All-you-can-eat Korean BBQ at Jjukku Jjukku

Name of restaurant: Jjukku Jjukku, which is a reference to the Korean word for baby octopus, jjukkumi. This explains the cartoon octopus and his friends on the server's logo-ed T-shirts.

Concept: The restaurant, which opened in October of last year, started life as a regular Korean BBQ joint specializing in pork and baby octopus. Soon afterward, they changed their concept, to an all-you-can-eat joint serving a variety of meats.


What dish represents the restaurant, and why: They have three levels of all-you-can-eat options. The mid-range is the best choice for value and variety. Start with the unmarinated meats, like the thinly sliced beef brisket, and the generously thick cuts of pork belly. The pork jowl/cheek meat is a nicely marbled cut, which goes well with what they list on the menu as beef finger meat, the knuckles of the cow. Their beef tongue is also a tender cut, served in frozen, thin slices.

For the marinated options, the L.A. short rib and the spicy pork ribs are good choices. In between meat courses, you can ask for the usual steamed egg and the cold noodles in radish kimchi broth (dongchimi gookmul).

The old-school Korean lunch box will be a nostalgic trip for those who grew up in Korea in the '60s and '70s. Even if you didn't have that metal tin rattling around in your school knapsack, you'll still enjoy the sliced of fried Spam, strips of toasted seaweed and kimchi. They even include a fried egg like a Korean mom would cook for you, with just the right amount of browning on the edges.

End your meal with the restaurant's namesake dish, the baby octopus teppanyaki, which comes with a spicy gochujang sauce, pork belly and shrimp. They'll even make it all into a fried rice for you, if you still have room.

Who's at the next table: Two Korean salarymen have a business meeting over lunch and soju. The younger man pours for the older man with two hands, as is customary, even turning away to take his drink out of respect for the older gentleman.

Appropriate for: Meat-lovers of all stripes. The more friends you bring, the merrier, since you'll get to try a larger variety of meats with more mouths to try them.

Remember: The address is listed as Wilshire, but the location is actually inside the plaza, facing Alexandra.

Service: Service is spotty, but that's why there's a buzzer at the end of the table. Don't be shy about using it. The sign is only in Korean, but it's easy to find, since it's right next to the Boiling Crab. They validate for 2 hours of free parking underneath the building, by the way.

What you're drinking: Kloud or Hite beer if you like pale lagers from Korea. If not, share bottles of soju with your dining companions.

Info: 3377 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 105, Los Angeles, 213-674-7228.