[[Note: This post was split from the SF board at: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/... -- The Chowhound Team ]]
Wow. Awesome. Thanks, Lawrence. Will definitely check them out. Meantimes, we're heading into K-town this weekend. Any favorites?
for k-town, it depends what dish you're looking for, since many restaurants specialize in only 1 dish and with good reason. they tend to be outstanding examples of its category.
ma dang gook soo at 869 western specializes in handmade noodle soups (if i remember correctly). the chicken noodle special is pretty good as is the mandu (dumpling) soup. very hole in the wall-ish.
BCD tofu house right next door does a good version of tofu soup or soon du bu. i always stick with the seafood version and for some reason, i can't get enough of their version of kim chee.
han bat sul lung tang on 5th is apparently THE place to go for sul lung tang, which i think translates to beef marrow soup. pretty good if you're hung over. clear flavorful broth with huge chunks of tender beef and bone. a little metallic, set off by lots of scallions and sea salt.
for bbq, there are dozens of adequate places in the area. many of them i've enjoyed but i've no idea where they are or what their names are. a result of too much soju and hite. however, the well known ones seem to be cho sun gal bi restaurant (on western) for upscale (they also make a mean black cod jigae), soot bul jeep on 8th st for real wood charcoal grilling (beware you WILL come out smelling like smoke and looking like grease and soot - it's more a sceney place these days anyway), and manna with seems to seat 300 people under a permanent tent and offers all you can eat bbq for only $15 (service is non-existant however).
if you're looking for a place with variety that actually does a good job, check out nak won on vermont and olympic. located in a strip mall next to the ever popular hodori, nak won is open 24 hrs and offers everything mentioned above, including some pretty tasty al jigae (spicy cod roe stew), yook gae jang (spicy noodle soup with shredded beef and egg), and those cold chewy buckwheat noodles.
k-town requires a sense of adventure and patience. servers are generally nice with non-koreans but the language barrier is huge. fortunately most places have pictures. but i always see hispanics chowing down and they don't seem to have a problem ordering the right stuff. ;) anyway, good luck and report back! =)
Excellent. Thanks, Lawrence. Ma Dang Gook Soo sounds great; I love handmade noodles and dumplings. And I've never had sul lung tang... will definitely check that out, and I promise to report back. Incidentally, I checked out the Kaju Tofu House in Irvine on Saturday after reading positive Chowhound reviews, but was unimpressed. The panchan was good, and I really liked the bibimbap, but their claim to fame, the soft tofu bowls, lacked flavor. Oh, and they don't serve beer. Only 7-up and Coke from cans. Sad. However, if you're ever in the Irvine area, I can unequivocally recommend Dae Myong Ok (otherwise known as "Korean Restaurant"). Excellent jigae, panchan, bulgogi, o jing um bokum (sp?). Delish.
ah yes, there is quite a debate over those two restaurants. i've been to one of them, can't remember which. BCD's western ave location is better than the wilshire blvd spot, but the soup tends towards watered down broth vs thick and flavorful. so i do agree with you. but it's hard to ignore the fact that they're open 24 hrs and when you have a soon du bu craving...
That's right. I like both and alternate as well, although I always seem to find parking in the So Kong Dong lot my first drive there.
lawrence - I think there is another 24 hr place, but it slips my mind as well. I've been off the soon-tip and on the mexican-tip like at el taureno...haha.
are any of you guys korean? I like to ask korean acquaintances where they go in ktown.
i like saritgol on olympic & serrano. the marinated black cod (Eun Dae Ku Jo Rim?) is awesome - slightly sweet, really tender, served with tender radish too. this place has a homey, smoky atmosphere, it's a fun change from fancier places. has anyone checked it out?
i'm chinese, but my ex was korean and used to live in k-town. we ate in that neighborhood twice a week so i think i'm somewhat qualified to contribute here. =)
saritgol sounds like my kinda place (hole in the wall). will have to look for it. there are so many restaurants in k-town that it's hard to come to a consensus when choosing the best.
i'm korean. i usually go to the following places:
chosun kalbi: for marinated beef. i don't like soot bool jeep that much...too grungy and the beef isn't that good.
myung dong kyo ja (corner of wilshire and normandie?): excellent kal gook soo (flour noodle soup in a beef based broth) and man doo (dumplings).
koreatown plaza: the dumpling place in the food court is excellent.
i'm korean, and i would NEVER go to chosun galbi. meat is not very flavorful, the dipping sauce doesn't help all that much for the price they charge. it's definitely more upscale way to do korean, and the last time i checked, more non-koreans and young koreans patronize the place.
it's a beautiful place, with garden and all, but not a lot of people i know will go back more than once.
park-dae-gam on vermont (corner of vermont and olympic) is great. according to my friend, it is an l.a. branch of a successful restaurant of the same name in the kang-nam area of seoul, korea. it's clean, meat tastes great, but i have to admit, not cheap. close to chosun prices.
If you're looking more for good food than good atmosphere, I'd suggest Corner Place on James Wood at Westmoreland, about two blocks east of Vermont. This is straight KBBQ, I can't say they offer a lot of variety on the menu . . . all the meats I've grilled there have been very good.
This place is VERY simple and all business . . . the service is quick but not the friendliest, and the place has no atmosphere. However the meat is far better than Soot Bull Jeep and I prefer the gas / copper grills here to the charcoal screens at SBJ. Closed Sundays.