Park’s Hot Pot in Koreatown Is Slowly Building Steam

Park’s Hot Pot in Koreatown Is Slowly Building Steam (2)
Joshua Lurie

Chef Jenee Kim clearly doesn’t enjoy standing pat. The Park’s BBQ doyenne has had a hit on her hands since 2003, and she’s expanded her Korean vision several times since then. Pork-focused Don Dae Gam and adjacent LaOn Dining had brief runs. Fast-casual Oleego by Park’s BBQ now has three L.A. locations. Now her latest effort, Park’s Hot Pot, a tabletop soup restaurant in K-town’s IB Plaza, is slowly building steam.

The space and concept are fairly simple. The front door leads into a dining room with gray walls, copper hoods and speckled black tables with cutouts for hot pots. A small, second-floor patio has limited seating and basically serves as a holding pen on busy nights.

Each experience begins with a parade of banchan, the small plates that are expected with each Korean meal. Tiny white dishes might contain chile-soaked cucumbers, a scoop of potato salad flecked with carrots and scallions, egg-battered vegetables (jeon), strips of slightly sweet fish cake and crunchy marinated bean sprouts.

A wall-mounted menu breaks down the simple choices. Start by stating your prime beef preference ($23 to $28). Selections consist of thin-shaved rib-eye, flatiron steak or brisket.

The two-compartment pot comes with bubbling vegetable, beef or spicy fish broth, bobbing with chilies and bean sprouts. Get a half-and-half combo at no extra charge. You'll also choose from six different noodles: glass, flat, thin, udon, ramen or sujebi (house-made dough flakes). If you're looking to bulk up, add either house-made dumplings or extra noodles.

Your server will bring hot broth and bowls of vegetables including spinach, crunchy cabbage and a couple types of mushrooms. Use tongs to toss in meat and noodles. The broth is extremely hot, so ingredients cook quickly. Finish the hot pot with a trio of dipping sauces: peanut sauce, chili sauce and soy sauce featuring jalapeño and daikon.

To finish, be sure to request savory porridge ($3), which takes your strained broth and loads it with minced vegetables, nori flakes, a squeeze of sesame oil and a cracked egg, which acts as a thickening agent as the liquid cooks down to peak consistency.

You’ll also find specials including prime rib-eye bulgogi and crisp griddled scallion pancakes studded with rock shrimp, which all previously proved their mettle at Park’s BBQ. If you’re in a big group, add these items, but otherwise hot pot is plenty hearty.

808 S. Western Ave., #207, Koreatown; (213) 388-1717,

Joshua Lurie is the L.A.-based founder of Food GPS. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

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