Monthly Archives: April 2014

Chunju Han-il Kwan

3450 W 6th St
Ste 106
Los Angeles, CA 90020

 

http://www.yelp.com/biz/chunju-han-il-kwan-los-angeles

 

I’ve been craving a good budae jjigae (aka army stew aka 部隊鍋)  for a while now.  It’s basically a Korean hotpot of mish mash, sort of a hotpot that the army/military used to cook up, with whatever they had on hand.  Typically, it’s a spicy soup base filled with kimchi, rice cake, Spam, hot dog franks, ramen, vegetables, etc.  I turned to trusty Yelp for some recommendations, and lo and behold, Chunju is the highest rated budae jjigae in LA, by a landslide.

Chunju Han-il Kwan is located in a small shopping strip, just about a block from the ever popular Kang Ho-Dong Baekjeong.  The center has its own parking lot (with free valet), but since the shopping strip is mostly eating places, it might be hard to find a spot once the lot is full.  The alternative would be to park on the street.  Be sure to read all of the street parking signs, as K-town is notorious for towing illegally parked cars.

I went on a Friday night and there was about a 20-30 minute wait for a table.  The ahjummas (server ladies) will hand you a menu to peruse and order, while you wait.  Budae jjigae takes about 20-30 minutes to cook, so by the time your table is ready, so will your food.  Service and table turns are fast, as the ahjummas run a tight ship.  Now on to the food!

 

Very Korean decor inside.  The interior of the restaurant is medium-sized, but since tables turn fairly fast, the wait is bearable.

 

The side dishes – lots of choices and they were all tasty!  My favorite was the chap-chae (Korean glass noodles) and the steamed egg.  You can ask for refills.

 

The budae jjigae!  Almost every table has an order.  Portions are pretty generous, I’d say it’s enough for 3.  It’s pretty spicy, and I’m not sure if Chunju can adjust the spiciness level.  As it cooks down, it gets more condensed, which means it gets even spicier! But, oh, it was so good and just hit the spot.  : )  I didn’t see it on the menu (maybe I just missed it), but just tell the ahjummas that you want to order it.  $26

 

We also saw that many people ordered the pancakes, so asked for a recommendation.  The ahjumma recommended the potato pancake.  When it arrived, it was huge!  It was filled with scallions and really delicious.  The texture is different from the Korean-style pancakes that I’ve had before… this one was a little similar to a mochi texture, although not as sticky.  I liked it without the sauce.  $14

 

I loved the budae jjigae here. Will be back!

 

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Fishbar

3801 Highland Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

(310) 796-0200

fishbarmb.com

http://www.yelp.com/biz/fishbar-manhattan-beach-2

 

Fishbar is my favorite Manhattan Beach restaurant lately.  I’ve been here a handful of times and food has always been consistent.  Fishbar is located at the old Sharkey’s space, in north Manhattan Beach, right by El Porto.  It’s a pretty casual place, and set up like a sports bar, with lots of TVs inside!  I haven’t had any difficulty finding parking – there are plenty of metered street parking and there’s even the metered parking structure across the street.  The good news is, the meters now take credit cards!  I think it’s about $1 per hour.

Fishbar is actually a large restaurant and I haven’t had much of a wait here.  I’ve been during brunch, lunch and dinner.  It’s a “Seat Yourself” kind of policy, yet the service is prompt from the moment you sit down.  The only time I experienced some wait was when Fishbar was really busy, and so I had to flag down a waiter in order to get the check.  There’s a daily special almost every day – Shrimp Shack Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Crab Wednesday, Lobster Thursday, Saturday Brunch, etc.  Check the restaurant’s website for menu details.

Here are some recommended items:

Brunch

I was on the hunt for a brunch place in Manhattan Beach which wouldn’t have much of a wait.  From experience, most of the brunch places in MB (North End Caffe, The Kettle, etc) have at least a 30+ minute wait during the weekends.  I was getting ready to write a post on Fishbar, when lo and behold, I see that they also have brunch.  The menu looked really good, so the decision was easy.  And it turned out to be an awesome idea!

 

The lobster hash – crispy fried potatoes & brussel sprouts tossed in sweet & spicy chipotle sauce, sauteed lobster, two eggs sunny side up, and spinach hollandaise.  The brussel sprouts were out-of-this-world good!  I couldn’t really taste the spiciness of the chipotle sauce, but this dish had the perfect combo of taste and texture.  So good!!!  $14.99

 

Flat iron steak & eggs –  flat iron steak with 2 eggs any style, crispy fried potatoes & brussel sprouts.  My friend omitted the potatoes but really enjoyed this dish and said that we should make Fishbar our new brunch spot!  $13.99

 

Lunch

I’ve been here for Taco Tuesdays lunches for a few weeks now and have tried an assortment of different tacos.  The tacos at Fishbar, are of course, for the most part, seafood!  So here are my favorites:

 

Seared ahi tuna tacos – ahi tuna with cabbage, avocado mousse, pico de gallo and Thai chili sauce.  The Thai chili sauce adds just a bit of a kick, not that spicy.  $10 for an order of 2

Blackened salmon tacos – salmon with cabbage, avocado mousse, pico de gallo and cotija cheese. $8 for an order of 2

Sauteed lobster tacos – lobster with with cabbage, avocado mousse, pico de gallo, taco sauce and cotija cheese.  $9 for an order of 2

 

Hope you guys enjoy this place as much as me!  : )