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Korean BBQ place that uses charcoal???

Alright, a new friend of mine insists that the Korean BBQ in NYC is better. With the largest Korean population outside of Korea right here in L.A., I'm gonna try to prove him wrong. Trouble is, I don't know much about Korean food, but I do like it quite a bit.

He wants a place that uses charcoal. I know of Soot Bull Jeep and Park's BBQ. I've also heard good things about Ham Ji Park although I don't know if they use charcoal. Tell me what you can about these 3 places. Which one should I take my friend, too? What should we order? Do you have any other places to recommend??


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  1. We've tried several in the area and keep coming back to Soot Bull Jeep. We like it the best, and the least expensive. We go early, the ladies don't speak a lot of english but they give us good service. Love the beef and the short ribs, but was disappointed in the tongue, needed some kind of marinade. Enjoy

    1. Park BBQ is my favorite for charcoal grilling.

      I used to be a Soot Bull Jeep die-hard, and although I still like the place, I find the meat dishes better at Park.

      1. So, ipsedixit, what do you recommend specifically at Park's? My friend mentioned kalbi, bulgogi, bibimbap, and neng myun specifically.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hch_nguyen

          try the tokyo x pork belly. also the galbi tang. they charge extra for kimchi. strange.

          1. re: hch_nguyen

            Tokyo X and the Kobe beef.

            Bring your MasterCard, two in fact. But you'll thank me later.


          2. I have said this before and I will say it again. My last meal on earth is going to be at Soot Bull Jeep. Their kalbi is to die for. So much more flavor than any other Korean BBQ place I've been to (I've eaten in SF, SD and LA, not NY). I've taken my husband, mother, brother, brother's baby's mama, friends, lovers, everyone I know in LA to Soot Bull Jeep. Parking is a pain but if you are up to eating kick ass Korean BBQ during lunch on weekends, you'll be guaranteed a parking spot in their coveted parking lot strip. Remember to wear clothes from the hamper, the charcoal meat will stick to you and you will not be suitable for public afterward. So either go immediately home and shower, or just immediately hole up in K-town's many private karaoke rooms. Karaoke will always love you, no matter how bad you smell.

            With that said, I haven't tried Ham Ji Park but I will now if there's a possibility of having an even better last meal on earth experience.

            2 Replies
            1. re: amoretignis

              I love Soot Bull Jeep, #1 and #2 on the menu.

              I want to go to Park. From the Times review, I take it that each order of meat is 1 pound, which would make it difficult and expensive to try different things if there are only two of you.
              Can someone confirm or reject this notion of their serving sizes.

              1. re: Wolfgang

                Dunno the weight of the meat at Park's, but for modest to light eaters, 2 people can definitely share one order of meat. For the more ravenous types, 3 people can easily be satiated with 2 orders of meat. Unless you just came back from hiking the Himalayas, a 1:1 ratio would most likely be much too much food. Plus, don't forget all that panchan ....

            2. soot bul gui rim is a combo charcoal/gas joint. that is if AYCE kbbq is your thing.

              1. Park's is my favorite. I've been to Soot Bull Jeep and although it's really good, I just like Park's better. I usually get the kobe style beef, saeng galbi (unmarinated galbi) and pork belly. Haven't tried their naengmyun but I do see a lot of people ordering it. One of the great things about Park's is their banchan. Good variety and they're all very very good.

                Other charcoal places that are good (and cheaper) are Su Won Soot Bul Galbi and Cham Sut Gol.

                1 Reply
                1. re: MeowMixx

                  Of Soot Bul Gui Rim, Su Won Soot Bul Galbi and Cham Sut Gol, which would you recommend? I will probably check at least one of these places out in the next week, if not this weekend. Are the prices comparable?

                2. Soot Bull Jeep! Good Kalbi, not so good tongue. Tongue is supposed to be cut thin, almost like carpaccio. But theirs is thick. Too chewy. After eating a few, my jaw was getting sore

                  1. Thanks, everyone. In addition, can someone give me an idea on price point at Soot Bull Jeep and Park's??? It probably won't influence my choice, but it would be nice to know.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: hch_nguyen

                      No drinks.

                      Parks - budget about 50-60/person
                      Soot Bull Jeep - about 30/person

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Thanks for the price breakdown. I assumed Parks was cheaper than Soot Bull Jeep, for some reason. Do you end up smelling like charcoal afterwards at Parks?

                        1. re: katkoupai

                          Not as bad as at Soot Bull Jeep. Ventilation seems to be much better at Park's.

                          1. re: LJY

                            I've been to Soot Bull Jeep about 10 times, most times with one other person, a girl who eats almost as much as I do. We get two beef entrees that are 17 or 18 each and that is plenty of food for two people.

                            1. re: Wolfgang

                              Not bad, pricewise. I'm a little worried about the "smell" issue though. Everyone writes that you end up smelling really bad after eating at the charcoal bbq places.

                              1. re: katkoupai

                                nothing two showers before heading to bed and a good drycleaner can't take care of. =)

                                1. re: katkoupai

                                  I always put my hair up in a bun at dinenr - that kinda keeps the smell from getting into your hair.

                                  If you're planning on going somewhere after, I'd definitely bring a separate shirt. or wear something over it.

                                  1. re: MeowMixx

                                    Okay, thanks for the tips wilafur and MeowMixx. These places do sound good, and I appreciate all your input on this and other posts re. Korean food.

                          2. re: ipsedixit

                            $50-60 at Park's with no drinks? How much are you eating? :)

                            The meat ranges from $20-25(I think) per order.

                            1. re: MeowMixx

                              We usually get Kobe beef and perhaps the special pork, and we NEVER leave the place without an order of seafood pa jun. It adds up pretty quick.

                              But we do take food home, though.


                        2. I love Soot Bull Jeep, and while all the meats are very good, I think my favorite item there is actually the marinated shrimp. Fortunately, a lot of people opt to "save room" for the beef (and rightfully so) but it just means more shrimp for me!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: SauceSupreme

                            The shrimp sounds good. I've never had shrimp at Korean bbq, but now I really want to try it.

                          2. Thanks, everyone! I'm gonna go with Soot Bull Jeep, as a result of the recommendations on this post and also because a Korean friend at work as well as a Korean friend at school both suggested Soot Bull Jeep. I'll report back after next week. We're gonna go with the following, but I reserve the right to change my mind at any time depending on what my belly tells me.

                            1) beef kalbi (marinated)
                            2) bulgogi
                            3) neng myun

                            maybe a bibimbap if we can handle it. Might be a bit much for 2 people depending on what the servings are like.

                            hmmm...I wonder if I ought to just skip lunch that day??? .....man I so wish my appetite weren't so much bigger than my stomach....chowhound schizophrenia....

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: hch_nguyen

                              One of the things we always get at the end of our meal at Soot Bull Jeep is their kimchee bap. It's basically cold rice, mixed in with cold water kimchee. It's very refreshing after eating all that meat and inhaling all the smoke :)