Name of restaurant: Ombu Grill is a sleek, modern grill-your-own restaurant named after the ombu “tree,” a large shrub that is native to Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. It has been open for six months, almost hidden behind a Korean dessert shop off Western Avenue.
Owner: John Kim. Although he’s not Argentinian, his wife grew up in Argentina, though she is ethnically Korean.
Concept: The restaurant serves traditional Korean barbecue, as well as Argentinian asado (grilled meats).
What dish represents the restaurant, and why? It’s hard to decide which meat to get, so bring friends and share one of the combos. The business combo is actually enough for three or four people, depending on your level of carnivorism. It comes with kkot sal (which translates to “flower flesh” in Korean, a marbled beef ribeye cut into bite-sized pieces), deungshim (also a ribeye, but served as a thick steak) and joo mool leok (seasoned beef).
Ask them to sear the big steak on their kitchen grill and finish it on your tabletop.
Runners-up: Since none of the combos come with Argentinian flavors, try an order of the asado (a meaty beef short rib sliced on the bone that’s been grilled in the kitchen) or the entrana (a skirt steak), served with a small side of chimichuri.
Who’s at the next table? Young Korean professionals enjoy a night out with their friends, while a couple across the way eat joylessly on what could be a first date gone wrong.
Service: You’d swear that your waiter just recently retired from a Korean boy band. With his headset and stylish haircut, you worry or hope that he might break out in a song and dance number between courses. Try to remember which band as you scroll through the restaurant’s iPad menu.
What are you drinking? Share a bottle of an Argentinian or Californian wine, or order Quilmes, a beer from Buenos Aires.
Info: 400 S. Wilshire Blvd. #104, Los Angeles. (213) 637-0262