You should have seen it coming. What makes it a trip to Los Angeles for us was finding a Korean BBQ joint to kick off the night. This time around it was Magal BBQ. A place full of energy that’s powered by its young and sometimes inebriated patrons. What that really means was that this was a place friends come to eat and drink. Because that’s exactly what we did.
There was a modest wait, although we had a seat if every happened to be there. Too bad this happened to be one of those rare cold as hell LA nights. We were really hating our unorganized selves. But within 30 minutes the host came out and let us know our table was ready. Needless to say we rushed in and got our menus.
We opted for two large Beef Combos, priced at $98.99 and meant to serve 3-4 people per combo, that included:
- Beef Skirtmeat
- Paper Thin Sliced Brisket End-Point
- Prime Beef Boneless Rib or Prime Beef Rib Eye (we had one per combo)
- Marinated Prime Short Rib
- Assorted Grilled Items (king mushrooms, shrimp, and some vegetables)
- Boneless Short Rib Sushi
- Soybean Paste Soup with Beef Brisket
There were 9 of us so of course, we we ordered more a la carte. I did miss a couple things in my photos, such as the pork belly, assorted grilled items, and the sides. Well, there weren’t too many sides to begin with. There was a cold soup which left us scratching our heads, a small plate of pretty good kimchi for the four of us, a couple bowls of salad to share, pickled celery, and some sauces and condiments. That was pretty much our banchan. Yikes. I think that’s why we left a bit hungry. Or maybe it was the fact that we were planning to end the meal with the Volcano Fried Rice only to find out that they ran out. Double yikes. How could they run out of their signature, yet gimmicky, dish? Oh the horrors of an amateur foodie.
Overall though, the meat quality was good. They focus on unadulterated meats, as in, not too much seasoning. We were fine with that. There were a couple of stand out cuts that made us look to one another with that “Oh yeah, that’s the stuff.” And the service, even for a hectic Saturday night, was attentitive. They made sure to come by and check on the grill, which was changed at least six times. Pretty good.
3460 W 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90005
+1 (213) 383-1909
Verdict: Although it’s good in terms of quality of meats and service, I’d only go here to change up my Korean BBQ fix. I blame competition.
New York’s Koreatown has some of the best BBQ restaurants around and today we could confirm that statement. My friend arranged dinner for us at Don’s Bogam BBQ, a favorite for this New York alumni. Little did I know, this was a Michelin Recommended restaurant that, come to think of it, was the first for me when it comes to KBBQ. Wow. A place I go, to gorge on beef, drink lots of beer and soju, celebrate with my friends in the most rambunctious manner and leaving with the sticky film of smoke and garlic. This type of place got the attention of the Michelin peeps. Well, when we got to the restaurant I could see that I was about to up level my KBBQ experience.
The restaurant was like a merger between the traditional and high class dining. We had a few drinks at the fancy bar in front while we waited for everyone to arrive. Table for twelve? Not a problem. However, we had to be split us between two tables of six. Understandable because they are very service driven here. Even though the menu says “Cook your own” the servers do all the cooking for you at your table. So they need the tables to be accessible for the servers. I loved the attention and only had to flag someone down once to, you guessed it, order more of their wonderful beef. Yum!
Expect to stay at least an hour to relax and enjoy your dinner. This isn’t your typical KBBQ place that’s trying to rush people in and out. And although the higher pricing may keep people away, it means you’ll hardly see a line outside. But to be safe, make a reservation.
Don’s Bogam BBQ
17 E 32nd St
New York, NY 10016
+1 (212) 683-2200
Verdict: On the pricey side yet well worth it.
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.
Funny thing was, I really wanted Korean food. We drove around looking for a place that served live octopus. My current craving though I never had it. Pretty daring. But I made a mistake, a really good mistake. We found EMC, a place my friend recommended when discussing the cuisine. She only mentioned it in the realm of seafood. In no way was the placeserving live moving octopus to its patrons. Something I should have realized after entering.
The place was very nice, too nice. Modern. Clean. And to my dismay, it didn’t have stacks of water tanks filled with fresh seafood. No, this was not the live Korean octopus restaurant I was looking for. Our server quickly confirm that after I naively asked “How does the live octopus thing work?” Embarrassment aside, we looked over the impressive menu and ordered away. Some may say it was one uni dish too many. I’d say, I could have used one more. It was a feast I’d order again and again. You can check out the dishes below.
We were there for lunch and the place was pretty empty, only one other couple. However, the service was attentive as if there was a full house. No one missed a beat. Small dishes came out first with our main course coming soon after. This was run with first class distinction, making you forget, it was located in a Korean mall.
EMC Seafood & Raw Bar
3500 W 6th Street, Ste 101
Los Angeles, CA 90020
+1 (213) 351-9988
Verdict: I highly recommend this place if you want fresh seafood prepared to preserve the tastes.