Had made a note to visit this Korean joint after some recent and positive Hound vibes. Did so after considerable libating, so please excuse the foggy report.
Modest and brightly lit, this place specializes in Nakzi, or baby octopi. I've heard from one Korean friend that they will serve the notorious live version---where the little devils wriggle desperately on your plate, in your mouth, then down your throat. After an initial bout of bravado-laden consideration, our party of three decide with a unanimous "F**k that...."
Menu is large, but not in English. Servers are more diminutive, and also not in English. Luckily, menu has pictures, server has patience. After a five minute game of charades, friendly waiter appears to point us in the direction of the following:
1. Pan-fried baby octopus and pork belly---In the center of each table is a concentric stove-top. On top of that, they plop a huge, wok-shaped pan, with octopus, various veggies (cabbage and chrysanthemum leaves among them), glass noodles, and three large strips of pork belly, all bubbling in a threatening-looking orange stew. We managed to convey that we wanted it spicy. Indeed, it was volcanic....and incredibly tasty. A bit like soon tofu minus the tofu, chock full of tender, mild cephalopodic delights.
Halfway through, server brings out large stone bowl of rice, and tosses into wok. Stirs frantically. Voila---a vibrantly orange and pleasantly oily octopus/pork belly fried rice. Yeah, baby!
2. hae mul pa jun---or seafood pancake. More accurately, octopus pancake. I've had a few variations around town that I thought were good, but they've now been trumped by this particular toasty-on-the-outside, fluffy-and-seafood-y-on-the-inside specimen.
Banchan are sparse, but who needs 'em? $46 for three people, enough grub for four, maybe even five. I brought a six pack of beer (no alcy-hawl served), and our waiter insisted on pouring them for us.
A good one. Kansamnida, Hounds!
My Secret Recipe (what it says on the sign)
Nakzi Village (what is says on your receipt)
4177 W. 3rd St. (@ Hobart)
Linda Burum's helpful LA Times rundown at: