The phone rang. “Hello,…”. “…, do you want to try that place with the beef ribs and mackerel?” “You mean Seongbukdong?”
It was Wednesday morning, and I had just finished my morning cereal when my friend suggested trying this place known for the Galbijjim (steamed beef short ribs) and Braised Mackerel. Why not, life is short, and one should enjoy whenever possible.
Almost a mandatory stop whenever I go to Koreatown, I made my way over to the Koreatown Galleria Market to get some Gimbap, seaweed snacks, Persian cucumbers before heading over to the restaurant. Since Cake House was just right across the market, I got some ham and cheese croissants, corn muffin and some vegetable rolls for snacking later on.
The restaurant sat in a small strip mall, and I would have drove right past it if I had not seen a photo of the store front prior. Fortunately, there were quite a few parking spaces left in this tiny lot when I pulled up.
There were some empty tables when I walk in, and I wasted no time in ordering. “Steamed beef short ribs and braised mackerel, please”, I said to the waitress. She pointed to some photos from some newspaper clippings posted on the wall next to my table to confirm the order. “Yes”, I reassured her of my orders.
The Beef short ribs arrived – a little anxious that it might not meet my expectations. Incroyable! (Incredible, I mean) Not only was the beef unequivocally succulent, luscious, and remarkably tender, but one could even taste the essence of the meat itself because of its freshness and quality. Though the sweetness of the sauce is slightly more than I would have preferred, I still managed to devour most of the meat in the small pot, leaving my companion scrounging the left over bones for more meat.
With its oiliness and strong “fishy” taste, the mackerel itself is already an extraordinary flavorful fish. The addition of the kimchee, peppers and radishes to the Brasied Mackerel enhanced that richness of the fish without overpowering it. At some restaurants, the texture of the cooked mackerel could be a bit tough at times, but the mackerel here still managed to retain some moistness. It would have been even more satisfying if there were more than just the three small pieces of mackerel in that pot.
I was not entirely full after the meal, perhaps that would leave me wanting to come back again sooner for more.
Seongbukdong: 3303 W. 6th St. Los Angeles, CA 90020 Phone: 213-738-8977