koba- korean food in west la
does anybody know about the korean bbq restaurant on national and sawtelle?(supplanting that nasty fake vietnamese red moon restaurant). it's not open yet but they have all the furniture and vents in place. i will be SO friggin happy if it's good since 1) i'm korean and 2) it's down the street from me.
my restaurant map:
We tried Koba for dinner tonight. It was pretty good, albeit somewhat toned down for a westside environment. The decor is pleasant; in-table grills are gas and the vents seem to be blowing strong so there's no smokiness or meaty scents in the air and it's almost chilly from the breeze. Drinks menu was fairly limited (we stuck to ice tea and calpico).
But we liked the food we tried: a 9-ingredient lettuce wrap plate with crab, chicken, and assorted other fillings, a smallish but very good seafood pancake; and pork belly and boneless rib meat on the grill, both of them very tender and very tasty.
With tax and tip this came to about $70, which is perhaps a little expensive by K-Town standards. Panchan was not extensive but certainly satisfactory. Clientele on this Sunday night looked to be maybe 2/3 Korean. Anyway, it's very nice to have Korean BBQ (as distinct from Japanese-Korean BBQ ala Manpuku/Gyu Kaku)on the westside.
Koba House BBQ
11267 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064
A few supplemental observations about Koba, in the light of day:
1. We were just 2 adults and one 6-year old, albeit a hungrier-than-usual one. Collectively we ate every bite of food on the table, including all the panchan. That may be testimony for the quality of the food (and the meat was indeed quite good), but also that the portions were a little small relative to that $70 price.
2. If you don't eat red meat, the meats-for-the-grill menu doesn't have much to offer you. Cynaburst was hankering for some good marinated grilled chicken but they don't offer it--the only bird item on the grilled-meat list was a spicy chicken concoction labeled "made in kitchen." That's why she ended up with the lettuce-wrap plate, which she liked, but it obviously didn't have the savor of burning flesh. There are various non-meat selections on other parts of the menu, and they do offer grilled shrimp, pork belly (which we got) and spicy "made in kitchen" pork, but mainly it's beef. beef, beef. Not a problem for me, but if dead cow's not your thing be aware.
3. PayOrPlay Jr. loved this place. I mention this because in my experience Korean BBQ restaurants can be a little intimidating for little kids (especially, but maybe not only, non-Korean kids), what with the stacks of plates and strange-looking appetizers and dangerously hot surfaces and scary-red chili sauces. PayOrPlay Jr. is familiar with Korean food, but it's mainly from the various K-Town food courts, and this was the first time he really seemed to enjoy a sit-down Korean restaurant meal that wasn't soon tofu. Maybe he was just hungry (and happily he's getting more adventurous as he gets older), but I noticed kids at other tables who also seemed to be enjoying themselves. So maybe Koba, less frantic and smoky than some, is a good choice for introducing Korean cuisine to kids. Once they're hooked, then you can take them somewhere more authentic like Soot Bull Jeep!
i walked in and looked at the menu. the place seems fairly nice but it was pretty empty. the food is a tad more than ktown but it IS in the westside, soo...
however, they have korean shabu shabu, aka "jingis kahn" and i am super excited to try that. their non bbq menu is fairly extensive and since i live down the street (and am korean), i'm really hoping that it's good so i can get my quick korean fixes.
can't wait to try this place. i've been craving korean bbq but am too lazy to drive to Ktown. do they refill the panchan? how is their kalbi, bulgogi, etc?