Chuncheon Dakgalbi [Same location, now called Stone Grill]
703 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Though we consider ourselves open-minded eater, we have not had good luck with Korean food, so we had kind of crossed it off of our list of “try-again” cuisines. Fortunately our fortunes have turned and we were introduced to some amazing Korean food on our Californian adventure. Our friend K lives in K-Town in LA, known to have some of the best Korean food anywhere, so we were excited to try one of her picks for Korean BBQ.
The sign outside the restaurant proclaimed “Chicken Kalbi” – in pink neon – which was a good sign for us since we love love places that specialize in a single dish. With this auspicious beginning we embarked on our chicken kalbi adventure. This restaurant itself was pretty trippy, and looked more like a nightclub. It has glossy black walls and, I kid you not, multicolored disco strobe lights. The music playing throughout the night was just as eclectic – a mix of K-Pop, Taylor Swift and Michael Buble (whatever!)
When we were greeted upon entry – the server proclaimed she needed to find the English menu – which, humorously enough, did not even contain any English. Our friendly English-speaking server was very helpful, walking us through the Kalbi process. We ordered 2 orders of the regular Kalbi and one order of the “fire chicken” especially for M, who is, as we know, a fire-breather. As is the tradition in most restaurants specializing in Kalbi, the dish was cooked in a giant hot plate right on the table in front of us. It also came with a small assortment of banchan (side dishes), including radish wraps, cole slaw and seaweed.
M proclaimed that the fire chicken was one of the best spicy dishes he had ever had (but of course it was not TOO spicy). The “regular” chicken kalbi was also stellar, and the sauce was a perfect mix of sweet and spice, and came cooked with scallions sweet potatoes and rice cakes. After the meal was (mostly) over – the ends of the kalbi were mixed into fried rice right in the hot plate by our server. After the meal was completely over we got a tiny cup of tangy frozen yogurt (a la red mango). We were definitely impressed with our meal, and were completely stuffed. With our LA experience we officially re-introduced Korean food into our cuisine rotation.