Back in the carefree days of my senior year in college, my friend and I would venture out to Koreatown at least once or twice a week to have a barbeque dinner at The Corner Place. She would always ordered the Galbi (marinated beef short ribs), while I persisted with my Bulgogi (marinated beef). We had such a wonderful time wrapping the meat with the lettuce, adding the different varieties of bachan (side dishes) to the wraps and devouring everything in sight. One might have thought we were starving art students.
The only complaint I had those days was that once we came outside, got into the car, I could smell the smoke and sweat on my T-shirt and on my hair, pretty much all over. As I arrived home, I had to make the difficult decision of whether or not to wash my hair even though it was not my normal hair washing day.
Fast-forward to present day at Genwa. Imagine my relief and joy when I realized that I will no longer have to suffer neither the inhalation of the smoke, nor the lingering odor, when I do decide to have a good Korean barbeque – actually, I meant to say the best Korean bbq.
The modern interior with the contemporary wooden furnishings is quite atypical of Korean barbeque restaurants in LA. There is a full bar along one side of the restaurant. The service was impeccable, the attentive young waiters patiently answered all my questions about the menu, and later even asked if we wanted any refills when the dishes became empty. I was impressed.
The twenty or so tiny dishes of bachan were spread around the “smokeless grill”. I was excited and ready to try each and everyone of them. Luckily there were only two of us at the table; I could not imagine a big party sharing such tiny portions of the side dishes despite the abundance of varieties.
We ordered the Prime Galbi (marinated prime short ribs) and the Vegetable Bibim-Bap (mixed rice with vegetables). There are set courses that one can order for 2 to 5 people that come with a House salad, and choices of items which might include Soon Tofu, or Japchae (a clear noodle stir fried w/vegetables and beef), or Kimchee Jigae (kimchee stew), and varieties of different meat.
The prices are not cheap, but the quality of the meat is superb. The prime short rib slices were definitely well-marbled, and the texture could not have been more tender, it absolutely melted in my mouth. For someone like me who don’t consume much beef anymore, I certainly did not hold back with this meal. I also adored these thinly sliced radishes that one can wrap the meat in, it seemed to help in balancing the fattiness of the beef.
The Bibimbap was served in a sizzling stone pot mixed at the table . The flavors and consistencies are similar to most of ones I tried else where. It was not as impressive as the meat dish.
Genwa Korean BBQ: 5115 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036 Phone: 323-549-0760