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Which Koreatown bbq place has best-quality MEAT?

Liquid Sky Apr 16, 2008 08:04 PM

Hi Hounds,

I want to plan a Korean BBQ AYCE night and was wondering which place had the best-quality meat.

And yes, I do prefer charcoal grills.


  1. Frommtron Apr 19, 2008 02:45 PM

    There isn't much quality difference between Park's, Tahoe, and Chosun. All three have top quality meat that is tender, well-marbled, and fresh. You simply can't go wrong at any of those places if meat quality is what you're after.

    However, only Park's marries the beautiful, soulful experience of real charcoal Korean BBQ with that top quality meat that Chosun and Tahoe serve.

    They really are the best thing going on the LA Korean BBQ scene.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Frommtron
      Mr Taster Apr 20, 2008 12:21 AM

      Just a clarification.... in theory, Tahoe actually is charcoal.... though I've been there a few times when they didn't bother to add any charcoal to the gas grill, and even when they did the charcoal was so deep set into the burner that any smokiness that attached to the meat was purely incidental.

      Mr Taster

      1. re: Mr Taster
        Frommtron Apr 20, 2008 10:02 AM

        Yeah, I was expecting Chosun meets Soot Bul Jeep at Tahoe and was a bit disappointed.

    2. s
      scrabblepark Apr 18, 2008 07:10 PM

      The best meat by far of Koreatown BBQ places may be found at Chung Ki Hwa, located on Olympic, near Arlington. They serve angus beef only. Also they serve the best Naeng Myun (cold buckwheat noodles in beef broth) in the City.

      8 Replies
      1. re: scrabblepark
        mar52 Apr 18, 2008 07:18 PM

        I think I ate at Chung Ki Hwa yesterday. I pulled in to the parking at Park BBQ but I was on the wrong side of the sawhorses and was told so almost immediately. Instead of trying to get back to the other side I drove down to Olympic and turned right.

        The restaurant we ate at had huge picture of a Black Angus cow and calf on the wall.

        We were there for lunch and had the #2 which was Bulgogi and the #3 which was chicken.

        Everything was delicious. We'd never had Korean food before.

        The only thing we didn't eat was what looked like khaki colored jello. We weren't sure how to eat it.

        The sides were plentiful and delcious!

        We'll be back.

        1. re: mar52
          noshie Apr 18, 2008 09:19 PM

          Ipsedixit told me to go to Park's after I was blurry eyed from Soot Bull Jeep, and it was terrific. The quality at Park's was better than Soot Bull Jeep (and better than Sa Rit Gol, although I think Sa Rit Gol has more by way of non-BBQ on the menu) and the Pork X w/out sauce was fantastic. The only thing I missed was the sort of sweet dipping sauce from Soot Bull Jeep, but the sweet potato panchan dish just about balanced that out. I think I am headed for Chosun Galbi next unless someone thinks there is something as good or better and maybe cheaper.

          1. re: noshie
            spkspk Apr 18, 2008 09:32 PM

            FYI, if the sweet potato panchan you're referring to is the one that has sweet potato and acorn squash mixed into a kind of potato salad, they sell it at the Galleria Market. It's one of my favorites.

            1. re: spkspk
              noshie Apr 18, 2008 09:41 PM

              I think thats it. I used to go to Assi Supermarket to pick up BBQ and panchan to take home (they had this great spicy dried squid jerky type stuff you'd buy by weight, I'd eat it on the way home and it would mess up my car). Can you buy different panchan and marinated meats by the weight at Galleria Market?

              1. re: noshie
                spkspk Apr 19, 2008 02:35 PM

                You can buy different panchan and marinated meats by weight at Galleria as well, although not all of the panchan is self-serve and sold by weight. Some of it is pre-packaged.

          2. re: mar52
            Cicely Apr 19, 2008 05:10 PM

            the "jello" stuff is called mook, and it's acorn jelly... actually, I think there are two kinds of mook, not sure which is which. But it's not anything weird like spleen jelly, if that's what you're afraid of. :P It *is* rather difficult to eat with chopsticks, but that's how it's supposed to be done. It usually comes w/ its own sauce.

            1. re: Cicely
              mar52 Apr 19, 2008 10:28 PM

              Thank you! It did have some sort of a salty sauce. It's the only thing I left besides what I think was a soy based condiment.

              I enjoyed it thorougly!

          3. re: scrabblepark
            Liquid Sky Apr 19, 2008 12:46 PM

            Thanks, scrabble!

          4. p
            piglet147 Apr 18, 2008 01:42 PM

            For AYCE, I recommend Hwaro in the Chapman plaza (used to be Intercrew). Its on 6th Street, b/w Alexandria and Kenmore (I think). I generally don't eat AYCE b/c of the quality but after being dragged to Hwaro by a friend, that is the only AYCE place I go to. I think they speak English. If anything, just point.

            1 Reply
            1. re: piglet147
              Liquid Sky Apr 18, 2008 03:08 PM


            2. m
              MeowMixx Apr 18, 2008 12:59 PM

              I also highly recommend Park's for the best-quality meat. Note that this isn't AYCE.

              For the best quality meat FOR AN AYCE PLACE (which doesn't come close to Park's), I would have to say Soot Bul Gui Rim on 6th and Manhattan. It's actually very decent with good banchan, including the steamed egg (gyeran jjim). They also serve cold noodles at the end (naeng myun).

              1. foodmarathon Apr 17, 2008 06:06 PM

                For what it's worth, when acclaimed chef Michael Cimarusti (Providence, Water Grill) was asked "What's the best restaurant we've probably never heard of?" by justoneplate.com he replied Parks Bar-b-que...

                4 Replies
                1. re: foodmarathon
                  veee Apr 17, 2008 11:25 PM

                  does Park's have a korean name?

                  1. re: veee
                    Diana Apr 18, 2008 07:43 AM

                    I thought Park was a korean name. I've known a few Park families.

                    1. re: Diana
                      scrabblepark Apr 18, 2008 07:11 PM

                      Park is a very common Korean name. 40% of all Koreans are Kim, Lee, or Park. It's actually a romanization of "Bak."

                    2. re: veee
                      Das Ubergeek Apr 18, 2008 08:52 AM

                      It's labelled Park's BBQ on the sign -- I suppose the Korean version would be "Park Gogi Gui" but the sign is in English.

                      Park is the "Johnson" of Korea -- a hugely popular last name second only really to Kim.

                  2. ellaystingray Apr 17, 2008 04:32 PM

                    For pork belly, Honey Pig. Just beware you need to know what you are doing. They are very nice, but not trying to cater to the non-Korean speaking clientle. We actually brought a printout of Jonathan Gold's review of them as a cheat sheet, and we needed it.

                    1. SauceSupreme Apr 17, 2008 08:56 AM

                      Not AYCE nor charcoal, but add me to the chorus of those that recommend Park's for the quality of the meat (and really great banchan also, which is th real measure of a Korean for me).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: SauceSupreme
                        liu Apr 17, 2008 04:17 PM

                        It is my understanding that they rotate their banchan selections; this makes it even more enticing for repeated visits!

                      2. Mr. Gohan Apr 17, 2008 12:37 AM

                        Although they don't have charcoal grills. I thought Chosun Galbee was pretty good. Not the best but definitely good.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Mr. Gohan
                          Clinton Apr 17, 2008 09:05 AM

                          Was there a couple of weeks ago for dinner. Their kalbi meat was very good and tender. Kind of pricey but the service and side dishes were great. They also have valet parking.

                        2. ipsedixit Apr 16, 2008 08:55 PM

                          Park's has the best meat hands down.

                          But it is not AYCE.

                          The panchan, as in all Korean BBQ joints, is always refilled gratis.

                          If you want AYCE, sorry but can't help you out. I usually stick to either Park's or Soot Bull Jeep.

                          If you end up at Park's make sure to order Pork X ... it borders on a life-changing experience.

                          1. liu Apr 16, 2008 08:12 PM

                            Hello, Liquid Sky!
                            I think Park's BBQ in Koreatown does a terrific job:


                            Park's BBQ
                            955 S. Vermont Avenue
                            Los Angeles

                            12 Replies
                            1. re: liu
                              Liquid Sky Apr 16, 2008 08:16 PM

                              Thanks, liu!

                              1. re: Liquid Sky
                                liu Apr 16, 2008 08:21 PM

                                Park's is not pretty inside like some of the other more upscale Korean restaurants; its style is pleasant-cafeteria. But the service is very gracious and helpful, and the banchan (panchan) are always different and plentiful. Their meats are excellent! Also, I believe that they use a modern form of charcoal (perhaps a combo of charcoal and gas) and you won't leave smelling like a BBQ grill!
                                I wouldn't hesitate to take anyone there...it's a fun evening!
                                Call ahead to make your plans...and I suggest reservations!

                                1. re: liu
                                  Liquid Sky Apr 16, 2008 08:31 PM

                                  What about Cham Gut Sol?

                                  Also, are both of these places all-you-can-eat??

                                  P.S. I don't speak Korean, so I don't know if that will make a different regarding service at these places.

                                  1. re: Liquid Sky
                                    liu Apr 16, 2008 08:39 PM

                                    Sorry, I don't know anything about Cham Gut Sol.
                                    I do not believe that Park's is AYCE; however, they are very generous with their portions and I do believe that they will refill your side dishes (a meal in themselves!).
                                    Also, be sure to order their Korean pancake (someone will give us the name...I don't remember...but it is delicious and very filling).

                                    Not speaking Korean does not seem to be an issue at Park's or any other Korean restaurant that we have enjoyed. Park's servers speak English to varying degrees and they will go out of their way to assist you and your guests!

                                    1. re: liu
                                      Das Ubergeek Apr 17, 2008 08:10 AM

                                      The pancake is called p'ajeon (pah-JAWN) and if you get the seafood pancake, which I definitely recommend, it's haemul p'ajeon (hay-mool pah-JAWN).

                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                        liu Apr 17, 2008 04:14 PM

                                        Yes, it's the seafood pancake that I highly recommended above.
                                        Thanks, Das Ubergeek!

                                    2. re: Liquid Sky
                                      Diana Apr 17, 2008 10:25 AM

                                      "all you can eat" and "best quality meat" are tow terms that rarely go together. There is "All you can eat" and "reasonable good meat"
                                      Ther is "All you can eat" and "inedible meat", and there is "NOT all yu can eat" and "the best quality meat"

                                      1. re: Diana
                                        Servorg Apr 17, 2008 10:33 AM

                                        That is all true. But when I carefully parse the OP's post it's not clear to me that they are looking specifically for a "one price for ayce" restaurant, but could be talking about finding a restaurant with great quality meat and spending the necessary money to achieve a blow it out meal of K bbq (paying the price for each and every order of bulgogi and kalbi that they aim to consume).

                                        1. re: Servorg
                                          Mr Taster Apr 17, 2008 04:32 PM

                                          Tahoe Galbi has incredible (guess....?) galbi... beautifully zebra striped meat which just pops with juice when you bite into it.

                                          A few months ago, we went twice in one week because we enjoyed the first experience so much. On our second visit, we opted for their AYCE special at $17 per person...

                                          But be warned-- the AYCE galbi we received seemed a little.... well, shall we say "not nearly as good." The rest of the meat was passable to insipid (lots of shaved frozen meat).

                                          As Diana said above, AYCE and best quality meat don't go together. Go to Tahoe, but order your galbi ala carte.

                                          Mr Taster

                                          Tahoe BBQ
                                          3986 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010

                                          1. re: Mr Taster
                                            Liquid Sky Apr 19, 2008 02:27 PM

                                            I appreciate that, Taster. Thanks!

                                      2. re: Liquid Sky
                                        bagdoodle Apr 18, 2008 07:24 AM

                                        Don't know of any "Cham Gut Sol". Could it be "Cham Sut Gol?" If so, and if it's the same as the one in Garden Grove, then it's probably quite excellent. Both the meat and the panchan at the Garden Grove Cham Sut Gol are outstanding.

                                        1. re: bagdoodle
                                          lohmaigai Nov 18, 2008 06:53 PM

                                          Koreans pronounce it SamGyupSal

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