that you’re really chowing down on fast food. And as with much of fast food, there’s an overall saltiness, a satisfying mix of textures, but also an overall sameness and fattiness that quickly gets old. Every dish seems to get generous shavings of white and red cabbage, and there’s often fried rice, such as with the bimbimbap (B140) or burritos (B190 as a set). Alternatively, remove the rice and throw in gooey, greasy cheese and you get the quesadilla (B120). Whatever the combination, it’s never as exciting as the sum of its parts makes it out to be. Maybe it’s the fact that they use wheat flour, not corn, for the wraps. Or the fact that we’ll take heaps of cilantro, lime and avocado over cabbage any day. Too bad—as a quirky standalone in a world dominated by Japanese chain restaurants, Kenji is the kind of place we’d have liked to visit regularly. As it stands, that’s probably not going to happen.