Hanjip Is Korean Barbecue’s Westside Story
March 4, 2016 - bbq set
The initial time we visited Hanjip was after they had rolled out OpenTable reservations. On a cold night in January, diners with reservations were forced to wait outward 30 to 45 mins after their reservation time to get a list in Chris Oh’s new Korean griddle griddle in downtown Culver City. After observant a wait to a stewardess and promulgation a integrate angry content messages to my editor, Matthew Kang, a fulfilment set in: Korean griddle was never designed for reservations.
South Korea is a caffeine-injected marketplace economy, where workers beast force hours to accommodate plan deadlines in conditions that would make an practice lawyer’s stomach turn. Everything contingency be finished quickly, so as to be a initial to market, to surpass a other company, a other co-worker, a other parent, a other student. For an instance of this rival mindset, observe a mind-blowing series of eateries and bars open during night in Koreatown between Vermont and Western on 6th Street alone.
The one partial of a day where families come together to lay during a list and delayed down
And nonetheless for many families, one dish receives an grant in this fast-paced culture, and that dish is dinner: The one partial of a day where families come together and lay during a community list of meats, fish, soup and banchan, and delayed down. Korean griddle follows a identical formula, where a hiss of a griddle cadences conversations and conviviality, a dishes punctuated with toasts and shots of soju, and a evening, an elongated judgment that reaches a finish when a caf� sees fit.
Space and Scene
Hanjip is a sexy, dimly illuminated assemblage of dim wooden booths flanking several round four-tops during a center. This isn’t your dad’s grubby griddle joint. Cylindrical steel unresolved fans are flattering to demeanour during during lunch, though infer mostly ineffectual for removing a fume out. On one visit, a server notes, “It’s kind of a badge of respect to smell like Korean BBQ — people will know we have adequate income to eat it.” This view sticks around quite during Hanjip, where cuts operation from a mid-20s adult to a officious intolerable $150 for a Tomahawk steak.
Apparently a lot of veteran 20-and-30-somethings wish that badge of honor. The throng is as opposite as Culver City is, though tends on a younger, some-more function side.
Hanjip’s beef offerings are brief, and there are a few legitimate standouts, some of that are primary class beef, while others make no matter about a USDA grade.
Rosy slices of chadol (brisket) tend to be some-more thickly cut, and hanjungsal, or pig jowl, is an impossibly abounding blast of pig fat that competence bear grouping twice. The meats themselves are high peculiarity cuts, though that doesn’t indispensably forgive Hanjip from rupturing them so thin, generally during their cost points. Hanjip’s griddle grates evidently keep aloft amounts of feverishness than normal Korean griddle grates, that is a shame, given they won’t get to work their Maillard-making sorcery on a infancy of a beef offerings. Still, a dress steaks and cooking brief rib are about as good as you’ll find during a best spots in Koreatown.
One cut that a griddle is most built for is a Tomahawk steak, that clocks in during an vast $150 and is served with a foie gras butter that tastes usually passingly of foie and mostly like butter. If there was a Korean griddle cut on earth value profitable $150 for, a Tomahawk cut during Hanjip substantially is not it. Unless you’re into culinarily illogical Instagram fodder, in that case, hit yourself out.
Hanjip faced a small flack on Yelp for instituting an 18% across-the-board use charge. Whether or not it’s value it is still a matter of debate. The assign comes opposite as generally pricey when servers fundamentally omit your list and leave we to your possess inclination (as was a box on one visit), and it’s officious harsh when a smart-alecky stewardess insists that, notwithstanding not being seated roughly half an hour after your reservation time, we don’t need to see a manager, that happened on a apart occasion.
But when a server cooks all your beef perfectly, afterwards deduction to flow soju down an ad hoc waterway done from a hollowed-out bone into your mouth, and afterwards does a shot with we even when we demeanour like a chairman where all fun goes to die, they’re not only earning 18%. They competence be offered themselves about 2-5% short.
Ironically, a non-grilled equipment are where Hanjip could win a box as one of a improved Korean restaurants in L.A. Let’s start with banchan, that can be hit-or-miss. When it connects, it’s a pound (a somewhat sweet, ideally chewy squid jerkey comes to mind). When Hanjip misses, it does so swinging: The sliced onions, that are preserved in a resolution indifferent for thinly-sliced daikon radish, are needlessly astringent, and presumably a small too sweet.
For all a vehemence about a bone pith corn cheese, it competence be a slightest expected claimant for repeat grouping only on perfect richness: Cooked kernels of corn surfaced with shaved parmesan, katsuobushi, and a hulk bone filled with pith make for an blast of umami.
Other equipment transport even better, as kimchi boiled rice comes in a normal Korean lunch tin, boiled in brownish-red butter and crowned with a 63-degree egg. It’s a miraculous play of contrasts between a fatty, abounding elements and a vinegary despondency of extra-fermented kimchi.
The haemul pajeon, or seafood pancake, is a stunner. Stuffed with stone shrimp and scallops, a routinely pancake-like density is contained within an roughly crispy, flaky extraneous that’s probably secret outward of Korean home kitchens.
Finally, Mister Oh’s Ribs, pig ribs slathered in a sweet-and-spicy gochujang-based griddle sauce, are a must-order. Traditionally, Korean pig ribs are cooking in a sharp resolution and grilled semi-dry. Oh’s ribs are of a opposite order, a Kansas City-leaning execution that incorporates Korean ingredients, ensuing in a rib that’s proposal and officious saucy. It’s immensely pleasing eating — only make certain your date doesn’t mind removing their hands dirty.
Say what we will about Hanjip’s viewed pandering to a Westside, Chris Oh’s griddle unequivocally shines when staying loyal to a chef’s Korean roots. Hanjip still seems to be fudging around with a right formula, though we competence be improved off going easy on a pricier grilled meats. Instead, do yourself a preference and extract of Oh’s witty takes on prepared dishes, that are skilfully deputy of some of a best flavors Korean cuisine has to offer in LA right now.
Hanjip is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to midnight on 3829 Main Street, Culver City. Reservations accepted around OpenTable.
Editor: Matthew Kang
Photographer: Wonho Frank Lee