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KOREATOWN - LA Dish of the Month (October 2013)

KOREATOWN - LA Dish of the Month (October 2013)

The dish of the month for Los Angeles for October is Koreatown.

Here's a link to the voting thread:

The goal is to collectively try as many different dishes, foods, restaurants, drinks, and just good eats that can be found generally in/around Koreatown.* And there is absolutely no restriction that the food/drinks have to be Korean -- it can be anything as long as it is in Koreatown. And, it goes without saying, that telling us of fabulous places to eat that you've been to in the past is great, and recounting vivid memories of walking out of some Korean dive bar in a drunken stupor at 4:23 a.m. is also fun, but what we want are real-live, current progress reports of what you are eating and drinking.

So let's start exploring and eating—report back with reviews and photos.

(*We've never really settled the boundaries of Koreatown, so I'm just going to refer to previous discussion about this and say for purposes of the DotM that Koreatown is the neighborhood defined either by Wiki, LA Times or Yelp. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9180...)

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  1. ipse, when do you sleep? I just got up to use the bathroom and get a drink of water. Back to bed...

    1. Here is a thread with some interesting recs for K-Town:


      Basically all of the dishes in the voting thread can be found here: soup, sausage, shellfish, fried chicken...

      4 Replies
        1. re: Ciao Bob

          That's the one! Thought I book marked that one but couldn't find it in my favorites. Thanks for the great link.

            1. re: Ciao Bob

              Hi Bob,
              Off topic: I started a thread on the Italy board asking for recommendations in Napoli. We'll see where it leads.

      1. I tried the new Doni Burger on the 3rd floor of Madang Courtyard last night. It's a Korea-based fast food chain related to Korean celebrity Jung Hyung-Don (much like Baekjeong is Kang Hodong's KBBQ chain). It's really nice to see Madang Plaza finally busy several years after opening. I got a Doni Jr., which was about the size of a McDonald's Quarter Pounder. It cost $5 for the burger alone (ouch!) but it actually tasted pretty juicy and flavorful. A few of items on the menu are not available yet and the staff still seemed a bit disorganized. They were very polite and attentive though.

        A couple of weeks ago (I know, not real time), I tried The GangJung, which is located next to Doni Burger and also just opened in September. Their specialty is a popcorn chicken like dish, coated with different sauces. It was really awful. The chicken pieces were a bit big to be considered popcorn chicken and even with the sauces drenching the chicken, the actual chicken meat tasted especially bland. They also served me the blandest fries ever (I'm sure salt would've helped but they didn't provide any).

        4 Replies
        1. re: yizhang

          Mandang is pretty happening right now... They also have a Daiso in the center now (Which just made me SO SO SO Happy!).

          Next to the center is Chocolate Chair. A wanna be chain of places that makes their own ice cream fresh. Yes, fresh. How? They basically pour a base into a kitchenaid and then blast freeze it. It's quite impressive (And the ice cream pretty good!)



          1. re: Dommy

            Agreed, Chocolate Chair's ice cream is very delicious and extra creamy. It's a bit pricey for everyday consumption but it's a fun place to try. The layout is kind of funny though. It's literally inisde The Face Shop.

            It's awesome to have a Daiso in Ktown; this one is smaller than most.

              1. re: kevin

                It's the Japanese equivalent of a 99 Cent store. Everything is $1.50 and there are some very cool Japanese goodies. A lot of people love the socks there.

        2. Myung In Dumplings on Olympic Blvd. A couple of months ago I saw Anthony Bourdain show and had to try it. Now I am a regular.

          Today I had the Wang mandoo and spicy shrimp dumplings. An inexpensive and filling meal!!

          8 Replies
          1. re: gr8pimpin

            Is that the exact name ?

            Are the shrimp dumplings purely shrimp or is there pork in there too ????


            1. re: kevin

              Shrimp and vegetables.

              Dommy is right... the shumai is really good, but more like a gyoza than chinese shu mai.

              I think I have had every dumpling on the menu and you can't go wrong.

              Yes, that is the exact name...



              1. re: gr8pimpin

                I would fucking love this place.

                Shrimp mandu ???

                I'm so fucking there.

              1. re: gr8pimpin

                Speaking of that Bourdain show, I'm very tempted to use this DOM as an excuse to hit the Sizzler and make that taco they did and also order lots of the bread. Lol!

                1. re: Jase

                  LOL! Lets just say, I have it on good authority that you can do that pretty much at any Sizzler... They have adapted quite well to their multi-ethnic clientelle. Heck, even the one in Culver City makes a pretty passable Menudo on the weekends...


                  1. re: Dommy

                    Is the menudo part of the AYCE salad bar? That would be pretty amusing to see if it was. How much menudo could someone actually put away? I think I have a healthy appetite and always order the large bowl whenever I get it and I'm done after I finish the bowl.

                    1. re: Jase

                      Yes. All you eat Menudo... and people were THRILLED. LOL!!

              2. ipse, please see this subthread in the Voting thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9180.... Looks like we might have a Florida 2000 situation after all. :-( With Jase's vote for FRIED CHICKEN, that means it ties with K-TOWN for first. How do you want to resolve this issue?

                7 Replies
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Voter fraud!!!! I keed, I keed.

                      1. re: Jase

                        It's tough, and I empathize Jase.

                        It's why I cannot vote on these. I'm sure we'll get Fried Chicken in there one of these months, but given the strong enthusiasm for Koreatown, I thought it would be interesting as an inaugural experiment, if nothing else.

                        Keep up the good fight.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Can I keep up the silly fight and nominate fufu every month?

                          1. re: Jase

                            I like the Korean fried chicken can we agree on that? Ob bear. Kyoshon wings.

                    2. The steamed cod dish at Jun Won is perfection to a ridiculous degree: flaky, tender meat that melts instantly away on the tongue, a deep, thick, red-brown, spicy, mole-like sauce, and translucent turnips holding the whole thing up like rich wriggly bricks.

                      $26 but extremely share-able between two people, what with the endless banchan, savory mushroom broth, and bean-augmented rice.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: hannahenenbach

                        AGREED. Jun Won also has fantastic banchan! i used to exclusively order the spicy squid / pollack casserole but ever since i've had the cod I can't not order it...

                      2. Pollo A La Brasa at 8th and Western has fantastic Peruvian roast chicken. Its cooked over wood in a large open oven which gives it a great smokey taste and smell. Get it to go with fresh corn tortillas, hot green chilli sauce, rice and beans. You know its good, cuz there are always cops eating there!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Thor123


                          The juice spot by the Guelaguetza family.

                        2. Will do Ondal or Ondal 2 on Sunday. Ondal 2 supposedly is slightly better but several blocks outside of K-town borders. I'll defer to the board if Ondal 2 counts. If not, I will do Ondal 1 to keep it K-town kosher.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Porthos

                            Ondal 2 is better.

                            I defer whether Ondal 2 is Koreatown.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              That's it. Not sacrificing chow for location and vice versa.

                              Will hit Won Jo Kokerang Agurang in K-town proper. May be better than both Ondals from what minimal info I can gather.

                            2. re: Porthos

                              I'm pretty sure it's not kosher.

                              Isn't it a crab dish ?????

                                1. re: Porthos

                                  Too meta! :-) I almost missed it... Though you didn't use enough question marks.

                            3. Last night we tried Kang Hodong Baekjeong restaurant. We usually go to Park's but decided to go with a coworkers recommendation instead. After putting in our name and discovering it was a two hour wait, we walked over to the HMS Bounty for a couple (yowza strong) drinks.

                              At Kang Hodong Baekjeon we ended up ordering the beef combo which came with brisket, marinated and un-marinated short rib, and a kimchi stew. We also ordered the pork belly. My coworker has been to Park's but said Kang Hodong Baekjeon was better. Needless to say, I was disappointed. It was good, but I think Park's has a better quality of meat and there are WAY more sides. Also, the bbq area is bigger at Park's. Here the meat is kind of all crowded together on the smaller bbq. The pancake at Park's is also much better. I will say the pork belly was pretty good. But overall, Park's has them beat.

                              After dinner, we walked over to Chocolate Chair and had a couple scoops of ice cream and a banana split. I'm not a big ice cream person (gasp!) but I liked it. It was fun to watch them make it.

                              Kang Hodong Baekjeon
                              3465 W 6th St, Ste 20, Los Angeles, CA 90020

                              Chocolate Chair
                              Madang Plaza, 621 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: calpurnia

                                as a parks devotee i've always wondered how KHB compared. that first pic looks really over-crowded =X

                                1. re: ns1

                                  parks reigns supreme in beef but khd reigns in pork...no contest.

                              2. Won Jo Kokerang Agurang today.

                                Got the spicy seafood soup because we were too lazy to pick at crabs. Added the seafood pancake which was excellent. Grilled kalbe was tough.

                                The seafood stew came with giant clam, baby octopus, cod roe, cod milt (sperm sac), squid, shrimp, scallops, and crab. The baby octopus was the tastiest. Clam was too tough. Best part was the broth even in this heat wave.

                                Afterward they stir fry some rice with sesame oil and a couple of spoons of left over soup. Outstanding. Possibly the best part.

                                Really good eats. Just driving up Western there are a plethora of good places: live sashimi, Pollo a la brasa, the soondae place.

                                Won Jo Kokerang Agurang
                                533 S Western Ave
                                Los Angeles, CA 90004

                                1. I went out today at lunch intent on doing my D(N)otM duties and discovering a new Chow-worth place that I could share with everyone. I didn't look up any places her or Yelp before leaving; I wanted to come at this cold.

                                  The mission started auspiciously: with hardly any traffic on the 10, I made it from my work (west of the 405) to Normandie in ~10 minutes. However things went downhill fairly quickly from there, due to a few main reasons:

                                  1. A ton of street traffic making it difficult to navigate around K-Town, a neighborhood I'm already fairly unfamiliar with. (Why are you honking? I can't drive 5 MPH on Western while gawking at strip malls?!)

                                  2. Hardly any parking in the lots of various strip malls that looked interesting. (What? I can't double-park and block parked cars while walking door-to-door to look for good eats?)

                                  3. My inability to read Korean and the lack of English signs on many store fronts that indicated what type of food they served. (What? I can't use my iPhone to try to translate the Hangul signs while either driving at 5 MPH or blocking cars in strip malls?)

                                  I ended up retreating to Koreatown Plaza, where I had gotten some soondae just before K-TOWN D(N)otM started (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9183...), and picked up an al chigae from Plaza Han Shik in the same food court.

                                  My expectations tempered (though of course there are hidden gems in food courts, like the original Mo-Chica), I brought the al chigae back to work and gave it a try. The banchan was just alright, with the kongnamul muchim (seasoned bean sprouts) being the best of the bunch and the kimchi being the worst.

                                  The al chigae itself was passable. I'm used it it being more stew-like, but the broth was very clear here. It was properly spicy and had a generous amount of roe. For $12.99, it wasn't too bad.

                                  I'm thinking of being less intrepid and having more of a plan of attack next time, particularly because I really need to be able to get in and out of K-Town quickly to stay within my lunch break.

                                  4 Replies
                                    1. re: PeterCC

                                      What kind of a lunch break do you have from work ?

                                      Basically, how many hours do you get off to travel in the pursuit of exceptional eats ?????

                                      1. re: kevin

                                        I get an hour but my time is flexible, so I can take lunch from 2-3p if I wanted to, to avoid the lunch rush. For my K-Town excursions, the plan is ~15 minutes drive there, ~30 minutes to procure food, ~15 minutes to get back to work. If I want to go farther away, I might budget 20/20/20 for each "phase" or shorten the procurement phase by ordering ahead.

                                        Yes, that means that, for these excursions, I end up eating at my desk while working.

                                        1. re: PeterCC

                                          I see you procure the food and then eat at your desk.

                                          Doesn't sound like a bad place to work.

                                          Where and are they hiring ?????

                                    2. I'm eating some cold "deli" items from the Koreatown Plaza Market that I bought yesterday:

                                      * Kongnamul Muchim (Seasoned Beansprouts)
                                      * Chun Yub Muchin (Seasoned Tripe)
                                      * Seasoned Jellyfish (No romanized Korean name available)

                                      Again, tempering expectations for supermarket food, I found the jellyfish and tripe to be somewhat off. The former had a nice wasabi kick but was somewhat gritty. The tripe was a little less clean tasting than I was used to.

                                      The sprouts were probably better than the other two but still rather mediocre. The sprouts from the place that I got the al chigae yesterday was much better, nuttier.

                                      I'm actually not sure I'll finish any of the items. At least it only cost me $6 for all three total.

                                      Anyway, since I did say I needed a little more direction and focus for my next excursion, I'm wondering what the best supermarkets are for picking up lunch to-go. What's the equivalent of Nijiya (great cold, prepared dishes) or Mitsuwa (great food court) in K-Town?

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: PeterCC

                                        Give Western Soondae a try? Their combo platter supposedly comes with plenty of offal. Right up your alley...

                                        Western Soondae
                                        543 S Western Ave
                                        Los Angeles, CA 90020


                                        1. re: Porthos

                                          I was either going to hit up Western or 8th Street Soondae this month. Any preference? There's also Han Kook and a bunch of others.

                                          1. re: PeterCC

                                            Never been to any of them. You're the expert :-)

                                            Soondae showdown!

                                            1. re: PeterCC

                                              8th Street has the best Soondea in all of Ktown. Western is good, but nowhere near 8th Street.

                                        2. i will be at what many hounds consider the other end of the spectrum; i had lunch at castle KBBQ AYCE yesterday. price point ($9.99 & tax) and an ability to ingest massive amounts of protein is about the only thing to recommend it; the banchan selection was limited, though they do have the rice wraps that as similar in composition and texture to chinese chang fun/rice noodles. and they will bring out garlic cloves and jalapenos on request. the young male server was both more convivial and helpful than the female server who brought us only 3 dishes when we asked for seconds on the banchan. i am now 8 lbs heavier and still give off what is to me a pleasant reek of grilled meat and kimchi. i probably don't need to eat again until thursday.

                                          1. Hit 2 spots this week and struck out twice

                                            Mandarin House (the original 8th st location that most Koreans know as Jin Heung Gak), a Korean Chinese joint because I was craving jja jang mian, a once a decade occurrence. And in fact, I hadn't been there in well over a decade. Anyway, it pretty much sucked ass. Noodles were overcooked and the sauce was just full of nearly raw onions. Avoid.

                                            Myung Dong Gyoja for kalgooksu and dumplings. Good steamed dumplings, good broth, but alas, overcooked, machine-cut noodles. Also, I was left with some serious garlic breath--ah well, an occupational hazard. I still really like this place for their yummy jjol myun, although I didn't get that this time. Noodles are better at Ma Dang Gook Su but I think Myung dong has the edge on the broth & trimmin's.

                                            On my list for this weekend: Soban, Sungbukdong or PalSaik, depending on my craving. Also, I've had a mad craving for mae eun tang (spicy fish soup) for weeks now if anyone has recommendations.

                                            1. Went to Eighth Street Soondae and got the combo, which was way too much food for one person. I hope soondae is good for leftovers...

                                              The combo consists of a "small" platter of soondae, a hefty portion of blood sausage, with slices of pig tongue, liver, and stomach; and soondae guk, a spicy soup that I was expecting to be more stew-y. The banchan was minimal but good.

                                              Overall I liked this soondae over the one I had at the end of last month. It's even better in the guk, which had a nice peppery heat to it.

                                              2 Replies
                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                  Thanks! Having the leftovers today for lunch. Not bad. May have to try Western Soondae before the month is out to compare and contrast, but also looking forward to getting some non-Korean food in K-Town...

                                              1. Got an invite to a chowdown @ O Dae San for AYCE KBBQ. Should I be scurred, or just shut up, eat brisket and drink hite?

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: ns1

                                                  shut up, and eat and drink.

                                                  btw, what do you mean by "scurried" ???????????

                                                        1. re: PeterCC


                                                          I really need to get up to date on my Ebonics (is that what they call it these days ?)

                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                            no, it's more internet memes than ebonics.

                                                2. Boo's! Since I had the day off from work yesterday I thought I would head on over to see if the paper is off the windows......and YES they are open for biz.

                                                  This location is very small with limited seating (and hard to see from the street). It seemed like they were still training the cooking staff. The Virgil location is much better for dining in, so I got my cheese steak to go. Even though the bun got a little steamy/soggy w/ au jus on my couple block drive home---the sandwich was still solid. I would think that on a normal weekday during lunch time, the place will be packed. For me, it's a good quick option in the hood for take out on the weekends, but would stick to the original if I wanted to eat in.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: LAgirl2

                                                    thanks for the report. looking forward to boos

                                                    1. re: LAgirl2

                                                      So glad to hear it was open! Wheee!!!!!!


                                                      1. re: LAgirl2

                                                        I'm going to get here asap. Thanks for the heads up.

                                                      2. Any lunch specific places that is worth mentioning?

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: FallingLeaves

                                                          Toe Bang (galbi tang)

                                                          Cho Man Won (mandu)

                                                          1. re: FallingLeaves

                                                            We do lunch in Koreatown all the time...

                                                            #1 fave Curry Hyang for Curry and Omurice dishes. Wonderful Hamburg Steak and great mixed Banchan. Awesome pickles!

                                                            Jeon Ju for Bim Bim Bap is great for lunch, Veggie Bim Bim Bap is wonderfully fortifying without being too heavy.

                                                            Cafe Todo Dia for Brazillian Steak Sandwich\


                                                            1. re: Dommy

                                                              Waiting anxiously for your guys' report this month ;-)

                                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                                LOL! We've been slacking. We had a very chaotic month and have really only hit one place properly. I will report back through...


                                                          2. Found a place that just opened last week according to this site: http://koreatownladirectory.com/listi.... Decided to take a risk and try it out.

                                                            Arrived a few minutes ago to an empty restaurant. Menu in Korean only and the staff, while friendly, only speaks a little English (I expected as much). Ordered the stir fried baby octopus (I think) for $15. Will let y'all know how it turns out.

                                                            BTW can anyone translate the sign?

                                                            7 Replies
                                                            1. re: PeterCC

                                                              Just got back. Interesting shrink wrap to-go containers. Interesting assortment of banchan: seaweed in pickle water, some (dry) nori as well, a bunch of whole cloves of pickled garlic, slices of pickled daikon, a curry "soup" with tofu.

                                                              The guy at the restaurant warned me the octopus dishes are spicy and they are, at least the one I got. Decent amount of baby octopus, with bean sprouts, dough balls (but more like a dough roll) in a very spicy broth.

                                                              Got a shot of the very short menu below if anyone'd like to translate.

                                                              1. re: PeterCC

                                                                Nice looking octopus! I think I would have just picked the first one. Was that the baby octopus?

                                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                                  Yes, that was the one I got. The second one was also baby octopus but grilled, if I understood the guy correctly.

                                                                  Edit: The receipt said the dish was "jjuggumi", which when I Google it comes back with "jjukkumi" as the more predominant form. Basically it means baby octopus, which I kinda figured...

                                                                2. re: PeterCC

                                                                  Menu translation:
                                                                  Baby octopus
                                                                  Baby octopus-grilled
                                                                  Baby octopus set

                                                                  Additional items(add-ons to above items)
                                                                  Pork belly noodles (not sure what this could be--I can only guess that it's some kind of stew or pan fried dish with pork and noodles)
                                                                  Chewy noodles
                                                                  Rice cake noodles
                                                                  Mussel soup
                                                                  Steamed egg (korean version of chawan mushi)
                                                                  Fried rice

                                                                  Last item in black says something about dried pollack but hard to read

                                                                  The first pic you posted basically talks about the health benefits of baby octopus.

                                                                  1. re: soniabegonia

                                                                    Oh, i think i figured it out. Did your spread come with rice? I think all the noodle sides are plain noodles to sop up all the spicy broth in place of rice. Like, you know, pour the octopus stew over the noodles and swirl it around. Koreans love that shit.

                                                                    1. re: soniabegonia

                                                                      Yes mine came with rice, no noodles.

                                                                3. Went to Oh Ma Ni (shows up as "Oh Ma Nee" in Google Maps) at 807 S Ardmore Ave, today. Tiny place, 6 four-tops. Immaculate. A bunch of the menu items were marked unavailable, but I was going to continue my soondae jag, so I ordered the Woo Guh Ji Soondae Gook, basically a soondae guk with extra cabbage leaves. Good, simple banchan.

                                                                  I think I like the soondae and the guk at 8th Street better, but this was very good. I like that the soup, to-go at least, was prepared non-spicy, but came with seasoning to make it as spicy as one might want.

                                                                  $7 including tax.

                                                                  1. EMC Seafood & Raw Bar in Koreatown
                                                                    Very good cocktails.
                                                                    25 Dollar 1/2 Lobster, char-grilled quite tasty prep but such a tiny little 1/2 insect.
                                                                    Very nice shrimp carpacio
                                                                    Excellent grilled branzino.

                                                                    Whatever scallop ceviche (also tiny scallop).
                                                                    Bad fried shrimp heads (greasy, soggy, felt like they were cooked way in advance of the rest of the dish).
                                                                    Horrible Garlic Noodles

                                                                    It felt like a jr. college class in seafood - prices kept low to bring in the kids but commensurate portions and quality.

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                      Thanks for taking one for the team.

                                                                      How was Roma?

                                                                      1. re: Porthos

                                                                        I posted a bit on Roma, more to come (tempio d'iside was great)

                                                                          1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                            Glad you liked it. One of my favorite all time meals ever. So good I went back thrice.

                                                                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                          Thanks for your honest review... Sorry the Garlic Noodles were a let down... I guess I have had too many meals at Crustrean... LOL!


                                                                          1. re: Dommy

                                                                            FWIW, most tables had those noodles and everyone seemed to be enjoying them. Just isn't my cup o'joe...dry and mushy noodles, with a bit of garlic and a few sesame seeds and scallions. Never liked Crustacean's either, maybe just not my thing.

                                                                        2. Bossam lunch special at Kobawoo House. For ten bucks, you get a heap of steamed pork, wraps, radishes, soup, mixed rice and refillable banchan.

                                                                          Looking at the other tables where people shared the larger ssam plates, it seemed like my slices were a bit thinner, but I'm not complaining: there was still a good amount of delicious fat. Especially good with the radish (could have used a few more slices). Of the banchan, I really liked their fish cake.

                                                                          Staff are clearly used to dealing with tourists and were really friendly. Five minute wait at 12:30.

                                                                          Kobawoo House
                                                                          698 S Vermont Ave, Ste 109, Los Angeles, CA 90005

                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                            1. re: stravaigint

                                                                              Looks outstanding! How does this compare to other ssam places in K-town? What would those others even be?

                                                                              Thanks for adding this specialist to the k-town thread!

                                                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                                                Haven't had ssam anywhere else down there, but my ktown friends all told me that JGold's list was spot-on for this one and I should go. I would recommend going with a group and getting the medium or large plates, so as to get the even chunkier, fattier stuff.

                                                                                1. re: stravaigint

                                                                                  If you ask, they will bring you more raddish wraps...

                                                                                  1. re: Dommy

                                                                                    I will demand a stack next time. Thanks Dommy!

                                                                                  2. re: stravaigint

                                                                                    off to try kobawoo for lunch. will try to remember to take pics.

                                                                                    1. re: stravaigint

                                                                                      FYI: you can ask for more radish. - it;s pretty much AYCE for the non meat parts of bo ssam.

                                                                                      the acorn noodle (korean version of hiyashi chuka for want of a better way to describe it), large bo ssam plate & seafood pancake was enough to satisfy six healthy eaters.

                                                                                      variety of banchan was limited but replenished cheerfully. i liked the lotus root.

                                                                                      and we got out for $12.50 including tip - but not including valet tip. carpool - or better yet, take the metro.

                                                                                      1. re: barryc

                                                                                        Great report. I enjoy their seafood pancake very much but I pretty much enjoy ANY seafood pancake very much.

                                                                                        I hope you get some soup in December.

                                                                                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                          glad you appreciate it. actually, i will probably hit olympic noodle for their chicken soup in december.

                                                                                      2. I really enjoyed this post! Seeing you guys try some of my old favorites. I can't say that our recent moved was highly motivated by its proximity to Koreatown... but it certainly was a bonus!!

                                                                                        But in our explorations, we have tried to hit some of the non-korean offerings in Koreatown. Do we expects Vietnamese food as good as Westminster? Japanese food as good as in Little Tokyo? Nope... but it is fun finding the strength in their Korean take on things...

                                                                                        And so while you guys were trying Kobawoo... we went next door to Simply Pho You and Myeongdong Donkasu.

                                                                                        Ever since we lost Pho Mihn... I've been looking for that deep beef broth flavored Pho. I dunno why we thought we might find it in Koreatown... but sometimes you gotta go with your delusions...

                                                                                        The Pho here has the depth of a pie in. It had great spicing and actually was quite better than a lot of the westside Pho's I've had. But overall, it was just missing that soulfulness of a great Pho.


                                                                                        I've been on a Bun kick lately and so I ordered their Shrimp and Egg Roll Bun... I LAUGHED when it came with just three tiny shrimp. Simply Pho You was more like Just Enough Profit Margin for Me. LOL! Still, the egg rolls were quite good and obviously housemade, so they got points for that...


                                                                                        Finally we also ordered the pork spring rolls. When they showed up at the table, they were quite skinny. Just like the Pho and Bun... we thought they were being skimpy. But even if they were, it worked. With so many spring rolls, there is so much lettuce and rice noodles you really can't taste the meat. With these, you got a great hit of the charbroiled pork, as well as the herbs, lettuce and noodles. They were made fresh and we actually would consider ordering these just on their own. So we'll be back... for take out... of those spring rolls...

                                                                                        Two weeks later, we hit Myeongdong Donkasu. We LOVE Korean Style Donkasu and have slowly been going around most of the Koreatown haunts for this dish...

                                                                                        I admit, the version of Chicken Cordon Bleu... It looked so good. So wrong.

                                                                                        Amazingly what I got on my plate, was just like the pictures. SO crispy! Super luscious!! I dunno what type of cheese they used that it was just so melty and yet not super greasy. Whatever it was... it was perfect. The chicken itself was pounded thin and could have used a little salt or seasing. The crispy coating was also quite good. Although it was a play on Cordon Bleu... it didn't have ham, but it did have slivers of onion and bell pepper, which gave the overall dish a really good taste. No Tonkatsu sauce needed!


                                                                                        We also had to order their traditional Donkatsu with Curry. Their curry was good, although I like Curry Hyang's better in terms of texture and balance. I LOVED how they poured the curry just on the side of the Donkatsu leaving most of it nice and crispy! The crunch on this was quite more pronouced. The pork was well seasoned and so tender.


                                                                                        Three things I REALLY liked about them though...

                                                                                        Their rice was EXCELLENT. Better rice than I've had recently at even NICER and much more $$$$ Japanese restaurants.

                                                                                        Their salad dressing was like CRACK and they leave a huge bottle of it on the table. It's like Miso, but without any bitterness.

                                                                                        Their service was really warm and friendly! We lingered at dinner watching the Dodger Game (*snif!*) and they never rushed us or tried to get to order another beer. They came by to refill water and after they saw how much we enjoyed the rice and salad offered refills (which we politely declined because there was no way we could even finish the first servings on our plates!)

                                                                                        Overall, another successful DOTM!


                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Dommy

                                                                                          Great post as usual, Dommy.
                                                                                          I have to try Myeongdong Donkasu. Wako @ Wilshire and Alexandria has been my K*Town tonkatsu spot for years...can you compare the two?

                                                                                          1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                            Sure! Really the differences between the major Donkatsu places are quite minor... it really is about personal preference...

                                                                                            For Wako, they do an excellent thicker cut Donkatsu. We like it, it's juicy and flavorful, but is it more juicy and flavorful than Tonkatsu House which pounds their flat? Not really. I kinda like the pounded flat version better, not only because it's visually bigger, but the the crunch to meat ratio is better. I think when I want a thick cut of pork, I'd just get a pork chop... Also, we find the service at Wako to be 'meh'.

                                                                                            For Myeongdong, I like the batter better. It's more crisp. The Donkatsu is thick, not quite a thick as Wako, but also quite tasty. I think if you really want that CRUNCH with nice piece of meat, Myeongdong. BUT they don't seem to do that wonderful ground sesame sauce that Wako does...

                                                                                            That being said, while we love Donkatsu... we ADORE Curry. More often than not, we order the Curry Donkatsu (Which tends to be thinner version). Wako made the cardinal of DOUSING their Donkatsu in the curry on the plate... ugh. That is why we preferred Myeongdong. But above all, for the variety of the menu (You can get a combo of Donkatsu AND Omurice!!), for the quality of Donkatsu (quite crisp and tasty!) AND curry (THE BEST!). We prefer Curry Hyang. We also love the banchan better at Curry Hyang (he most ADDICTIVE pickles ever!) which for us, it's our Donkatsu Curry favorite...


                                                                                            1. re: Dommy

                                                                                              Thanks. I will now have to try both Curry Hyang and Myeongdong . The sesame grinding is one of my favorite things about Wako.

                                                                                              And Omurice is something else I have never had/heard of!

                                                                                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                Yeah, people love that sesame sauce... It's not available at either Curry Hyang or Myeongdong, but I think their other pluses make up for it...

                                                                                                Omurice is one of my absolute favorite comfort foods. I love eggs and the Japanese know how to do it right. So you get this custardy omlete on top of really delicious rice... Mix in some Tonkatsu or Curry sauce and it's just DA BEST! My absolute favorite is at Foo Foo Tei. But so glad to Curry Hyang close buy... :)


                                                                                              2. re: Dommy

                                                                                                Dang. You had to remind me of the now defunct Pho Nimh with those handmade noodles.

                                                                                          2. Is Dino's considered Korea Town? Went yesterday for lunch. Perhaps I'm jaded by so many visits but, I don't enjoy it quite as much as I used to. The prices have gone up ($8.55 with a large drink) and they remodeled the place. The chicken can be inconsistent but, the fries and sauce remain very consistent. With that said, I'm sure that I'll be back.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: JAB

                                                                                              Not quite in the border... it's more pico union... Still a visit to Dinos to me is not a waste. I agree on the inconsistency (honestly though, even when a little dry, their Chicken beats out almost every other Rotisserie and El Pollo Loco within 5 miles). But their sauce more than makes up for it. In fact, we've been taking to let that chicken really rest in the sauce overnight (We order one extra) and use to it top salads. OMG. Best salad ever.


                                                                                              1. re: JAB

                                                                                                Fuck. It really shot up in price. I was there just a couple years ago and it was still only $5.50 before drink.

                                                                                              2. Ma Dang Gook Soo

                                                                                                Was going to do this for soup DOM but this was way more noodles than soup. Handmade noodles but the noodles weren't very chewy. Soup was very hearty and starchy. A monster portion enough for 2.

                                                                                                Dumplings and dol sot bim bim bap were very good.