Gold-plated grills and a bone marrow soju luge at Hanjip Korean BBQ in Culver City
Prawns on the grill at Hanjip in Culver City.(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)
Uni with a custard egg, rice and seafood is served at Hanjip in Culver City.(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)
The interior of Hanjip in Culver City.(Rick Poon)
A selection of banchan at Hanjip in Culver City.(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)
Chef Chris Oh spreads an egg on top of kimchi fried rice at Hanjip in Culver City.(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)
A selection of meat from Hanjip in Culver City.(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)
Prawns ready for the grill at Hanjip in Culver City.(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)
Boneless short rib at Hanjip in Culver City.(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)
The bone marrow corn cheese from Hanjip in Culver City.(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)
Chances are, the gold-plated grills at Hanjip, Chris Oh and Stephane Bombet’s new Korean BBQ restaurant in Culver City, are nicer than your car rims. At $250 a pop, these grills were specially made in Korea, and are used to cook meat at your table. They are shiny, cook your brisket faster than a non-gold-plated grill and won’t stick to a slab of marinated pork belly.
This is Korean BBQ Oh and Bombet’s way. Oh, founder of Seoul Sausage Co., co-owner of Nomad Kitchen and managing partner of Escala; and Bombet, founder of the Bombet Hospitality Group that’s behind Terrine and Viviane, claim to have eaten at at least 80% of the restaurants in Koreatown over the last two years, before opening Hanjip last week.
Their version of a Korean BBQ restaurant includes grills on the tables, the familiar smell of meat cooking and plenty of the Korean liquor soju. But this is not your average Korean BBQ restaurant. And within two seconds of walking through the glass door, you know you’re not in Koreatown anymore.
In addition to the gold-plated grills, all of the beef is prime beef, all of the pork is kurobuta pork — and for those interested in wine, there are pairings dreamed up by François Renaud, partner and head of operations for Bombet Hospitality Group.
Oh is making his own banchan, including the kimchi and fish cakes. You can order the classic meats, with short ribs, brisket and pork belly — but they’ll come with a small dish of truffle salt. There’s also a 48-ounce tomahawk steak with foie gras butter; prime rib-eye with truffle butter; baby octopus marinated in gochujang; and plenty of prawns. The kimchi fried rice is sauteed in brown butter.
Oh is also making a cumin and fennel lamb that will remind you of Uyghur cooking. The chef serves his pork belly with soy bean powder for a toasty, nutty effect. His seafood pancake is stuffed with scallops and rock shrimp. You can order something called bone marrow corn cheese that consists of a bone marrow, bonito flakes, corn and shaved Parmesan cheese you mix in a hot bowl. And if you want to get über luxurious, there’s a sea urchin shell full of a velvety steamed egg, rice, scallops, salmon roe — and plenty of uni.
And when you’ve finished scooping out the bone marrow to eat with your corn cheese, the bone turns into a soju luge for your next shot. (Drive home safely.)
Hanjip is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to midnight.
3829 Main Street, Culver City, (323) 720-8804, www.hanjip.com.
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