IN THIS ISSUE: Buffet Land and Cafe Brasil
Friday night, my fiancee and I went with a large group of people to Buffet Land (1925 W. Olympic, corner of Alvarado, Koreatown). It's a Korean barbecue with several other buffets (sushi, salad, Mexican [I don't get it either], fruit, kimchi.
COST AND SERVICE
Cost is $17.95 a person. There isn't much in the way of service other than the guy who wanders around flipping your meat, cutting your kalbi, and serving you water or drinks.
The food is very good if you stick to the Korean bbq and the kimchi. They have other Korean dishes, including a decent rendition of chap chae (cold pan-fried noodles), and a wonderful version of sik hae (cold ginger-flavoured traditional rice drink). The sushi was unimpressive but edible, and the remainder of the food was kind of an afterthought.
Excellent for the price. It's all you can eat.
We had to ask for cold water. The waiter fed us some line about warm water being good for the digestion but no one (of 50 of us) believed him. The place is enormous, capable of holding 1000 patrons. It wasn't very full. The ventilation systems don't work in a room of 50 barbecuing people. Valet parking is free. Neighbourhood quite undesirable.
On Saturday, we went apartment shopping in Palms and ended up at Cafe Brasil (Venice and Midvale). It was just the two of us for lunch.
It's very tropical-planty but other than that it looks like Lucy's (or Cinco de Mayo or whatever it's called).
Lunch for two with soda was $32.00.
My fiancee had a grilled chicken breast that was quite obviously marinated in citrus, and it came with a salad (disgusting, she said - the dressing was half mustard), a tropical salsa (quite tasty), black beans, rice, and fried plantains. She pronounced it quite good, a bit greasy. I had feijoada, the traditional Brazilian black-bean-and-pork stew, with its usual accompaniments of rice, farofa (fried manioc flour), orange slices, and collard greens cooked in salty pot likker. It was absolutely delicious, though the collards could have used another two hours.
A bit expensive but a nice tasty treat once in a while.
Parking can be difficult. They have lunch specials ($6.95) and churrasco (barbecued meat). The nabe is a bit weird because it fronts on Venice, which is a large street, but not unsafe. The service is strictly bus-yourself.