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Korean BBQ

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Anyone try Soot Bulgurim on Vermont (X street 3rd)? Looking for similar place and have already tried Soot Bull Jeep, Chosun Galbee, Castle.

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  1. I just moved to K-Town and am anxious to try some of the local places. Soot Bull Jeep is great. I have heard good things about Castle, what did you think of Castle (and also of Chosun Galbee). Another one that I walked past that looked really good was Han Yang Barbeque.

    1. Yes, in fact I have. I asked a Korean girl who lives in K-Town where I could find the best Korean BBQ. She said that this place, which she said is all you can eat for $15, is really really good and authentic.

      When I asked her if she had been to Soot Bull Jeep, she said she had never even heard of it, which stiked me as odd.

      I haven't been there yet but it's on my list. Is Soot Bulgurim better than Soot Bull Jeep in your opinion?

      1 Reply
      1. re: young_chower

        Yes, it is! But I've seen a lot of postings for SBJ (maybe it's because Soot Bulgurim isn't as well known). But it's much better food at a better price. I don't even remember...is SBJ all-you-can-eat? Try it...it's kinda crowded on Friday nites, but if you go early for lunch, there's hardly anyone there.

      2. Have you tried Shik-do-rak on Olympic and Hoover?

        Their specialty is duk-bo-sam cha-dol beh-gee (not sure sp.) which is barbecued brisket wrapped in thin rice pancakes. Very tasty!

        People from northern Cal come down just to eat there.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ladius

          IMO, I would go to Shik Do Rak if I'm craving the uniquness of the radish (and rice) wrappers, but not if I'm looking for good BBQ.

          At Shik Do Rak, you cook your meat in a large round pan with a drip hole in the middle, so the meat NEVER touches a direct flame, and this results in a sauteed beef taste without any char. For shame! :)

        2. If you're referring to "Guirim" (second floor of a strip mall on the NW corner of Vermont/3rd that serves an all you can eat variety menu (chadol, galbee, chicken, bacon, etc.), there's also a branch at 6th and Manhattan with the same type of menu.

          What is it that you like about the place? It's one of my favorites because it's relatively cheap, the all you can eat is a nice feature because of the variety of meat you get, and they use a grill instead of a tabletop frying pan, which makes the meat taste better.

          Another place that uses a grill is "Park's BBQ" at Vermont and 7th (I think it's 7th... it's south of Wilshire on Vermont). Much pricier, but high quality meat. It's apparently where all the Korean stars come to eat in LA, if you pay attention to the pictures on the wall. I've been to Castle, but I don't remember it all that well. Suhrabul (sorry, not Chosun) at Western and 1st has some good offerings, but the service has been pretty awful the past few times i've gone.

          1. How do those places rank up with a place called Moo Deung San (on Western a block south of Olympic, near the K-town galleria)? It's also an Korean all-you-can-eat (AYCE) BBQ.

            I'm an OC gal that moved to DC recently and am visiting home at the end of August with my Korean BBQ/AYCE-loving East Coast boyfriend. When I suggested having Manna during my visit to my friends, I was summarily shot down ("meat's nasty, as well as the place", "quantity, but no quality", "if your new bf knows anything about Korean BBQ meats, you're gonna lose maaaaad points with him, girl" etc.)

            I was suggested MDS by a friend in LA, but can't get any reviews on it. Help!

            1. In the 17 years I've lived in the LA-area since moving from Korea, I've NEVER been to SootBullJeep. My parents, friends, relatives, and self have never expressed the interest in going. From others, I've always gotten the impression that it's overrated and that the food's probably not worth reeking of charred meat.

              I rather like the meat at Honey Pig. If you end up going there, get the black pig pork belly. I generally don't like heavily "pork" flavored things (I always figure that meat and fish that taste too much like what it "is" just isn't a good fresh cut), and the meat cuts at Honey Pig taste the way I believe they should taste. You know how boiled meats taste? I try to avoid that sort of flavor, and even grilling won't help if the meat isn't good.

              4 Replies
              1. re: PseudoNerd

                How much is honey pig? Can one eat there for $15, or is it more expensive?

                1. re: young_chower

                  I would say it'd be more like $20pp, but it would depend on what meats and dishes you end up ordering.

                2. re: PseudoNerd

                  I have to completely disagree with any negative comments about Soot Bull Jeep as far as their food goes. The meats are excellent there, cooked over charcoal--excellent. The marinade is very good, especially on the bulgogi. I never order chicken, and even the chicken at SJB is good. I've discovered that different people from different parts of my life all know of this place and love it.

                  You do leave there smelling of a bbq pit, but it *is* worth it. It is not overrated at all. And to top it off, their yookejang is also excellent--spicy!

                  1. re: PseudoNerd

                    I just went to Honey Pig last week and I ama longtime devotee of Soot Bull Jeep. The prices at Honey Pig are comparable to SBJ but they serve different things: Honey Pig is pretty much all about pork belly and it's cooked on a metal skillet type thing whereas SBJ has a number of marinated meats and seafood cooked on a mixed charcoal/gas grill. The place is loud, down and dirty. One can find cheaper (and usually not as good flavored) and more expensive (and more dainty). It all depends on what you are looking for. But SBJ is not overrated by any means.

                  2. Soot Bull Jeep was pretty great. We ordered the beef which was nice and spicy. We also ordered the beef rib which was good, but I prefered just the plain beef.

                    One word of caution: we also ordered eel which I wouldn't necessarily do again. It could be that I'm not an eel fan (unless it's served as sushi) or that eel isn't best served grilled.

                    If I go again, I think I'd go with beef and chicken or pork.

                    1. Soot Bull Jeep is fine for the price and quality, but it's hardly the best BBQ in KTown. It's where we used to always go in college because we lived too far away to really explore KTown. Unfortunately, I just moved back to LA and haven't had time to try a lot of BBQ yet, BUT...

                      Han Yang, where I just had lunch yesterday, has already supplanted SBJ as my go-to Korean BBQ place. The meat looks and tastes fresher, and the marinade at Han Yang is great. The place is cleaner, the vents are newer (less stinky!), and the menu has things on it other than BBQ.

                      Most importantly, the side dishes (panchan) are really really good compared to Soot Bull Jeep. The flavors of all the side dishes are clean and pronounced, and there's a good variety. I don't really find myself eating the side dishes at Soot Bull Jeep, but at Han Yang I could have made a meal of the side dishes and just a few pieces of meat. They also have rice paper wrappers and large slices of paper thin pickled daikon to use as meat wrappers, which I'd never seen before.

                      The grilled mackerel my dining companion ordered at Hang Yang was also amazing. A whole grilled fish and a bowl of soup for $9. The fish was juicy and tender, very un-gamey as mackerels go, and perfectly charred on the outside. Delicious. The fish and an order of kalbi was enough food for three hungry people, and came out to $30 for lunch for three. Amazing deal.

                      And, for what it's worth, I only saw Koreans (mostly men in suits dining alone or families, who could presumably afford to eat anywhere in KTown and know where the good food is) eating at Han Yang, whereas I always see lots of non-Koreans and college kids (who often don't know better or can't afford better) eating at Soot Bull Jeep.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Pei

                        How much is Han yang? Is it more or less that Soot Bull Jeep?

                        BTW, is it 3429 W. 8th St.?

                        1. re: young_chower

                          Lunch was $30 for three people, but I haven't been for dinner. At $10 a head, it's way cheaper than Soot Bull Jeep for superior food.

                      2. I've lived in LA for over 15 years and my Korean family never went to or heard of Soot Bul Jeep. In fact, my mother thinks the food there is not good. I've been several times, but oddly enough only with non-Koreans.

                        I went to Honey Pig for the first time and absolutely loved it. Pork belly goodness and then they mix some kimchi and pork fat in some rice....yum.

                        1. Sootbul Gui Rim is actually my favorite AYCE Korean BBQ place. They cook over coals and the meat is pretty decent quality. Panchan is usually very good, but different everytime I go. They also give you Neng-Myun (cold noodles) towards the end of the meal to wash down all the fat and oil and meat you've had. Their dduk is also consistently good. When ordering the chaldol make sure you ask for the marinade. They have a marinade you can dip the chaldol in before throwing on the coals.

                          I've been to quite a few AYCE Korean BBQ places and non AYCE places in the last two years...
                          Based on value and overall quality of food I'd rank them...

                          1 - Soot Bul Gui Rim - tastes great, waitresses speak english, neng myun
                          2 - Family Restaurant (8th and Berendo) - good service if you speak Korean, charcoal grill, good panchan
                          3 - Chosun - nice place to take Korean BBQ noobies, expensive, good quality meat
                          4 - Corner Place - cheap non all you can eat, good cold noodles
                          5 - MDS - soft dduk, food isn't that great
                          6 - Shik Do Rak - expensive compared to AYCE, quality below many AYCE places, one of the first places to serve dduk bo sahm
                          7 - Manna - First big AYCE dduk bo sahm place, good for big parties, loud annoying K-Pop music, meat cooked on electric grills, quality has gone down