reviewed by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
It’s the experience that counts. Right?
When it comes to dining out, let’s face it, no matter what you eat, the cost or the comfort, how the table was set, or the waiter served, the color of the decor or the ambiance of the room, in the end, it’s about how you feel in the afterglow of a perfect meal.
E!ght Korean BBQ on Western Avenue in Koreatown is definitely a choice.
Not entirely traditional. But a touch of the divine amid the new, new evolutions of redefined comfort foods.
There is an array of simple, flavorful choices that offer decadence for the palette without a heavy-handed upscale milieu or a heart-attack-inducing bill at the end.
Whether you are feeling date-night amorous, friends-night social or family chow-time, this mostly obscure eatery located in a strip mall, is perfectly balanced in all things comestible. You simply can’t go wrong on a single bite. And if you are a particular fan of the pleasure of Korean BBQ grilling at the table, E!ght Korean BBQ‘s adapted cooking style of this favorite tradition in sleek surroundings will definitely have you seduced.
On our recent outing, we were treated to a ‘Combo A’ – eight curated flavors of Magalitza Pork Belly – Black Sesame, Wine, Original, Garlic, Herb, Curry, Miso Paste and Red Pepper – (8Korean is the only Korean concept kitchen in SoCal that serves this), Seafood Soybean Stew, Mozzarella Kimchi Fried Rice, Banchan (a collective of side dishes) and Salad.
What is Magalitza Pork?
Mangalitsa pigs, or as they are known in their native Hungary, Mangalica pigs, are a breed of hog that is renowned for their deeply flavored meat and for their high-fat content. The name Mangalica literally means “hog with a lot of lard.” They are sometimes also known as “wooly pigs” because of the curly-haired fleece that covers their bodies.
The Mangalitsa pig is genetically very similar to the Iberian pigs of Western Spain that produce the famous Jamon Iberico. And like their cousins, the Mangalitsa pig is renowned for the quality of the fat that it produces, which is low in saturates and high in oleic acid. This comes from the feed given to the animals, which primarily consists of wheat and acorns.
Kick-ass quality, pre-meal crosshatch ‘flower’ cut organic meats, fresh vegetables and fish, and spices that are sheer, savory, perfection. If you aren’t a fan of pork, they also have Argentinian grass-fed beef, USDA Prime and Japanese Wagyu beef.
The recipes have been modified to satisfy ‘American’ tastes. For us, that meant the spices were a lot milder than traditional Korean. But the delicacy worked and the overall meal was, in a hyphen, mouth-watering.
Some flavors are much more piquant than others. ‘Black Sesame’ was the hands-down favorite. I particularly also enjoyed the Octopus in the Seafood Stew.
When asked if you’d like to have your bean sprouts grilled with the pork…do yourself a favor…answer “YES!” Along with the topping of sliced grilled pineapple, it’s the best way to enjoy this veggie along with the Kimchi which is also grilled. You will have no regrets. It’s insanely good! There are savory desserts on the menu as well.
There are two SoCal locations. One in Koreatown Los Angeles and the other in Buena Park.