10 Best Korean BBQ Restaurants in Los Angeles
7. Dong Il Jang:
This place is a time capsule of Koreatown circa 1980. We confess to choosing it for our Top 10 list for nostalgic reasons: It was one of the first large Korean restaurants to open in L.A. All the reviews referring to "OG" or "old-school" Korean BBQ actually should refer to the roast gui, a specialty of the house and not the age of the restaurant. Roast gui is unmarinated, unseasoned rib-eye that's cut in slices about a quarter-inch thick; it used to be the preferred high-end cut, along with tong galbi, before the trend started toward thinly sliced, highly marbled cuts. Roast gui tends to become dry and tough with overcooking, so don't forget to place cooked pieces on top of the onion set in the center of the grill. That's what it's there for, a kind of holding zone to keep the meat moist and warm. After you're done, order the kimchi fried rice, which will be cooked on the same grill as the roast gui. 3455 W. Eighth St., Los Angeles; (213) 383-5757.
6. Dha Rae Ok:
Javier Cabral clay duck at
It's more famous for its clay-pot duck casserole than its duck BBQ, but the duck skewers (kochi) here shouldn't be overlooked. The owners, Chung Mi Rae and Kim Gil Rae, travel to Korea once a year to keep up with new trends. Their setup here shows that, just when we think we've seen every imaginable contraption for grilling Korean BBQ, a new one is invented: The duck skewers are cooked first on rotating grills fueled with a combination of propane and charcoal, then finished on stainless steel flat-tops to crisp the skin. The results are charred bits of duck meat with a cap of duck crackling. 1108 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 733-2474.
5. Sun Ha Jang:
Susan Park duck at Sun Ha Jang
This is the duck version of Honey Pig. Fatty slices of duck are cooked in a slightly concave BBQ pan so that they essentially fry into duck cracklings. Instead of wrapping the meat in lettuce, the ssam here is served deconstructed as a kind of salad topped with duck cracklings. The fat is reserved for fried rice as an optional finishing course. 4032 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 634-9292.
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3385 W. 8th St., Los Angeles, CA