May 2013 (1)

Top Korean Barbecues in Los Angeles


Matthew Kang

The sizzle and smoke of the tabletop Korean barbecue is one of the definitive features of the LA dining scene. The abundance of well-priced American protein and a rabid following of diners has created a critical mass of restaurants specializing in grilled meats, nearly overshadowing the love of barbecue in the motherland itself. Through the years, barbecue restaurants have segmented into various categories – premium, all-you-can-eat, and middle-ranged a la carte, with each place trumpeting a particular specialty or stand-out side dish. Still other places emphasize the grilling devices and methods, where some employ charcoal for a smokier experience and others rely on special grates for more direct heat.

Barbecue is best enjoyed with a glass of ice cold Hite, a simple Korean lager, or a chilled shot of soju, the national spirit of choice. Think of Korean barbecues almost like more affordable steakhouses, where it's easy to get together with friends and family for a casual lunch or evening to celebrate the variety and quality of great beef, pork, and banchan. It's hard to go wrong with that formula.