AYCE: All You Can Eat. Yes, as much as you want.
In the city of Angels there is a magical place called Koreatown where AYCE Korean BBQs are dishing out juicy, taste-bud-gripping meats all night long. With a KBBQ on every corner in Koreatown, the only problem Angelenos find themselves faced with is deciding which one to go to. No worries, Korea Beacon has got you covered. These 5 AYCE spots will definitely satisfy your meat cravings and, more importantly, leave you wishing there was a bed next to your table to cradle that post-KBBQ coma!
1. Road to Seoul
Road to Seoul will take you straight up the road to quality Korean BBQ heaven, and you’ll never want to leave. R2S has mastered all the usuals like kalbi and bulgogi, and has captured eaters’ hearts with their tender pork neck and beef tongue. They are also known for their consistent friendly and fast staff, as well as their loud club-esque music which draws in the younger crowd. The $17.99 option gets you as much of the 16 meat varieties, and the $19.99 adds on steak, shrimp and mushroom to that list. R2S is where the KBBQ party is at in K-town. That said, it tends to get pretty busy, so we advise you to call ahead and reserve a table.
Road to Seoul
1230 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006
2. Hae Jang Chon
Come hungry, leave busting at the seams. Before coming to Hae Jang Chon, you might want to practice ingesting large amounts of food. Recently voted as one of Southern California’s most delicious bargains by the LA Times, this place delivers quantity without skimping on the quality. For $16.99, you can get 13 different kinds of meat which are grilled on a traditional stone pot called a dolgooi. On top of the mounds of meat, they also give you kimchi pancakes, 4 different dipping sauces, and plenty of banchan and wraps. Once you’re all finished with the meat and you think you might need to loosen your belt, they bring out kimchi fried rice that comes out to a perfect crisp on the grill. And once you’ve finished that, and you think you might pass out, they plant a big shareable bowl of doenjang jjigae (bean paste soup). Finally, when all is done, a waiter brings you your check and you’ll suddenly realize that you might need help waddling out the door…
Hae Jang Chon
3821 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
3. Gui Rim
Gui Rim is a solid go-to spot with all the basics you would require in a AYCE KBBQ. Choose from either option A ($13.99-14 meat choices), B ($17.99-21 meat choices) or C ($24.99- 28 meat choices) and start grilling your meat over real charcoals with gas. Make sure you check out their happy hour that takes about $4 off the A&B options everyday before 6pm! Unlike most KBBQ, Gui Rim serves their short ribs with bones attached instead of pre-cut. They also offer up a pork toro that will make you reconsider your current diet plan. At Gui Rim, you choose up to 3 plates of meat at a time and order again once a plate is finished. As always, a multitude of banchan and dduk (rice paper for wrapping) flood the table endlessly. Included in all the options is a bowl of doenjang jjigae and a bowl of naengmyeon in a spicy or cold broth.
3977 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
For a little bit more money, you can get a better quality meat at Oo-Kook. At $24.99 per person the price puts Oo-Kook on the high-end cost range of the AYCE places. However, the $8 up from the usual $16.99 AYCE places shows in the types of meat that they use: kobe beef, marinated kalbi, prime rib, and sometimes even shrimp! The meat choices are excellent here and some say they are higher quality than the other places. Unlike the usual red leaf lettuce salad at most AYCE places, Oo-Kook serves up the legit pa moochim (scallion salad). Unfortunately, they don’t have kimchi, but with all that kobe beef begging you to eat it, you might not even notice the absent kimchi.
3385 W 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Choi Ga Nae is a no frills kind of place. Smaller and a bit more low-key than the average hustle and bustle found in the bigger KBBQ restaurants, they still serve great quality meat. AYCE ranges from $9.99 to $16.99 depending on the A/B option and whether or not it’s lunch or dinner. The chadol (thinly sliced brisket) and the marinated and non-marinated short rib (galbi sal & yang nyum galbi) are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and the usual fall back item on the menu. They bring out the doenjang jjijae and steamed egg during the meal, and carry out the ice-cold naengmyeon at the finish, all of which are unlimited. Sorry regulars of Choi Ga Nae, hopefully all the AYCE’ers don’t flock to your spot now…we know you were trying to keep the place on the down low.
Choi Ga Nae
3916 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010
[First Photo: Angie Walton/CNN]