Want Korean Barcebue that’s not Chosun Galbee? Well, then maybe Park’s is your destination. Occasionally, one finds himself (or herself – we’re all about the equal opportunity here at Is It Any Good) in a bit of a pickle. One is told…and told by writers he or she respects…that a certain place in the greater Los Angeles area is the bomb, the bees knees, the end all be all, of a particular branch of gastronomy. One invariably tries said establishment, and…well…while they find it good, damn good in fact, it is the truth of the matter that said establishment has been hyped beyond all measure, all reasonableness, and all ability to give it a fair judgment. So what then to do about Parks BBQ?Well, nothing much. It’s a damn fine Korean BBQ restaurant. I had a good time while I was there. Dad was in town, and I managed to Jedi-Mind-Trick him into going here instead of his beloved Chosun Galbi. And after the meal, one which we enjoyed quite a bit, we scheduled another run to Chosun. Why? Well, it’s simple…and it’s not really Park’s fault. Jonathan Gold, whom we all respect, admire, worship, want to eat like, said (at No. 84), and I quote:
You may prefer the posh of Chosun, the user-friendliness of Genwa or the funk of Soot Bull Jeep. Nobody will look down on you if you yearn for the sweet, cold noodles at the Corner Place as much as you do its un-marinated galbi or pine for the all-you-can eat mayhem at Oo Kook. But when your priorities in a Korean barbecue restaurant run more toward high-grade meat than toward a particular ambience, you are probably already a fan of Park’s.
And there it is, Dad and I like the posh of Chosun, but it’s not my priority. And the meat was pretty damn good at Park’s, but…for me, it was the completeness of the meal. When it comes to Korean Food, there is no meal without Banchan, and there is not Banchan without Kimchi, in this case, Cabbage or Leaf Kimchi. No Cabbage Kimchi kinda threw me off my game, tell you the truth. Look, what can you do? I’ve always imagined Banchan kinda like Dim-Sum. The cook makes what he or she feels like making that night, and you get what they got. We didn’t get Cabbage Kimchi that night. We got Cucumber. Now, we like Cucumber. We like it a lot. We just…missed the Cabbage. And thus, we were headed back to Chosun. But not before enjoying the hell out of Park’s. Plus, we had just gotten used to the whole Chosun experience. The Salad with the Ginger Dressing. The sweetened Barley tea at the end of the meal. We knew how to Park. We knew what to expect. And then there was the Cabbage Kimchi thing, too. But it was a good meal. Even Dad said he’d like to come back… …but after we hit Chosun again, because…that’s his joint. WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Wouldn’t call my Dad a veteran of all things Korean BBQ, but he knows what he likes. So the first thing we were going to get was the Bulgogi, since it’s his Number One food item at that other place, and well…one cannot help but compare. The Bulgogi came out of the kitchen in long strips, and nice and fatty. It also came drenched in marinade. It was actually served in a bowl. Never seen that before. The fattiness of the meat made chewing through it a bit difficult at times, but I think that was more luck of the draw than anything. We also got the Outside Skirt Steak, and that was a fantastic cut of meat. Long cuts of lean, tasty beef, and grilled to perfect (by s at the table). It was a best part of the meal. That and the Banchan. It was good, despite the lack of Cabbage Kimchi. There was also something that could only be called Cole Slaw, a nice Cabbage Salad that came with Rice Sheets. Wrap up the Salad it he Rice, wrap it up, enjoy. IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: As popular as it is, Parks is in a Strip Mall, and is not a big as you might think. It’s also…well…much more compactly designed that it might looks. Meaning? Going to the Men’s Room was a bit of an adventure. The place is designed like a submarine. You’re going to have to do some seriously squeezing in and between things to get where you’re going. PARKING: As I said Park’s is a part of a Strip Mall Complex is Koreatown, so parking is…well…limited. There is a Valet, and that’s you’re best bet. They’ll take your care over next door, where they’ve got plenty of room. You can try to do that yourself, but…honestly, save yourself the trouble. Just use the Valet Service and get it over with. MAP DIRECTIONS: Park’s BBQ 955 S. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles CA 90006 Tel: (213) 380-1717 Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 11:00AM – 12:00AM Friday Saturday: 11:00AM – 1:00AM