2008 was the Great Year of All You Can Eat KBBQ. It was extremely difficult to fight off the perpetual invite to AYCE KBBQ by unemployed hungry dude friends. With the economy seemingly picking up, AYCE BBQ seemed to have weakened its strangle hold on the Korean food scene.
Regardless, once in a blue moon, the smoke from grease fire lulls us all into a state of gluttony. When this happens, Beul Dae Po jumps up and fulfills the required task brilliantly: big beef, big fire, big numbers of good panchan. More specifically, the $50 Beul Dae Po “Combo” will satisfy a group of 4 perfectly. And by establishing the perfect ratio of barbecue to grubbers to cost, BDP shows it is at ease in battling fellow BBQ restaurants in Koreatown.
The “Combo”, a magical word in Korean restaurants, serves up cha dol l bae gi, unmarinated kalbi, and cow tongue to start. Beyond the bottomless myriad of small plates, there exists another magical ratio of 2:1, which translates to: buy 2 bottles of soju, get 1 free. And with those bottles of cracked open, my memories of these meals always blur. That is why particular this progression of beef is encouraged: ask the server to drop the ribeyes steaks onto the grill last, and ask them to serve the thin, less desirable thin briskets first. When that third bottle of soju cracks open, and the waiter drops the huge flanks of ribeyes onto the sizzling grill as dessert? You will say a little thank-you prayer to the Meat Jesus.
Folks, mark these words, out-of-towners (by out-of-towner, think Santa Monica, or Culver City) love this tale of ribeye as dessert. They might balk at the thought of a non-all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ, but ask them to soldier forth. Snippets of ribeye steaks wrapped in dduk rice paper, ensconcing slices of shiso, are mighty powerful forms of persuasion. Elitists might trip over themselves over the lack of bul (charcoal). To counter this, simply ask the server to hold up the pound of ribeye up to the tightly focused halogen light beam and crank up the digitally lit grill that is capable of spreading a perfect wave of fine flames. Instant silence.
Soowon and Road2Seoul (I have previously visited both during opening month) are media darlings right now, but… take some well testified advice from a perpetual contrarian for once, BDP offers the complete KBBQ experience, down to the puking gentleman being asked, by his leeching friends, to sign the credit card slip on the bathroom floor. With this type of soju powered fun, it’d be impossible to hate your boring cousin from Reseda even during Thanksgiving meal.
Byul Dae Po
601 S Ardmore Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005-2314