This weekend, I tried Dong Il Jang on 8th Street just east of Western Avenue in Koreatown. It is known for its barbecue, and I suggest you stick to that, as the pa jun (seafood and scallion pancake) was pretty bad, and the dolsot bibimbap (rice, vegetables, and meat in a hot stone pot) was just average. The roast gui (barbecue beef cooked on a table-top grill), however, was terrific.
The minimum order for barbecue is two, and each is about $15- $18. The first thing you do is put the thick slice of onion in the center of the grill. Then you grill your meat, and when you have cooked pieces that are done, instead of leaving them on the grill to get tough while you finish what's on your plate, you stack them on the onion slice, where they stay warm and get infused with onion flavor. Then you take a piece of cooked beef, dip it into garlic-sesame oil, grab some shredded scallions, and put the whole thing in your mouth. It's so good!
When you're done, a waitress will quietly ask you if you want the rice. Just say yes. She will come back with rice, kimchee, and some pork. She'll put the kimchee and pork onto your grill, fry it for a bit, and then she'll dump the rice onto the grill, and mix and fry it until she's made some very good kimchee fried rice. This is terrific, too!
To finish the meal, you will be brought a cold, sweet drink. I think it's made of rice, honey, and ginger, among other things. It's delicious.
As long as you stick to the barbecue, Dong Il Jang is excellent. Definitely stay away from the pa jun, though! That will be pretty obvious, since virtually every single table will have one thing and one thing only - roast gui. In ordering the other stuff, I broke my usual rule - if everyone is eating the same thing, that's what you should have. Hope springs eternal, I guess.
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