We found ourselves driving around Koreatown LA looking for parking. It’s just always a fight here.
Andy finally locates a free spot.
I jump out and punch my credit card into the meter. We’ve got 2 hours.
I’m ridiculously hungry and I’m walking into the first Korean BBQ restaurant I see.
We walk around the corner from where we parked and there it was…
OO-KOOK Korean BBQ.
Having no idea if it was any good or not, we walk up the short stairs into the building.
We were greeted warmly by a younger dude.
He asks us if we wanted all you can eat or not.
I looked at Andy and he’s like “I don’t care, I can eat”. So then I’m like yea, why the heck not, let’s get all you can eat lunch.
The waiter walks us into the back of the restaurant. It’s all tables with grills back here.
We sit down and he brings us all these side plates of food immediately. I don’t know what half this stuff is.
I look at the menu and realize I don’t know what half the things on the menu are either.
I’m truly a Korean BBQ newbie.
Our server comes by again and asks what we want.
I’m like, can we get plates of just a bit of everything, thinking it’s like Chinese Hot Pot.
And it get’s a little awkward.
I just want to try a little bit of everything and then order more of what tasted good later on….
… but I’m not able to communicate that properly…. and I’m guessing that’s not how it works here anyways.
So I ask him what is “popular here”….
He says Number 2 and Number 8.
I look at the menu.
It’s marinated thin sliced beef and marinated short ribs. I say “okay, we’ll get that”… and duck breast.
He smiles and runs off.
It doesn’t take long for the food to come.
A lady comes by first.
She checks the grill temperature and throws the thinly sliced marinated beef on.
Spreads the beef until it fills most of the grill.
Another guy comes right after and throws the marinated short ribs on for us.
I was expecting to cook it myself, like Hot Pot style…. but I guess that’s not how they roll here.
I ask the server what each thing is… because I’m dumb I guess.
The duck breast comes after.
There’s no room on the grill for it. Looks like we’re gonna be cooking that ourselves later.
We absolutely devour the food.
ALL of it is amazing.
The marinated beef is simply MONEY.
I noticed the grill got black really fast.
I was thinking it was on “too hot”.
Little did I know that they change it. And they changed it often. They probably changed it 6 or 7 times in total.
We order a few other things.
I realized that the plate portions you get are BIG.
It’s not the small plates of this or that you get when you have Hot Pot.
Literally, an order of thinly sliced marinated beef and a bowl of rice is enough food for most people.
But this is all you can eat, and we be getting our money’s worth.
The little side plates of food we get are mostly delicious.
The cucumber is my favorite.
I didn’t even know it was cucumbers actually.
It’s marinated in this sweet and ever so slightly spicy sauce.
Another amazing choice is the garlic shrimp.
They come cooked already, which the server made me aware of (just in case I guess, since it’s clear we don’t know Korean BBQ).
I order one more of these later on.
I found letting it cook on the grill for a bit is the best way to enjoy them. Made them extra hot.
We ordered a couple items at a time. The severs don’t write anything down.
I noticed they forget stuff fairly often.
The table beside us asked for water 3 times.
We ordered rice and a few other things that we didn’t get.
But it wasn’t a big deal.
We just asked for it again when they came by.
I probably should have asked for more recommendations. It’s usually what I do anyways. But I decided to order whatever to try.
I asked for the “3 types of pork belly” and the short ribs (un-marinated).
The pork belly I wouldn’t get again.
It is basically bacon – but massively thick slices of it.
It was like eating a thing of fat. Which don’t taste good any day of the week.
The un-marinated short ribs were “ok”.
It needed marination. After you have it marinated you’ll never want the plain.
It wasn’t until after I ordered the un-marinated variety that I realized we ordered the marinated variety before.
I almost wanted to send it back.
But Andy was okay with it so we ate it.
It’s not bad… it’s just there is something much tastier on the menu that’s the same thing.
I got up to use the restroom.
Looking around, I could tell this is a great place to eat.
The people here were mostly asian (mostly Korean).
They were young and old.
And by the time noon hit, every seat was taken.
A Korean BBQ place filled with asians of all ages? Probably the right place to be.
The vibe here is decent.
It’s just a restaurant. And nothing about it “pops”.
I’m thinking people come here for the food and not the mood.
The staff was great.
Everyone was really really nice.
They all smiled.
I think we interacted with all of them. We didn’t have a dedicated server serving us.
I liked the menu too.
Though I didn’t know what most of the stuff was, it was clear and easy to understand.
I noticed most of the old people sitting in the front of the restaurant booths.
I wondered if this is where they preferred to sit or they just don’t eat “all you can eat” for lunch and have to sit there.
Or they just prefer to put the non oldies in the back.
Overall, I had a great time stuffing down Korean BBQ.
I’ve had Korean BBQ before… but it was a little different because we got up and grabbed plates of food to grill.
I probably prefer that to getting it served to us.
But I enjoyed having “authentic” Korean food in the biggest Koreantown in the United States.
And it was EASILY tastier than the previous Korean BBQ experiences I’ve had (which was only 2).
Looking at our bill, we ordered more food than what was listed.
We each put $30 in and headed out.
I’m not gonna lie and say we felt great.
Felt kinda bad actually…. because we absolutely stuffed ourselves until it was uncomfortable….
…We didn’t get our rice we ordered so it was ALL meats we wolfed down.
And we didn’t end up eating again for about 12 hours.
Walking out, I took one last photo.
This is the front of OO-KOOK Korean BBQ.
I highly recommend it.
There are A LOT of all you can eat Korean BBQ joints in Koreatown. I’m sure many of them are excellent. We only had a chance to try this one, and I have no regrets.
You can find OO-KOOK Korean BBQ in Koreatown Los Angeles Address: 3385 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005 Facebook Page