Thanks to Instagram, I learned about a Korean craze around cheese ribs. Whole pork ribs prepared and wrapped at your table with gooey mounds of cheese. I had to give this a try. My friends wanted to give this a try. So, we all did. My search brought me to a place in Los Angeles that actually, as the name suggests, specializes in bossam, a meal where you wrap thinly slices of pork in lettuce or cabbage. The name of the restaurant was Mister Bossam and one of their popular dishes was the cheese ribs. Of course, with a group of nine we went for both.
Our reservation was actually set up for an hour before we arrived, but they still accommodated our large group, putting several long tables together. It was unusually empty for a Saturday night, but I’m not sure how many people would look for such a heavy meal after Thanksgiving. Well, besides us. Not knowing the portion sizes, the waitress worked with us as we ordered. Several times she hinted that we may have gotten too much food. We did. Not by too much though. But very happy she was kind enough to point it out and even helped portion the sizes to our party.
After we ordered, our drinks came out first. Then in about ten minutes they brought out four burners for our table. I thought we needed only two. To my surprise, the other two burners were to keep the pork belly warm. Not a bad idea. Not bad at all. We ate for about an hour, getting refills of sides and lettuce as we went. All included as part of the meal. By end, the only starch we had, if we had any room, was the fried rice. Also included in the meal. Gotta love leaving full and happy for such an attentive staff. I do wonder how it would have been on a busier night.
338 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90020
+1 (213) 388-5379
Verdict: I’m in love with this stuff and I recommend you try it out too, both the bossam and the cheese ribs.
Gen, one of LA’s popular Korean BBQ chains, made its way up to Northern California last year. You’d think the lines and hype would have died down by now. Nope. Still hordes of people waiting outside ready to feast on their $20.99 all-you-can-eat dinner. Lucky for us, we made reservations.
We had a party of 14 and were seated in twenty minutes. They were waiting for a small party to clear out. Tables are fixed for groups of four so it’s understandable it will make reservations tricky. But what they did to counter the extra wait was to take our orders ahead of time. And guess what, when we were seated, all the food was already set out for us. All we needed to order at that point were the drinks. Pretty sweet. However, before I give this place major props, the service throughout dinner wasn’t too great. We had to constantly flag people down for refills, even for the salad. There was one moment of light though. A waitress noticed we had nothing grilling and came over to check in and expedite our order. Would love to give her a shout out if I had her name. But it was amazing she had noticed but the other four servers in our area didn’t. Of course, they weren’t standing around doing nothing. They were busy, a bit too busy. So in terms in service it’s inconsistent.
As for the food, it’s pretty damn good. Not high-end but great in terms of bang for your buck, it was amazing. I see why this place was still attracting so many people.
Gen Korean BBQ
1628 Hostetter Rd
San Jose, CA 95131
Verdict: Very surprising for an all-you-can-eat establishment in terms of quality and variety. Make a reservation and give this place a try.
We had this great recommendation from a friend, Surawon, a low key place in a very unsuspecting part of Koreatown. Sure, it’s on Olympic but it’s not in the heart of where all the new places are popping up. So it was fantastic for parking and even more wonderful that we didn’t have to wait for a table. Hopefully, after this post it will still remain that way. Sorry Surawon, I want to keep you hidden away like my friends had.
When you enter, the place looks like they took ownership from an old taquería. They made no attempt in hiding it. You’ll find Mexican decorations scattered around the walls. And the color scheme was just not indicative of a Korean restaurant. Not that it mattered. Once that food came out, it didn’t matter what the surroundings were. It was all eyes on the food. Solid home cooking that will make your tummy happy. Our waitress brought out the bubbling hot plate of food, cut up our dish, and explained how best to eat it. Typical Korean restaurant host etiquette. Once we started eating our conversation went to a hush. And although we ate till way past closing time, they didn’t rush us at all. Now that’s comforting service and a way you’ll surely get me to return.
2833 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006
Verdict: If you want to try some unique Korean dishes, stop by this place.
Today was all about staying around the hotel. I mean why wouldn’t we venture out in this great part of the island. Can’t let the tourist scare you away. Oh wait, I’m a tourist too ain’t I? Well, the stuff that’ll scare you are all the street performers and brochure hand outs that make you feel like you’re walking on Hollywood Boulevard during the day. Cheapens the place tremendously, but if you stay along the beach, you’ll understand why this is a beach hot spot. Gentle waves and clear water that goes out several hundred yards. Pretty neat and a great place to learn to surf. Waves tend to be smaller and the ride long and gentle. Just like how you want the first time time to be right? And yes, we’re talking about surfing.
Not sure why I keep up this format given that I’m basically in Hawaii and the food, though diversely ethnic, doesn’t vary, as do the costs and getting around. So let’s just get to the good stuff, the food.
We started off the day at Mikawon with naeng myun, a Korean cold noodle soup that’s great on hot days. Not a bad place. On the Yelp scale it’ll be a three star not having tried the other Korean places on the island and having lived next to KTown in LA. I tend to be a bit picky. Place was good and the buckwheat noodles we nice and chewy. I’d think this needed more cuts of meat, which I had none, but Vicky had some slices of brisket. But my nit picking would be of the noodles. I’m a fan of the thicker and darker variety. Really enhances the chewiness.
In the afternoon we stopped off at Leonard’s to try these famous Malasada’s. Had them earlier and before on another trip, but never at “the” place. I see how it can be so addicting. Like Krispy Kreme right off the press, these things are soft, slightly chewy, and sweetened just enough to entice another bite until it’s gone. Yeah, a must try.
At night we found this great and deadly place, Yakitori Glad. Okay, so what right? Another yakitori place here in Oahu, a dime a dozen and many high end places that makes this stuff more than fried meat on a stick. Well, if you’re into simple fried meats on a stick… and wait there’s more… and everything on the menu is $3.90 including the bear, then you’re in luck. This is your place for hours of drinking and eating, a true izakaya style place where service is spot on. I’m definitely coming back and yes, they do have beef tongue skewers which aren’t on the menu. And their’s aren’t the thin cut, they make sure you get enough. And please, don’t let this place get too popular, I don’t want to wait when I come back.
$1~$2 a malasada at Leonard’s
$30 for two at Mikawon
$60 for two at Yakitori Glad