Park's Barbecue: 99 Essential Restaurants 2011

On the Lunar New Year, after we had worked our way through prime rib-eye and brisket, beef tongue and skirt steak, tripe and special pork belly that was not that day the prized Tokyo X, as well as a crisp seafood pancake and the cold noodles called naengmyon, the waitress came over to the table with a big bowl of mandoo guk, special dumplings in soup, because she didn't want us to miss out on the holiday. Even through our meat comas, we knew that was a nice thing to do. There are hundreds of Koreatown restaurants specializing in barbecue, and some of them even have bigger followings, but there is an odd consensus around Park's, a gleaming theater of grill-it-yourself, where the waiters resemble members of a martial arts team more than they do restaurant workers, and the chefs source the meat as obsessively as they do at Spago. At more than $30 for an order of sliced Kobe-style beef and near that for short ribs, this is probably the most expensive Korean barbecue in town, although it's never quite as expensive as you fear. And the restaurant does not hold back on its panchan, the little egg pancakes, puréed squash, tiny fish, kimchi, spicy roots, broccoli and a half-dozen other things that are the measure of a Korean restaurant. 955 S. Vermont Ave., Koreatown. (213) 380-1717, parksbbq.com. Sun.-Thurs, 11 a.m.-mid.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Beer, wine, soju. Valet parking. AE, MC, V. Korean.

99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011:

Jonathan Gold's Introduction
Anne Fishbein's Photos
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