Lunch’er Flatrock Reports: Koreatown Plaza is Zach’s Nirvana
I happened to be in LA last week and while driving through Koreatown decided to stop in to the Koreatown Plaza on S. Western and 9th Street in the hopes that I could find some mandoo. I walked into this Plaza and it was a full fledged mall, but all Korean! I wandered through the mall towards the aroma of food, and eventually walked into what I believe is “Zach’s Personal Nirvana,” a mall food court that serves nothing but Asian food!!! There were dumplings, a pho shop, a weird Korean sandwich stall, a curry spot, mostly it was Korean food with the Pho thrown in there for good measure. As I wandered around from stall to stall in a state of bewilderment and amazement, I discovered the pinnacle of this Nirvana like mall food court, a stall serving dol sat bibimbap (it was called Gamja Bawi). I’m thinking, mall food court, all asian food, real hot stone pot! How could this be bad.
I ordered the one of the hot stone pots for $6.99, which was just beef and sprouts instead of the one with all the veggies (With veggies or kimchi it was another $1, and with seafood, it was another $2), took a number and waited at a table for my meal to be ready. The lady behind the counter started setting up trays for a few orders, she had bowls of soup and other banchan including kimchi and cold pan fried tofu, and of course there was hot sauce (gochujang?). The woman sitting at the table next to me got her order first, it was a hot stone pot with seafood, just an orangeish redish pile of shrimp and pieces of fish. It smelled out of control good! When my order finally came the rice was sizzling away in a real deal hot stone pot.
In fairness, it was not the best bibimbap I’ve ever had. The beef portion was a little small, didn’t have an overwhelming strong flavor but had some nice char to it. The bean sprouts were sprouts and the yolk on the egg had already been cooked enough so that it did not run when I broke into it. All that said, sitting at a table in a mall food court, the only white man in a sea of koreans, with a giant bowl of crisp sizzling rice, how could this get any better. Zach, I see why you went back to LA. (Please excuse my crappy camera phone pics, I had no idea what I was in for when I stepped out of my car.) -Lee
I want to go to there. (Any other tips, recommendations, or reports? Post them in the comments, or email me firstname.lastname@example.org)
Koreatown Plaza, 928 S Western Ave (btw. 9th+San Marino), 213-382-1234