Monday, March 24, 2014

Piedmontese Beef for Korean BBQ at Star King BBQ

There's a new star of Korean BBQ in Koreatown. Star King BBQ has actually been open for a while, but a recent change of ownership led to the kbbq joint being the only Korean restaurant and one of the few places in Los Angeles offering Piedmontese beef. The new owner Jackie Yoo is the daughter of a meat distributor, so she knows where to get the good stuff.

Not just the Piedmontese, but Star King is possibly also the only place in town serving the tomahawk rib eye of the Piedmontese. This is what put the restaurant on the heat map, and you have to admit, the presentation is rather impressive!
All the bbq is cooked over charcoal grill, and you'll find plenty of banchans, from the typical to the more unusual.
Instead of the potato salad, you'll find sweet potato salad along with pancakes.

The $85 tomahawk is huge and will feed two without order much else. It certainly is gorgeous on the grill.

Cooked medium rare, the Piedmontese is indeed wonderful. It's leaner yet tender and still has much of that "meaty" flavor, and leaves you with a much cleaner finish.
Rib Eye
While the tomahawk is the attraction that brings people in, I stay for the galbi. As you may know, the galbi we get here is mostly what is known as "LA-style" galbi, which is the short rib with the bone in. According to Jackie, the galbi in Korea is actually the back ribs, and she's one of the few in town that serves this cut (she serves both styles). The menu doesn't indicate that it is Piedmontese but she does try to serve Piedmontese galbi as much as she can. 

For me, this was the star. I loved the tomahawk rib eye but I fell in love with the back ribs. This may well be my favorite cut now! Not just the meat, I also really like the marinade she uses. 

Don't miss the a la carte salads. There are very interesting ones like the Cha-dol Naengche (cold beef salad, $17): Thin slices of flash fried beef, tossed with vegetables (which were mostly green onions) in a tangy dressing
OK, I say salad but really I keep eating this for that little pieces of crispy beef. So addictive.

For a much healthier salad, try the Do-to-ri Mook Muchim (seasoned acorn jelly salad, $12): housemade acorn jelly, lightly tossed with toasted seaweed, perilla leaves, Korean chives in sesame oil dressing
Again, I've never seen this elsewhere but I enjoyed that cooling acorn jelly with the rich mouthfeel of the sesame oil dressing.

Traditional Japchae (sweet potato noodles with vegetables, $12) is of course also available.

Expensive Piedmontese beef aside, you can actually go to Star King BBQ and get the usual AYCE BBQ for only $17.99. There are many lunch specials for under $10 including dumplings and bibimbap, so don't shy away from Star King because you'd think you have to shell out too much money.

IMG_4113 Star King BBQ
3807 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 384-5464
Star King BBQ on Urbanspoon


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