Archive for the 'All U Can Eat' Category

Page 2 of 4

DonDay – Los Angeles (Koreatown)

DonDay - Koreatown

Cousin Phil is my favorite person to feast on all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue with. His appetite for animal lifeblood rivals that of a T-Rex and his skills on the grill are top notch. When it’s just The Astronomer and me protein-loading in K-Town, there’s always a possibility that we won’t be able to polish off the final plate of galbi or that we’ll somehow burn the delicate shrimp or squid. However, when Phil’s around, everything is carefully managed and under control.

DonDay - Koreatown

When a recent business trip brought Phil to Los Angeles for two days, The Astronomer and I whisked him away for a Korean barbecue dinner. After picking him up at his downtown hotel, we made the short drive to DonDay in Koreatown. According to my friend Danny, the restaurant’s all-you-can-eat specials offered good quality and value. Our party of three settled on the $19.99 per person option that included a variety of animals, cuts, and marinades.

DonDay - Koreatown

Included in the price of admission was a small army of side dishes. The Astronomer and Phil didn’t care too much for the banchan, but they’re my absolute favorite part of Korean dining.

Tonight’s selection included blanched broccoli with sesame oil, pickled daikon, kimchi, macaroni salad, marinaded cucumbers, bamboo shoots with jalapenos, and rice papers. I appreciated how the ladies who run the joint happily refilled my mac salad and rice papers when I ran low.

Continue reading ‘DonDay – Los Angeles (Koreatown)’

Sunday Brunch at Scarpetta – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)

Sunday Brunch at Scarpetta - Beverly Hills

The last time I indulged in a lavish Sunday brunch spread, I wound up in the fetal position in the hotel lobby. The Astronomer fared slightly better and only popped a button off his pants. We’re normally rational and quite levelheaded, but for the life of us, we couldn’t exhibit good behavior when faced with such a stupendous buffet. You’d do the same in an all-you-can-eat foie gras ice cream sandwich situation too, trust me.

A couple of Sundays ago, I was once again confronted with a brunch spread so awesome that it threatened to compromise my reasonable nature. This time around it was at Scarpetta, Chef Scott Conant‘s modern Italian restaurant tucked inside the Montage Beverly Hills.

Sunday Brunch at Scarpetta - Beverly Hills

I, along with my partner in crime Diana, were guests of the hotel this morning during the debut of Sunday brunch. We were seated on the cusp of the dining room with an idyllic view overlooking the Beverly Canon Gardens. Mimosas were quick to arrive, which we appreciated greatly. Cheers to good food and good friends.

Sunday Brunch at Scarpetta - Beverly Hills

Before piling our plates full of this and that and everything in between, we strolled through the open kitchen to survey what was cookin’. We spied a crudo and shellfish station, cured meats, a pasta station, an egg station, waffles and pancakes from the griddle, a carving station, and a fruit station. Outside the kitchen was an impressive display of cheeses and sweets. [See the complete menu here.] It was a sensational selection of dishes and we were excited to get started.

Continue reading ‘Sunday Brunch at Scarpetta – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)’

Mezbaan Indian Cuisine – Pasadena

Mezbaan Indian Cuisine - Pasadena

When the Indian kids studying at Caltech are hungry for a taste of home, they head to Mezbaan Indian Cuisine in Old Pasadena. It’s hardly the closest Indian restaurant to campus, but the quality makes up for the longer trek, according to our friend Raga, a computer science grad student from Madras.

Raga introduced The Astronomer and me to his favorite spot a few Sundays ago. We came for the  all-you-can-eat buffet, which is priced at $10.95 and includes champagne. The fun starts at noon and runs until 3 PM. Mezbaan also has a weekday buffet for $8.99 from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM. For grad students living on a stipend, these buffets offer a lot of bang for very little buck. Ordering a la carte will come once PhDs are in hand. Or maybe not…

Mezbaan Indian Cuisine - Pasadena

While we were filling up our plates at the steam tables, our really nice and attentive waiter dropped off a basket of warm and pliable naan. This was the first of two baskets we plowed through during our meal.

Mezbaan Indian Cuisine - Pasadena

On our visit, Mezbaan offered three different condiments—mint chutney, tamarind chutney, and raita, a cooling yogurt sauce. Raga had a soft spot for the minty one, while I favored the sticky sweet tamarind one.

Continue reading ‘Mezbaan Indian Cuisine – Pasadena’

Tahoe Galbi Restaurant – Los Angeles (Koreatown)

Since The Astronomer’s class load on Fridays is especially light, he hopped on the Metro and jammed to Koreatown to meet me for dinner. We were car-less during our first couple of weeks in Los Angeles and became quite familiar with the public transit system. The Metro isn’t as dependable as the subways in New York City, but in all honesty, it gets the job done fairly well.

Tahoe Galbi Restaurant is located in between my office and the Wilshire-Western Metro station. Besides being convenient, the place received Korean barbecue connoisseur Wandering Chopstick’s seal of approval.

We arrived before the Friday night dinner rush and were seated promptly at a table fit for six. After perusing the menu for a brief moment, we both slammed it shut and declared that All U Can Eat was the only way to go—we were game for a meat fest.

For a measly $17 each, we feasted on bunches of banchan and all the meat we could stomach. The banchan arrived first. The colorful selection included white jelly squares topped with scallions and a soy vinaigrette, Jap-Chae (translucent starch noodles with vegetables and beef in a sweet garlic sauce), K’ong Na-Mul (bean sprouts seasoned with sesame oil), Musaengchae/Muchae (pickled diakon), kimchi, Gam-Ja Salad (potato salad) and steamed broccoli with chili pepper paste. There were also little squares of rice paper that weren’t very photogenic.

When it comes to complimentary flavors, it makes perfect sense to pair cool pickled vegetables with salty grilled meats. These diverse little nibbles really brightened up our otherwise protein-intensive meal.

Additional side items included a fresh green salad, a bubbling fermented bean paste stew with tofu and whole shrimps, and a delicate steamed egg. The salad was bland-city, while the stew’s flavors reminded me of Vietnamese canh chua and the egg was reminiscent of Japanese Chawanmushi.

Whereas the banchan enhanced the Korean barbecue experience for us, these side items didn’t quite meld with the meat at hand. Perhaps the clever folks at Tahoe serve these side items to distract diners’ taste buds, thus effectively lowering the volume of meat they consume.

A number of condiments were also set upon our table including freshly sliced garlic and jalapenos, a thick fermented tofu sauce, sesame oil and Korean fish sauce.

The All U Can Eat menu includes a selection of six meats, including crowd pleasers like bulgogi and galbi. Since it was our first time in a long time eating Korean barbecue, we ordered a bit of everything from our amiable waiter.

Our first batch of meats included Chadolbaegi (Korean sliced brisket) and beef tongue. Is it just me or does beef tongue taste a bit like mild liver? Both cuts were good, but not nearly as exciting as the heaps of bulgogi and galbi to come.

Next, we enthusiastically dove into galbi, bulgogi and chicken. The galbi (marinated beef short ribs in a ganjang-based (Korean soy suace) sauce) was tender, well-seasoned and made us feel like cavemen. The bulgogi (thin slices of sirloin beef marinated with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic) was equally awesome. Whereas I preferred the thin pieces of galbi due to the ratio of meat to marinade, The Astronomer liked the thicker slabs of bulgogi. I didn’t taste any of the chicken, but The Astronomer proclaimed it juicy and flavorful.

The pork belly was our least favorite meat because after eating copious amounts of beef slathered in a sweet marinade, the unseasoned pork just tasted bland.

After completing our first platter of meats, The Astronomer was feeling bold and ordered a second helping of our favorites—kalbi and bulgogi. My belly was overwhelmed by this point, so I manned the grill like a pro.

From chicken to beef to pork, The Astronomer and I were really impressed by how tender each and every one of the meats at Tahoe Galbi were. In addition to the excellent food, the service and ambiance were respectively efficient and clean. I especially appreciated the mid-meal grill change because meat juices have a nasty way of crusting up the grill’s surface and charring innocent meats.

As we walked from the restaurant to the Metro stop, we wondered if the surge of protein flowing through our systems would stay for longer than 24 hours. Sadly, probably not.

Tahoe Galbi Restaurant
3986 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Phone: 213-365-9000

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...