Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4), we'll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.
86: Galbi Jjim at Soban.
Walk into any cozy Korean mom-and-pop restaurant, the kind with the old lacquered wood tables and weathered pictures of soups and stews on the wall, and there's a good chance that a clay pot of galbi jjim -- braised short ribs -- will be on the menu. Korean cuisine is filled with comfort foods, but galbi jjim, a soy- and garlic-intensive version of the best pot roast you've ever eaten, is probably the most comforting of the lot.
At Soban, a bright modern space on the western edges of Koreatown, the spicy pot of short ribs arrives looking like the centerpiece of the best Sunday dinner you could dream of. Impossibly tender cubes of beef are covered in rich gravy with hints of chile paste, roasted chestnuts and sweet, sauce-plumped dates. The flavor is as deep as an abandoned well, developed during hours of slow and deliberate braising. Is that orange rind? Ginger? Sesame oil? You ladle huge spoonfuls over mixed-grain rice, making sure to sop up every last drop of sauce. Maybe you'll convince Grandma to add some gochujang to next year's holiday brisket.
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