Winging it in K-Town?
Some friends and I had a blast on cinco de mayo in Little Tokyo -- art in the streets, fish tacos, walked the bridge over the LA river, grilled meat at Kokekokko. It all ended with a night cap at a lonely bar. We sampled every thing they had at Kokekokko took hours and several pitchers of beer (eating grilled chicken hearts is sorta like chewing chicken flavored bubble gum). When the wings came last they were so tasty we got our appetite back and had to order more.
Next week we'd like to hit 2 or 3 places in K-Town for wings. Dive-y hidden places, dark and smoky places, where we can eat wings, drink beer, and walk to the next place.
I like BonChon and KyoChon but they don't fit the bill. OB Bear and The Prince sorta do.
What I'm looking for is more places like Dan Sung Sa and Dwit Gol Mok. Any ideas?
3833 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020
360 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
3198 W Seventh St, Los Angeles, CA 90005
Dan Sung SA
3317 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020
Little Tokyo Restaurant
150 E Bonita Ave, San Dimas, CA 91773
My agenda was to take new friends to new places where we could drink beer, eat spicy wings, and smoke inside. Turns out everyone had their own idea for the night -- but I got exactly what I wanted. Places listed in order of the evening:
1. Beer Belly - We arrived when they opened at 5pm. Super friendly staff. We met Jimmy the owner as we left and sang him our praises. They have a flight of 4 beer's for $8 during happy hour. We liked the wings and the duck fries. Forgot to order a deep fried Oreo. The cleanest place of the night. Not a dive. Just a couple of parking spots -- no fee. You can control the music with your iPhone.
2. Dan Sung Sa (the Kim Jong-il place) - $2 valet parking. It was early, maybe 6:15, and the quietest I've ever seen it. Because it was so quiet we got Carol the gregarious server all to ourselves. We had a bunch of skewers -- gizzards, and other stuff in the chitterlin' territory which some of us liked and I thought was fine. The wings were tasty. The dumbbell's (seaweed noodle things) were amazing. Carol recommended we try a raspberry soju along with our several large bottles of Hite Beer -- the soju was too sweet bit we drank some of it and smuggled the remainder out -- not sure why. Now it sits in my fridge, untouched. Dan Sung Sa feels like a set from MASH. The setting is unique: wood, graffiti, old dented pots and pans.
3. Dwit Gol Mok/DGM - The only new place to me. A short walk from Dan Sung Sa. And where Dan Sung Sa was empty DGM was packed. They have a $2 lot on Berendo. You walk inside an unassuming door with a railing, pass through a dark courtyard, climb several impossibly stained steps and enter a version of Blade Runner. The restaurant is compartmentalized. There is a terrace, and lots of wood. It's dark and smoky. Why? because people are smoking. Not everyone, my friends glared at me, but it felt great to walk inside a bar smoking (just like the old days) but then they started eating (and drinking some new kind of milky carbonated soju -- they forgot to complain). Because the menu is completely in Korea and written on a wooden plank I have no idea what we ordered. The wings were probably the best of the evening and served with a tangy sauce. On of us thought the rice noodle with spicy tofu dish was the best thing he's had in awhile. Seemed like half the place was Korean college girls eating in pairs and wearing sweats -- study break? A couple little kids. We made friends with the couple next to us -- 40 year old acupuncturists -- and I had to drag my friends out the door to OB Bear.
4. OB Bear - Can't remember the walk. Less than ten minutes from DGM. Been here before. The only place with a buzzer on the table AND we sat at the bar. They do in fact serve OB Beer but only in bottles where they have other non-Korean beers and Hite draft. No one wanted food but I ordered wings surreptitiously and when they arrived a few were eaten. These wings were very different from the simple fried ones at DGM and Dan Sung Sa. These are goopy, spicy, and sweet. Sorta like the wings at the place next to Jumbo's Clown room but only not as good (where I think their they only serve them at lunch). The upstairs was closed so the ground floor was very busy. I tried smoking but they laughed and said no. We called a taxi and left for The Brass Monkey.
5. Brass Monkey karaoke bar - Not planned. Our first strong drinks of the night. Someone ordered warm nuts and some one poured ice cubes down the back of my shirt. We forget to order an food. I made it home and the next morning found half an order of OB Bear wings and 3/4 of a bottle of raspberry soju in my fridge.
I can't wait to go back to DGM. Later in the night and with more of an appetite.
Add Mazinga Z (or whatever the hell it's called these days) & Hite Kwang-Jang for wings + beer + drunk Koreans.
The wooden paneling at BBQ Chicken Ranchero keeps it pretty dark, and well, the Koreans keep it pretty smoky. They have wings with varying degrees of spiciness.
Toe Bang isn't as smoky as it used to be, but they do serve wings.
Jongno is super dark, and they rock a 50% happy hour until 9pm, daily. While I can't remember specific wings, they do a straight whole tung dalk that's OK. It has 2 wee wings.
I've been to the last 3 iterations of (before, and after) Kkol-Tong. That's gotta be some of the worst food to be served, even for a pochang macha, in Ktown.
Between those 5, surely you can eke out a walking itin?
Toe Bang Cafe
3465 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020
What about hitting up Kkol-Tong?
ADD: I just took a look and I guess the name (and ownership probably) has changed to "BBuh Ggu Gi" so I don't know if the recommendation is still good or not. Let us know if you go and what the wings are like now...
865 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005