Quarters Korean BBQ: 'Korean tapas' with spicy pork cheeks and nacho cheese

Like tapas bars? Try Korean barbecue small plates

Name of restaurant: Quarters Korean BBQ, so named because each small plate of meat comes in quarter-pound portions.

Chef/owner: Run by relatives of the owners of the wildly popular Kang Ho-Dong Baekjeong. The spillover from the long wait list there ends up here, sometimes by accident.

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FOR THE RECORD
3:50 p.m.: An earlier version of this article said that Quarters Korean BBQ is run by the owners of Kang Ho-Dong Baekjeong. It is run by relatives of the owners of that restaurant.
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Concept: "Korean tapas" barbecue in a modern setting with a full bar in Koreatown's Chapman Plaza.

What dish represents the restaurant, and why? Rib-eye and short rib cuts of beef come nicely marbled. The spicy pork cheeks and collar are served in a gochujang marinade, with a perfect balance of spicy and sweet.

You might want to start with the prime large or jumbo combo to try both pork and beef. The menu indicates the large combo would be good for four people, but those with big appetites may find that it's really just enough food for three. You'll want to order at least five "tapas" to get the free steamed egg and side dishes. 

The ramekin of nacho cheese that heats up on the grill is an odd touch. If they're going for some kind of Korean fondue experience, they don't quite hit the mark.

Who's at the next table? Hip, well-dressed young Koreans fill the dining room with loud conversation and a convivial atmosphere.

Appropriate for: Korean barbecue neophytes or a fun night out with friends. It might be good for a date, but only during the quieter afternoons. The place gets really loud when it's packed at night, and it can be difficult to carry on an intimate conversation. But then who has time to talk when your mouth is full of meat?

Uh-oh: Parking in Chapman Plaza is notoriously complicated, and valet-only. Street parking can also be hairy, though meters are free after 8 p.m. Once seated, plan on spending at least $30 to $40 per person for a satisfying meal. 

Service: The service is attentive but uneven. Most likely there will be a server in training. Like all other upscale K-Town joints, they do the cooking for you. Keep your hands off the tongs and let the servers do their jobs. And remember that there's that little bell at the end of the table if you need any refills on sides or drinks.

What are you drinking? Anything you like, since they have a full bar. Try one of the Quarters Ritas, their take on the margarita, rated by order of sweetness. There is also a cocktail menu, including specialties like the Red Lotus, a vodka and pomegranate concoction, or the Mango Rice, made with rum, rice vodka and vanilla. Whatever you're drinking, it's all the more fun around the long fire pit in the outdoor patio while you wait for your table.

Info: 3465 W. 6th Street, Suite C-130, Los Angeles, (213) 365-8111.

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