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Feb 19, 2008 05:15 PM

Where to take "beginners" for Korean BBQ?

My in-laws, who live in upstate New York, will be in the area for a couple weeks. They are open to all kinds of food but are limited by where they live (very small town near Lake Placid). As far as I know, neither has ever tried Korean BBQ. I'd love to take them while they are here but I'm sort of a beginner myself--I have gone several times and loved it, but always with experts from work who pick the place and order. So I'm looking for a user-friendly Korean BBQ place for first-timers. I don't think, for example, Soot Bull Jeep would be the right spot. However, I do want a place that's legit so they get the real experience. Would Park's fit the bill?

I know many of you 'hounds are experts in the field of Korean BBQ, so I'd love your help here!

Thanks in advance,


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  1. I was about to recommend Soot Bull Jeep. I've taken many a first timer there and they've loved it. (I also spent a year living just outside of Lake Placid - I even took some Lake Placidians to Soot Bull Jeep once and they were among the ones who loved it.)

    1. Chosun Galbee is one of the more common 'first-timer' places. It's pretty good, has a really nice atmosphere & decor vs. other Korean BBQ places, and has a high whitey ratio.

      8 Replies
      1. re: ElJeffe

        Agree with Chosun Galbee. It's one of the high-end Korean BBQ places. Meat is of good quality, although a bit pricey. The servers actually speak English which I find very helpful for non-Korean speakers.

        1. re: fdb

          yah, I think chosun galbee or park's is probably best for a "beginner"

          1. re: ns1

            Chosun Galbee? Yes, good for beginners.

            Park's BBQ ... not so much.

            Might also consider an all-you-can-eat place as a "beginnger" type Korean BBQ. Check our fellow 'hound Bon Vivant's recent review of just one such place:

            1. re: ipsedixit

              I don't see why not?

              esp. since you don't have to do anything at Park's but order.

              1. re: ns1

                "you don't have to do anything at Park's but order"

                Hmm, and how is this different from just 'bout any other Korean BBQ joint?

                When I say Park's is not good for a beginner, I'm just looking out for the beginner. When all you have is a learner's permit, you don't want your first car to be a Porsche ... it'll ruin you for all the other cars you're bound to drive the rest of your life once you get a real driver's license.

            2. re: ns1

              A fourth vote for Chosun Galbee. It's attractive, well-run, accessible to non-Koreans, and the food has been quite good in our experience. Here is their website:


              If for some reason you didn't want to go to Koreatown, you could also consider the new Koba on the westside at Sawtelle and National, which struck me as a very good place for newbies. But it's not in the same league food-wise as Chosun Galbee.

              Park's BBQ
              955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

              Chosun Galbi Restaurants
              3330 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019

              Koba House BBQ
              11267 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

              1. re: PayOrPlay

                i agree on chosun

                i think the main reason is that a) the atmosphere is alot nicer than most ktown restaurants (esp versus a place like soot bull jeep) and b) english is widely spoken here. Hence, I think it makes people not used to a korean restaurant more comfortable. I generally think that american people value atmosphere more highly relative to most asian people, so the atmosphere makes it alot easier to just think about the food.

                1. re: PayOrPlay

                  Was very unhappy with Koba on National. Did not think the food was exceptional, have had much better Korean BBQ elsewhere.


          2. I dipped my unfamiliar East Coast toe into the Korean BBQ waters years ago by a few trips to Woo Lae Oak in Beverly Hills. I can't speak for Parks or Koba but for out of towners you get a relatively reasonable BH meal as well as the Korean BBQ experience. It's also not nearly as smoky as Soot Bull Jeep and a nicer room by far as well. Good luck!

            1. as a korean in LA i'm happy cuz the best korean food in the country really is in LA. :) i have to agree with pinotplease and the others that woo lae ok and cho sun are the two best bets for non-korean first timers. try having the cold noodle at woo lae ok with the galbi and the marinated crab as an appetizer/side dish at cho sun.

              1. Excellent! Sounds like Chosun Galbee is the right call. For future reference, what is Park's like? I think my husband and I would like to try that another time ourselves. I've never been to Park's so didn't understand the comments about it. Thanks.

                2 Replies
                1. re: meganinlosfeliz

                  Park's isn't crazy or anything, its just a regular korean restaurant but its probably not as "first time" friendly as a place like cho sun, which is much nicer (decor wise) and more english friendly

                  i think if you go to yelp, they have pictures of it

                  1. re: meganinlosfeliz

                    Yeah, I don't understand the comments about it either... we took a couple of newbies to parks a couple of weeks ago and they LOVED it!! Great selection of meats and panchan. With us as guides (An Irish lad and Chicana Chica) we ate VERY very well that night! They raved and look forward to trying other Korean foods... :)