We meant to go to Manna. We were with friends who had never had Korean food, and Manna was easier on the pocketbook. So I called and asked for a reservation and they took down my name and told me to come in.
45 minutes later, still not seated. Parties of 8 and 12 and 20 were being seated and it was cold and not at all friendly. So we left. We started walking east on Olympic, intending to go to So Kong Dong.
Then I realised we were very near Chosun Galbee, and we did the Death Sprint across the boulevard. No reservations at 8:30 on a Saturday night, yet I barely had time to get a Hite from the bar before we were seated.
We ordered a plate of bulgogi (boneless beef), a plate of daejee bulgogi (spicy pork), a plate of kalbi (short ribs) and a haemul p'ajeon (seafood pancake with scallions).
Ten seconds later we had salads in front of us, which were the usual Korean salad with sesame dressing.
The bulgogi was very tasty, and the pork was spicy and very tasty, but the winner was the kalbi. Incredibly well-marbled beef, cooked just medium-rare on the grill... I wanted the entire plateful, but I had to share. They did change out the grill between meats, which was nice, and they greased and onioned the grill for us at every change.
The p'ajeon was great... warm and slightly greasy, stuffed with various kinds of seafood and long onions.
The panchan weren't anything unusual -- kimchi, spicy cucumbers, fish cakes, potato salad, sweet radish, yam noodles with seafood and regular p'ajeon (scallion pancakes), but they were all tasty and there was none of the nasty look you get at some places when you ask for refills.
The service was nice enough, though I did have to ask twice for rice and soup. Once we established that we knew what we were doing, they didn't bother us (flipping meat, etc.).
Dinner for four of us (including a bottle of Hite and two sodas) was $110 out the door.
I'd definitely go back again -- but this time I'd get two plates of kalbi and drop the bulgogi. I dreamt about that kalbi last night.
3330 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90019