Genki Grill is An Ideal Miracle Mile Lunch
If there was an award for most improved L.A. lunch scene in the past few years, it has got to be Miracle Mile. The area of Wilshire Blvd. between La Brea and La Cienega has been completely transformed since I worked at 5700 Wilshire in 2005. Back then it was Baja Fresh or Baja Fresh… unless of course you liked Marie Callender’s (I do not.) Now there’s The Counter, a couple of decent looking sushi places, Five Guys is on its way, and of course the food trucks- which still line up en masse across the street from the LACMA. But my new favorite place in the area has got to be Genki Grill, a 6 month old Asian rice bowl place on Wilshire between San Vicente and Crescent Heights.
Normally when I see the words “healthy” touted in the name or signage of a restaurant, it’s a cue to turn and run the other way. But luckily at Genki Grill it doesn’t mean a lack of flavor. In fact, I think it’s safe to assume that “healthy” just means “grilled and served with vegetables… if you want.” If you’ve ever been to The Flame Broiler you’ll recognize the menu at Genki, which is cheap fast food rice bowls and plates that could pass for Japanese or Korean.
The rice bowls (which are all $5.75) are the sensible option, and come with chicken, beef, spicy pork, or a combo of any two, and your choice of vegetables or no vegetables. The Genki Bowl (2 meats plus rice and vegetables) is the most popular choice. The meats come lightly marinated, giving the beef a slightly caramelized quality, and the chicken had the perfect amount of char from the grill. I don’t know if I’d call it healthy, but it is certainly clean- another word I hate, but in this case it is pretty accurate. Simple flavors, well prepared, and under $6. How can you go wrong? You can’t. But you could go more right…
…by ordering the plate! For $1.85 more you get a bit of extra meat, plus salad, orange and the option of ordering short ribs- although the short ribs are just ok and because they’re more expensive than the other options you get less of them. The spicy pork, on the other hand, was pretty excellent. It’s not going to replace your favorite spicy pork place in K-Town, but for Asian fast food it was way above average. Slightly sweet, with a great kick… I ate every bite. Next time I’ll probably go beef and spicy pork plate with veggies and be a super happy camper.
With Koreatown just a mile or two east on Wilshire, it’s hard to recommend settling for cheap fast food Korean’ish rice bowls in this location. But Genki is cheap enough and (even more importantly) delicious enough that you don’t even need to invoke the convenience factor. I just wish the place had been open when I worked around there!
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- I love The Flame Broiler, and Genki is even better.
- It may not be healthy, but it’s healthier.
- Food trucks should take notice. This is how you do Asian fast food!
- The spicy pork is super delicious
- They have teriyaki sauce, sriracha and tabasco (?) in the front so you can customize the taste of your food
- I don’t like to stuff myself during lunch, so the $5.75 bowl is the perfect amount of food
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Meh. I’m not into the Asian fast food thing. I’d rather drive a lit bit farther into Koreatown and pay a little bit extra for the real deal.
- I like grilled meats, but wish they charred everything a bit more.
- The bowl is waaaaay too small for me, and the plate isn’t big enough to warrant the extra $2. Plus who wants salad!? Not me!
- This place is nothing special… I’d go if it was across the street from my work but nothing more.
Genki Grill, 6355 Wilshire Blvd, 323-653-3287