I've driven by this newly-built place on Olympic now and again, wondering what was in there. Then I caught the below article on Wed. and dragged a foodie friend who also works downtown (about a 9 minute drive) for lunch.
It's a small mall, not a mini-mall, with plenty of free parking. On the ground floor is an average-sized supermarket, obvioulsy Asian (wide fish, meat, exotic produce selection). Not as cheap as the older Korean supermarket further West, but no more expensive than any Albertsons. Spic and span clean. A couple of quick eats places in the market.
The second floor is shops.. a nice and open atrium. Again, not a huge place. You can stand in the middle and be able to read every store entrance.
On the third floor we found a coffee shop, a sit-down Chinese restaurant and food court with appx. 8 counters serving a variety of fare. It's just like any other American mall, with community seating and a variety of people, from workers to kids, bouncing around. The only difference is that instead of Hot Dog on a Stick or Sbarro, it's all Asian... one place specializes in tofu, another in soups. There's a vietnamese counter, sushi, but the majority seem to offer variations of Korean fare.
My chowbuddy opted for a big bowl of bibim bap (like a mega salad) for about $6. I splurged and went for one of the more expensive dishes at a nearby grill... sipcy octopus. For appx. $9, I got a giant platter of octopi mixed with veggies, soup, rice, drink and a typical korean appetizer selection of kimchi. Two not-so-hungry folks could easily split this meal. We both agreed: very good.
You can easily eat for less. And while I'm sure some will scoff at it being mall food, I think this is a great place for several reasons...
- It's easy to explore. Ever walk into an unkown place and felt obliged to buy something? Here you browse selections, moving from counter to counter. Everyone is doing it.
- While it's essentially a food court, 99% of the dishes are ones you've never seen in any mall or fast food place.
- It's tasty. Not afraid to be spicy, exotic or chock full of flavors. It's a foreign place in a familar setting.
I have my Koreatown faves in terms of authentic, cook at your table places. But this place is great for those who are: new to Korean (or Asian) foods; like some variety; with people who can't decide; or want decent Asian food (not Panda) fast and/or quick.
If you are nearby, it's worth a visit.
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