I love Koreatown in the springtime…

Wherein I blog about all things Korean in Los Angeles

Putting the Soot back in KBBQ July 24, 2007

Here’s the caveat: It’s been a while since my visit to Soot Bul Gui Rim. In fact, I went there for Easter this year. Seems appropriate, right? After Lent, which is supposed to be meatless, you go out and gorge on KBBQ? I can’t think of anything better.

Oh, here’s the second caveat: I stole the pic from Bon V. at My Culinary Adventures, who was one of the people with me for this Easter meal. Check out her blog entry on Soot Bul Gui Rim here.

Soot Bul Gui Rim uses a charcoal grill (actually it’s been hinted to me that it might be a hybrid charcoal/gas, but it looked and smelled like charcoal to me, and my clothes and hair certainly smelled like charcoal after we were done eating). My previous experience with a charcoal grill had been at Cham Sut Gol, where the grill sits down in an indentation in the table, has a semi-closed rack, and there’s less smoke. This grill was on the tabletop and had an open rack and there was plenty of smoke. In fact, the grill didn’t seem too eager to cooperate with us at first, so our first course got a bit charred. But eventually the grill realized we were in it to win it, so it settled down and we ended up with some nicely grilled meat.

Soot Bul Gui Rim has a varied selection of meats, including beef heart and beef tongue (which we ordered) as well as chicken (which we didn’t order). Yes, we ordered the heart and tongue and skipped the chicken; we’re no lightweights here. I grew up eating heart and tongue as often as my Pennsylvania German dad could persuade my mom to cook them, and now I tend to order them whenever they’re on the menu. The heart here was probably my fave of the meats we ordered, very tender. But the tongue was good, too. Oh, we ordered the usual kalbi and bulgogi as well, at least I think we did; I was concentrating more on the unusual.

The ambiance is okay. You’re there for the all-you-can-eat BBQ, which weighs in at about $15 per person. I found parking in the lot right outside, where every space was marked “45 minute parking” and everybody (including me) was parking for longer than 45 minutes. I was pleased because I located the place from the Korean sign, which I’ve been doing more often. Our waiter, who appeared to be Hispanic but wrote down our order in Korean (interesting detail there), was a little tough to flag down, but we managed. You don’t get the pricey experience we got at Cham Sut Gol, but you don’t pay the price either, and I liked the selection of meat better. Given a choice of the two, I’d pick Soot Bul Gui Rim.

Soot Bul Gui Rim
233 S. Vermont Ave.
(just north of Third)
Los Angeles, CA 90020


Spotlight on K-town July 22, 2007

Filed under: Koreatown & K-town events and shopping — Raven @ 11:28 pm
Tags: ,

Check out a very interesting and detailed article on Koreatown here.

A couple of notes: the author’s fave restaurant is called Cham Sut Gol, and I blogged about it earlier (link). And I’m amused by the idea (mentioned in a comment on the article) that you can get “California-style” KBBQ in Seoul and it’s based on the KBBQ found in our very own K-town. Is that true?

Here’s a pic to whet your appetite (for the article, not for KBBQ). This pic shows why letting me drive in K-town is a bad idea: There are too many Korean signs to read, and I still read Korean slowly, so I tend to be staring at the signs when I should be staring at the road.


The Host and the BBQ March 24, 2007

Filed under: movies & film,restaurants — Raven @ 11:56 pm
Tags: , ,

Those should actually be in the opposite order since we ate the BBQ before seeing The Host (no, we did not eat the host). I went into The Host expecting a suspense-heavy thriller with some comedic moments. That wasn’t exactly what I got. There’s one brilliant moment near the end that involves a clumsy guy and a firebomb (for those of you who haven’t seen it and are planning to, I won’t say more), but overall I came out of it thinking they could have done better. C’mon, Korea, if you’re planning to conquer the US with your movies, you’re going to have to give it better than that. And I know you’ve got better than that because I’ve seen you do better than that. Please.

So anyway. Now back to the BBQ, which really should’ve come first, since that’s where it belongs chronologically. The BBQ is called 잠숮골 and is located on Olympic a little east of Crenshaw. If you want to know what it’s called in English, you’re out of luck because it isn’t called anything in English. There’s no English sign. I had mixed feelings about the restaurant. The food was fresh and tasty (the place is a charcoal BBQ and I now smell like smoke, especially my hair). The staff was friendly, and they were pleased with Bon V.’s attempts to speak Korean (I chickened out). The ambience was pleasant and they actually have a lot to park in. But (there’s always a but) the prices were on the steep side and, worst of all, I wasn’t full when I left. If I had been full, I could’ve forgiven the prices. But I wasn’t. So I can’t.

So that was today’s stop: Korea (unusual for this blog, I know). Tomorrow’s stop: India with The Namesake. But I will be skipping the Indian food. Just not my thing.

3700 W. Olympic Blvd
(about 4 blocks east of Crenshaw)
Los Angeles, CA 90019