O Dae San – Koreatown

Haha am I behind on Food Coma or what? Even Nicole has updated! Thought I’d never see the day. J/K. 🙂

We were planning to celebrate the graduation of Ting Yee (that’s your name now, Rosalie) by eating all you can eat Korean bbq at Sanya (only $10) in K-town. But lo and behold, there was a long line when we arrived. I tried going inside to ask an employee how long the wait was, only to be rudely shooed away and told “I don’t know! Wait in line” in a thick Korean accent.

Since we didn’t have a Plan B, we just ended up indecisively wandering around Olympic Blvd, pingponging from one side of the street (a Japanese resto called Wako) to the next before finally deciding to eat at the Korean bbq restaurant next door, O Dae San.

We finally got a table at 9:45 pm upstairs and decided to get the $17 all you can eat deal, 3 meat plates at a time.

See the full gallery on posterous

The banchan (side dishes) was very sparse, bland (steamed brocolli, kimchi, flat rice noodles, ice cucumbers and boiled bean sprouts) and not refilled. And where was the potato salad? =( After our first round, a waiter dropped off fried kimchi pancakes, but all of us saw right through that ploy, because carbs fill you up faster, limiting your intake of meat. Also, we got mixed and steamed egg in a clay pot.

See the full gallery on posterous

I forgot the order of meat plates we got, but it was basically chicken bulgogi, pork belly, beef brisket, beef belly, and baby octopus. I don’t know what the beef dishes tasted like (maybe Michelle and Laurie can contribute), but the chicken bulgogi wasn’t flavorful enough. I think the pieces were too big. The pork belly was delicious though, easy to cook and well-soaked in the sauce. The baby octopus (4 of them, in a sea of leeks, sauce and what have you) came in a tin foil, which was cooked on the grill. Unfortunately, we overcooked it and it ended up being really tough to chew. The sauce, however, was really tasty and used to cook the other meats. The grilling took such a long time, because half of the grill didn’t function properly and cutting the meat was painstaking.

The service was just unacceptable. It seems like none of the staff were responsive at all. At one point, we asked to have our water refilled, but the waiter instead delivered it to another table. I feel like places like this should provide customers with a whistle or something. And it seems like most of the staff do not speak English competently. I had great trouble understanding the Korean and Hispanic waiters there. We even asked for our third round of meat dishes several times and ended up waiting a lot longer than necessary. It wasn’t until the last half hour that one particular staff member, an amicable Korean guy, partially redeemed the dining experience. Maybe he noticed how annoyed I was, but he said that we didn’t need to leave a tip because bringing more people next time would mean better business. He also brought out leftover soft drinks, since we were the last customers in there.

I don’t know if I’d come back here again, since I’ve had better kbbq (although my palate may be biased since all I ate were the non-beef meats) and better (and unlimited) side dishes. Plus, the service is subpar.

Score: 3/5

– Justin

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