Category Archives: Korean

MaDang 621 Korean BBQ Restaurant

621 S Western Ave
Ste 100
Los Angeles, CA 90005
 
(213) 384-2244
 
madang621.com
 
http://www.yelp.com/biz/madang-621-korean-bbq-restaurant-los-angeles

 

MaDang 621 is located in the same shopping complex as the CGV Theater on Western.  One of my Korean coworkers had recommended the lunch specials, since she knew that I love Korean food.  The lunch specials include set lunches, where you get your own individual banchans (side dishes)!

Parking is plenty in the large structure, and MaDang validates 4 hours.  For people who do not want to deal with the narrow parking spaces, I believe valet parking is also available.  MaDang 621 is located on the ground level of the complex, and is near the Western Ave side.  It is a pretty large restaurant, with a sizable outside seating area — although the outside area was not open during lunch.  The restaurant itself is pretty airy, with a modern Korean feel.  Our party of 6 was seated right away during lunch time, so not sure if reservations are needed for dinners.  During dinner time, I think the restaurant operates as a high-end Korean BBQ place.

 

Follow the sign!

 

The entrance leads into an open kitchen and bar area.  The seating area is just beyond the walkway.

 

The lunch specials menu — yes, even during weekends!!  ^ ^  The soo rah sang and jung shik sets come with individual banchans.  All of the other dishes come with large communal banchans.

 

The large communal banchans (from top left clockwise) – steamed broccoli, spicy radish and cucumber, dried anchovies/fish and walnuts, salted bean sprouts, spicy veggies, and kimchi slices.  All of the side dishes were really good.  Our favorite was definitely the dried fish with walnut!

 

The Jung Shik with Yun Aw Gui (grilled salmon).  The Jung Shik comes with your choice of meat or fish and similar banchans as the communal ones above, although it also had a marinated spicy garlic/jalapeno, and the spicy squid side dishes.  For rice, you get a choice or regular or purple rice.  Seaweed and the denjangchige (bean paste soup) rounds up the set.  Salmon was cooked perfectly and the side dishes all taste so good!!!  $12.99

 

Yook ge jang – spicy red chili soup with shredded beef, glass noodles, eggs and shitake mushrooms.  The noodle soup had enough kick, but was not overly spicy.  The shredded beef was pretty tender, and I really liked the glass noodles!  $9.99

 

Will definitely be back to try the other lunch specials!  Nom nom nom….

Tofu Village

15128 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90247

(310) 527-3737

http://www.yelp.com/biz/tofu-village-gardena-2

 

This is one of my favorite weekday lunch spots, although I don’t make it out here often.  Tofu Village is located in a small strip plaza, near the corner of Western and Marine.  Parking is easy to find inside the plaza. Even though Tofu Village is usually pretty busy,  table turnover is fast, so not much wait during lunch time.  Service is normally good and quick.  Most of the clientele is Korean, so that should tell you about its authenticity!  I like it better than Lee’s Tofu down the street — the taste is more on par with the soon tofu places in K-town.  : )

 

Tofu Village is located inside this shopping plaza.

 

Sample of the lunch menu — all of the lunch specials look pretty good but I’ve only tried the soon tofu so far.

 

The banchans (side dishes) are all really good and usually includes kimchi, spicy pickled radish and cucumber, bean sprouts, potato salad and chap chae (Korean glass noodles).  There’s even fried yellow croaker (a small fish), similar to the ones at BCD Tofu House.  You can request for complimentary refills on the side dishes.

 

There’s an assortment of different soon tofu to choose from (seafood, combination, kimchi, etc), as well as the spiciness.  I usually get the combination medium (which has seafood and beef).  Comes with purple rice in a stone pot – the servers will scoop it up into the steel bowl for you.  At the end of the meal,  add water to the rice stone pot to make crunchy rice soup.   Yum yum yum…. $7.99

Kobawoo House

698 S Vermont Ave
Ste 109
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 389-7300
 
http://www.yelp.com/biz/kobawoo-house-los-angeles
 

I love bossam – it’s the Korean dish of sliced pork that you wrap together with pickled radish, kimchi in a napa cabbage leaf.  Kobawoo House has been on my “to-eat” list for a while, with its glowing Yelp reviews.  Finally had a chance to try it out recently!

Kobawoo House is located in a large strip mall, just past 7th Street, on Vermont.  It’s best to take advantage of the parking valet, which is $1.50, than to try to find your own parking.   The restaurant itself is medium sized, but with lots of business.  Not sure if they take reservations, so be prepared for a 20-30 minute wait.  While you wait, there’s a coffee machine by the front door that you can press for complimentary coffee, latte or hot chocolate!

 

The banchans (side dishes).  The side dishes were really tasty and flavorful.  You can ask for seconds!

 

We saw that fellow Yelpers also recommended the seafood pancake (haemul pajun), so that’s what we ordered.  It’s a huge pancake filled with shrimp, oyster, squid and crabmeat.  There was a lot of seafood, but the pancake wasn’t as crispy on the outside as I would’ve liked.  $15.99

 

We ordered the Wang Bosam, which is their special dish.  It’s basically the deluxe bosam platter.  It comes with the boiled pork, steamed skate (a fish) and glazed pork feet.  Before the bosam platter was out, the glazed pork feet came out first — it’s spicy cucumber mixed with sliced pork feet.  Very refreshing!

 

The huge bosam platter!  Kobawoo has some of the best kimchi I’ve tasted – perfectly fermented without it being overly spicy.  Just add a bit of everything to the napa cabbage leaf, and eat it like a burrito!  The kimchi was so great with the boiled pork – it took away the greasiness and porkiness of the meat.  Yum! The steamed skate (in the bowl) was good too, but the main star was definitely the pork!  $33.99

 

The bosam platter comes with rice – you can request for the purple rice, without extra charge.  It’s basically purple rice, cooked with some beans.  It’s chewier than white rice and accompanies the banchans very well.

Just a warning, portions are very generous.  Three of us shared the above dishes, and only managed to finish half of everything.  The leftovers still tasted great the next day!  ^ ^

Corner Place

2819 James M Wood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006
 
(213) 487-0968

http://www.yelp.com/biz/corner-place-los-angeles

http://www.cornerplacerestaurant.com/

 

After hiking at the nearby Griffith Park on a hot day, a friend and I were craving something refreshing.  So we started searching for good Korean cold noodle places on Yelp.  This place came up as the #1 choice.  However, we weren’t sure if this place specialized in cold noodles, so we wanted to try other naeng myun places.  Alas, most of the naeng myun places seem to be closed on Sundays, so off we went to the Corner Place!

Corner Place is located in a corner of a small strip mall. Parking is a bit tricky — the parking lot has restricted spaces reserved for the laundromat and the market, so read the signs!  There is additional free parking at a lot across from the strip mall — you can ask the security guard to point you to the right direction.  The restaurant itself is fairly large and the customers are quite diverse.  So, unlike other Korean BBQ joints, English is understandable here.  🙂  Apparently, the signature dish here is the cold noodles aka dong chi mi gook soo.  Dong chi mi gook soo is a little different than naeng myun — naeng myun is a darker clear noodle in an icy pear broth whereas dong chi mi gook soo is a white noodle less chewier than naeng myun, in a cold fermented vegetable broth.

 

The menu — cold noodles seem to be the signature dish here!

 

The cold noodles!  Like all the Yelp reviews said, it is very refreshing!!!  Unlike other restaurants, Corner Place DOES NOT give you any condiments (hot sauce, mustard, vinegar, etc) to add to the noodles.  The soup itself is light and not as vinegary as the ones I’ve had.  Mmmm….  $4.75 for a regular bowl, portions are generous.

 

There is quite a bit of banchans / side-dishes as well!  Everything was so good and not overly spicy.

 

I wasn’t really sure how filling the cold noodles were going to be, so I ordered the rib-eye too, expecting it to be only 1 steak.  So when the order arrived, and it was 2 huge steaks, we had to double-check with our waitress that it was only 1 order.  OMG, can I just say that it was perfect marbling?  She also came by a few times to cook & cut the steak, and trimmed off the fat!  The steak is cooked with 2 pats of butter, an onion slice and some mushrooms.  So meaty, juicy and delicious. Be careful not to overcook the steaks!  $25.95 per order

I’ll definitely be back, Corner Place!!!

Kang Hodong Baekjeong

3465 W 6th St
Ste 20
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Neighborhood: Koreatown

http://www.yelp.com/biz/kang-hodong-baekjeong-los-angeles

http://www.baekjeong.com

 

Jonathan Gold’s article in the LA Times:  http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/10/food/la-fo-gold-20121110

 

This is a BBQ chain straight from Korea.  I was a bit bummed that I didn’t get to try it when I visited Seoul last fall, but lo and behold, the LA branch opened soon after I came back.  I was really excited to try it, when LA Times featured a glowing review soon after the restaurant opened.  The 5 star reviews on Yelp kept stacking up, but so did the wait time (it was around 2 hours for a while since the restaurant does not accept reservations).  Finally, after a few months, the initial craze is starting to dwindle down, so off we went.  Our wait during a Saturday was about 40 minutes.

The entrance to the restaurant is inside the plaza, which does not face the street.  That being said, the little plaza has many restaurants which share the small parking lot, so parking inside the plaza can be challenging.  You’re better off parking on the street, or in one of the nearby paid lots.

Kang Hodong Baekjeong is known for its exceptionally great meats.  Despite that, you pay almost the same as all-you-can-eat places, so it’s a great value.  The restaurant also has really good service — our server was friendly, came by very often, and cooked all of our meats for us.

 

The store front

 

You’ll see this poster board up front — it’s not PSY.  This is Kang Hodong, a Korean comedian, who owns this restaurant chain.

 

The menu

 

The grill at Kang Hodong Baekjeong is different than other K-BBQ places — There is also a moat ring around the grill, which is used to cook the corn with cheese, steam the egg, and grill the veggies.  What ingenuity!

 

Salad – included with your order.  Very fresh!

 

One of the many side dishes — spicy bean sprouts.  Mix it yourself!

 

I think this was mung bean pancake.  Pretty tasty, but I don’t think you can get seconds on this one.

 

Lots of dishes occupy the table — kimchi, radish, salt/pepper, jalapeno dipping sauce, and chilled radish soup.  Like other K-bbq joints, iced barley tea is served complimentary.

 

Lunch box – spicy kimchi rice.  Watch in awe as your server brings the box to the table, then starts shaking it in front of you.  The lunch box is warm at best, but really tasty!  We ordered 2 for our party of 6 and that was enough with our 5 meat orders.  $6.99

 

Our meat orders (from top to bottom):  seared pork belly ($18.99), special pork neck ($21.99), and sliced rib eye ($28.99).  I was going to order the pork butt, but our waiter told me point blank that the pork neck was much better.  And it was.  All of the meats were so good!  The waiter even adjusts heat on the grill for the different meats.

 

Thinly sliced brisket – see the nice marbling?  Yum!!!  Sliced sweet potato and mushrooms also came with our orders.  $18.99

 

Beef tongue – it was really fresh and a little thicker sliced than other K-bbq places.  Nice meaty texture.  $21.99

 

The waiter seared the rib eye and then cut them up into bite-size pieces once they were ready to eat.  Medium and succulent, just the way I like them!

 

Kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae)

Bean stew (doenjang jjigae)

 

Our meal also came with soups (kimchi and bean stew) at the end of the meal.  Both had great flavor, although the bean stew was a tad salty.  Overall, we all loved it.  It lives up to its hype!  We’ll be back.  🙂

Ko Ryo Jung Korean BBQ 高麗亭

1585 W Sepulveda Blvd
Ste N
Torrance, CA 90501

(310) 530-0025

http://www.yelp.com/biz/ko-ryo-jung-restaurant-torrance

 

Ko Ryo Jung is an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant in Torrance.  It’s located in the same strip mall as BCD Tofu House.  A friend had recommended this place for our gathering, but based on the Yelp ratings, I wasn’t expecting much.  However, I was pleasantly surprised, so don’t be fooled by the 3 star Yelp ratings!  It turned out to be one of the best Korean BBQs I’ve had in South Bay – I liked it better than Moon or Star BBQ.  Meat quality is good, there are a lot of side dishes to choose from, and even ice cream is included!!!  Parking is pretty easy to find, since it’s located in a large strip mall.  Service can be a little slow, so make sure you order a lot at once!  ^ ^

 

There is really no visible sign of the name of the restaurant in English, so just look for the “All You Can Eat” sign near one end of the strip mall!

 

The menu is pretty simple and has pictures of all that you can order.  I like how it’s in both Korean and English.  There are 2 all-you-can-eat options:  $17.99 and $22.99.  You get more premium meats and seafood with the more expensive option.  We went with the $17.99 option.

 

Ko Ryo Jung provides an assortment of side dishes, all of which are pretty good, ranging from the normal Korean kimchi, marinated bean sprouts, spicy pickled radish, salted veggies, potato salad, etc.  Ko Ryo Jung also provides pickled radish slices (pink and green) and rice paper for wrapping your cooked meats!

 

Condiments:  in addition to the normal sesame/salt sauce and the soy sauce with jalapenos, you can also request for the Korean soybean sauce (doenjang) and raw garlic & jalapenos.

 

Tofu stew is also included in the meal.  Pretty good flavor and not too spicy

 

Steamed egg – cooked with bits of scallions.  This was a little bland, so eat it with some sauce!

 

Bibimbap – this was pretty good and is included in the $17.99 AYCE

 

Black angus prime beef brisket  – the meat was really fresh and tasty!

 

Kobe beef short plate – this was also pretty good, it’s thicker sliced than the brisket.

 

Black angus marinated beef chuck flat – this was well marinated and the meat was tender!

 

Beef tongue – these were rather large slices, compared to other Korean BBQ joints.

 

Baby octopus – I didn’t try this but heard they were good

 

Assorted vegetables – just leave them on the grill until the kabocha squash has softened

 

The grill!  The server will come periodically to switch out the grill… you can request it too.  My favorite meat was the pork collar butt (on the left) – fresh and juicy, with the right amount of fattiness, hot off the grill!

 

The meal ends with ice cream!  And yes, you can request for seconds… it’s AYCE after all!!!  🙂

Wako Donkasu

2904 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006

(213) 387-9256

 
 
 
I first heard about Wako Donkasu when my sister told me that there’s a place in LA, where you can grind up your own sesame sauce for the tonkatsu, just like in Japan.  So I couldn’t pass it up. Tonkatsu / donkasu is the Japanese / Korean word for fried pork chop.  Those of you who aren’t into pork, there’s also chicken cutlet, fish and steak (all of which are fried in the breaded batter).  There are two Wako Donkasu locations, both of which are downtown.  I’ve only been to the Olympic location and it was relatively easy to find parking.  The restaurant itself is able to accommodate large parties, and is nicely decorated inside.
 
The tonkatsu portions here are pretty big and juicy – just the way I like it!  And I like that you can grind up your own sesame to make your own sauce.  The more sesame the better for my tonkatsu!  Prices range from $10-12 for tonkatsu, and two dollars more for the combos.
 
The store front
 
 
 
Grind up your sesame first, in the mortar and pestle.  Add your desired amount of sesame
 
Then add in the tonkatsu sauce and mix!
 
The meal also comes with some banchan – spicy radish and jalapenos
 
The tonkatsu meal comes with miso soup, cabbage salad and rice  $9.95
 
The highlight – the tonkatsu is crunchy, juicy and there wasn’t too much breading.  Yum!  Especially with the sauce!
 
For those of you who are big eaters, the combo is the way to go!  The udon combo with the katsu is only $12.95!  It comes with the tonkatsu, 1 fried shrimp, potato croquette, and the huge bowl of udon.
 

Mountain

15460 S Western Ave
Ste 101
Gardena, CA 90247

(310) 327-8494

http://www.yelp.com/biz/mountain-gardena

 

Mountain is a Korean diner, located in the same center as Furaibo and Boiling Point in Gardena. The original Mountain is in K-town, which I haven’t tried, and according to the Yelp reviews, is supposed to be very good. The one in Gardena offers a lot of selection, ranging from sahm-geh-tahng (whole chicken in soup), to soon tofu, to spicy rice cakes, seafood pancakes, etc. Parking is pretty easy in the plaza and there’s usually no wait at the restaurant. The waitresses there speak English; I even heard one of them speaking Japanese on my last visit! Mountain is a great choice if you’re craving Korean food in South Bay.

 

Mountain provides six different banchans when you order. There’s the usual kimchi, spicy radish and bean sprouts. There’s usually also a small pancake dish of some sort, sweet braised beef, and a marinated sweet radish. All of them are pretty good, in my opinion. The sweet braised beef definitely takes some getting used to though. It really is sweet!

 

Instructions on how to eat the sahm-geh-tahng

 

The sahm-geh-tahng is boiling hot when it arrives at the table. Be careful!!!

 

The chicken is stuffed with sticky rice, date and garlic. The garlic has been cooked down for so long that it just melts in your mouth! The chicken is really tender. The chicken and soup is not seasoned, so add salt and pepper to your liking. $10.65

 

Tukboki + goon mandoo – spicy rice cake with fried dumplings. The dumplings were crispy with lots of filling inside. The rice and fish cakes were spicy enough to get a good sweat going. Excellent beer chaser! $12.95

 

Kimchi jiggae – you can add this to the spicy rice cake + dumpling dish for an extra $2. Great kimchi flavor! Yep, it’s served in the same size bowl as soon tofu.

 

Soon tofu – I forgot which one my friend ordered, but she said it was pretty good. Around $8

 

Galbi dol-soht-bibimbob – bibimbob in a hot stone pot. When it arrives, just add in the red spicy sauce to your liking, stir then eat! This one was pretty good, with lots of veggies! $10.95

Han Bat Sul Lung Tang

4163 W 5th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Neighborhood: Koreatown

(213) 383-9499

http://www.yelp.com/biz/han-bat-sul-lung-tang-los-angeles

 

I’ve been meaning to try this place ever since I’ve seen it on KJ’s food blog.  However, everytime I’m in K-town, I’m always lured away by K-BBQ or soon-tofu.  Finally, one day recently, I couldn’t think of anything to eat, so decided to pick a place from my “to try” Yelp list and voila!

The place is easy to miss – it’s located in a strip mall next to a Carl’s Jrs.  It was relatively easy to find street parking at the time that I went, there are meters all around.  The menu is simple – you get 2 choices, either beef soup or the boiled beef.  From then on, you choose which meat you want for your soup.  As it was my first time there, I didn’t want to be too adventurous, so I picked the brisket beef soup to be safe.  Next time I think I’ll try either the beef tongue or the mixed.  Not sure what boiled beef is actually…will have to ask one of my Korean friends.

 

The simple menu.  $8.28 per order = $9 after tax

 

Each order comes with rice and banchans (kimchi and spicy radish).  The kimchi and spicy radish are both really good!  Feel free to ask for refills!  🙂

 

 

 

The waiteress brings a tub of scallions with the beef soup, that you can add at your leisure.  Scoop as much as you want into the soup.  Really adds to the flavor.

 

The soup is bland and not seasoned, so make sure to season it with salt yourself! The broth is very mild, but tastes like it’s been stewed for hours. The meat is so tender! Such a great meal for cold winter days or when you’re not feeling well.

Tofu-Ya

11267 National Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

(310) 477-6075

http://www.yelp.com/biz/tofuya-bbq-los-angeles

 

 

There are 2 Tofu-Yas, both in West LA.  One is located near Sawtelle & Olympic and the other is on the corner of Sawtelle and National.  It’s relatively close by work and one of our favorites.  Both offer similar menus although the one on National also has AYCE K-BBQ.  Parking is also hard to come by for both.  I like the one on National better since the restaurant is bigger, so there’s less of a line.  On the downside though, people are BBQ-ing their meat, so there’s a lot of smoke.

Tofu-Ya offers a lot of variety, the restaurant not only serves soon-tofu, there’s also seafood pancake, bibimbap, bulgogi on sizzling plate, etc.  Food is pretty decent and the banchans (side dishes) are good,  so no need to drive all the way to K-town! Please note though, the rice for the soon-tofu is served in a metal bowl, so you can’t make your own jook (rice porridge) afterwards.

 

One of my coworkers ordered the seafood pancake, which was really good.  I’m going to start ordering this from now on!  Even though it’s listed as an appetizer on the menu, the portion is pretty big. $10.95

 

The lunch combo is a good deal.  Soon tofu + dolsot bibimbap (bibimbap served in hot claypot) is $13.99.  If you just order the dolsot bibimbap a la carte, it’s $9.95.

Beef soon-tofu

 

Dolsot bibimbap – my favorite dish here!  The portion is also pretty generous for this one.  For those of you who like your rice to be a little crispy, wait a bit before you mix the ingredients.  🙂

 

Add the red sauce and mix. And voila!  The dolsot bibimbap is now ready to eat.