A few months ago, our good friend Janet flew back to Socal from Chicago. We picked her up at LAX around noon and immediately proceeded to do what we know best: eat (barring karaoke, of course).
AYCE Korean barbeque has got to be one of the greatest American/Korean fusions out there. The American “all you can eat” tradition combined with the Korean love of barbequed meats, all for the miraculous price of $9.99 (unlimited side dishes included). I’m not even kidding.
I went with my roommates on Tuesday, since we’d been craving Korean bbq for a while, and because it was the perfect weather (a cold and rainy night). The last time I had eaten this stuff was at O Dae San (review here) next door, during graduation. So I was more than ready to chow down. I love AYCE meals because I ALWAYS eat more than what I pay for. Mind over matter.
The service was prompt and efficient. We were quickly seated, given an minimal assortment of banchan (ranging from kimchi to Korean potato salad and the ubiquitous rice paper). We mostly reordered the potato salad, because the kimchi was way too salty. On a side note, Korea is experiencing a national kimchi crisis right now because of rains in Asia that destroyed napa cabbage crops this year. Anyway. the waitresses also dropped off gyeran jjim (steamed egg) midway through the meal.
Anyway, the selections are limited (8 choices, half beef and half non-beef) but still plentiful. I can’t comment on the beef selections, but I became very acquainted with the pork and chicken served. The marinated chicken was very lightly marinated, and not very flavorful. So I invented my own marinade, consisting of vinegar soy sauce (for rice paper) mixed in which Korean chili sauce, which made the cooked chicken much more appetizing.
The pork, however, was heavenly. The marinated pork was succulent, sweet, and spicy. Just the way Korean bbq should be. It was sort of fatty, but still fresh. The pork with beansprouts had a much subtler flavor, but still tasty.
All in all, we probably ordered 9 to 10 plates of meat. A truly satisfying meal for $13, tip included. Life doesn’t get any better than this. It’s just the aftermath—the smell of meat in your hair, clothes and skin, is pretty darn hard to remove. My suggestion: leave your sweater in the car.