Long post ahead!!
Jian BBQ is a high-end Korean place on Beverly Blvd that will open its doors to the public on May 26th. Lucky for me I got to tag along to their pre-opening tasting night for friends and families. You can check out the pictures on my blog: http://gourmetpigs.blogspot.com/2008/...
They had beautiful woodwork inside the restaurant, but the wall of the bar was laid out with pachinko machines and there's a giant statue of a black anime robot -- I'm not sure what the reasoning is here, but I thought the pachinko machines were pretty interesting.
Now, on to the food! We had a loong tasting meal ahead of us! I was sitting with a group of Koreans so I relied on them to tell me if the dishes would be too spicy for me or not. Luckily most of them were not! (Although the restaurant can make them spicier too if you ask them - but they are mainly catering to the white clientele).
We started with a whole bunch of appetizers. This is the yun aw jun (salmon with jalapeno, wrapped in a thin dough)
Good salmon, tasty. Nothing special here though.
Then the awww mandoo (halibut, snow crab, napa cabbage, doo boo)
This was served with their "JIAN gochujang sauce" which actually was not spicy at all. Again well done and tasty, but better dishes are to come.
Next is the yook hwe (beef tartar, korean pear, baby arugula, quail egg)
Now THIS was excellent IMO. Tender, fresh beef! There's a wonderful citrus-y flavor and the combination with the korean pear was very, very good.
The came my favorite korean dish, jap chae!
This jap chae was very very good, one of the best I've had yet. I do wish they had put more mushrooms and vegetables in it, but the taste was excellent. Not too oily or peppery either.
Next is the yuja yun aw hwe (salmon tartar)
Standard salmon tartar here. Good fresh fish.
Then the doo boo kimchi. Now it's starting to look spicy, but it actually was not that spicy.
The dooboo (in a thin fried layer of dough) is underneath all that kimchi. Excellent doo boo (tofu). I actually liked this dish despite the fact that I do not normally eat kimchi. The koreans on my table really liked it too (although they did wish it was spicier).
Next is the cheese ma ri, which is basically mozzarela sticks? Not very Korean, but it was pretty good.
Then the ga ri bi ti gim (scallops fried in shredded filo)
The filo tends to fall apart, making this a bit hard to eat since the scallops were also hard to bite off. Quality scallops. I do like fried food. Nothing to rave about here though.
Finally we're done with appetizers (all those were appetizers?? We were soo~ full already).
Next is the korean bbq. They brought us some pan chan - the standard kim chi etc.
One thing worth mentioning about this bbq is that there is no vent above us! This grill is built so that the smoke would be all sucked back down underneath! As we were cooking we could definitely see that the smoke does not rise but enters into the holes on the side as you see in this picture.
This makes the whole experience less smoky and smelly :)
So we had kal bi, bul go gi, and shrimp. The shrimps were very good, and so was the kal bi. I was never much into unmarinated bul go gi though .. They also served the lettuce salads instead of plain lettuce or rice paper to wrap it with, though, which was a bit of a bummer.
Oh we're not done yet .... We also had the eun dae gu jo rim (braised cod). Served with braised radish and some fried tofu.
Everyone loved this dish. It was a lot of people's favorite. It was a little salty, but the fish was amazingly tender and flavorful. And I love those little tofu.
We also had the kim chi chigue - which again, was a lot less spicy than usual. It was still a bit spicy so I only had a bite. I thought it was delicious. This girl on my table claims that it was one of the best she's ever had and that kim chi chigue is her favorite dish -- so I guess we can take her word for it? :)
We had mochi ice cream for dessert. What to say? Mochi ice cream is mochi ice cream.
I do wish they had served a more unique dessert - we did not get to see the real regular menu, so don't know what they will actually be serving.
We all really enjoyed our meal here. Overall, everything we had was solid and well done - some more "standard" than others. They do cater more to the non-Korean clientele with the less spicy dishes, but I think they still retain a lot of authenticity. I did not get to see the real menu so I don't know how much they plan on charging.
Assuming they have reasonable prices, I would definitely come back for the jap chae, the cod (eun dae gu jo rim), and the beef tartar :)
8256 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048