Fourth of July is coming up and we know the grills are getting prepped for some expected hard work. But for those that want their day to be as effortlessly delicious as possible, there are other options and twists to a BBQ in Los Angeles. If you're tired of planning weeks ahead, sending invites and waiting for RSVP, worrying about the menu and pleasing everyone, carrying bags and bags of groceries, and doing all the hard work plus cleaning on the day of, then here's a simpler alternative to do it. Case in point: Koreatown and Yi Ssi Hwa Ro Korean BBQ for AYCE (All You Can Eat).
Yi Ssi Hwa Ro in Koreatown is set-up much like any other Korean BBQ places. Plus with many other perks. Located inside a plaza, it feels like stepping into another city entirely, with shops, cafes, restaurants, and even a bar and club; this is one location you can wine and dine, plus dance your 4in heels away. But right on the corner is a combination of gluttony and comfort food that is hard to miss.
For a choice of either $15.99 (beef brisket, marinated beef, BBQ short ribs, pork neck, wine pork, pork belly, BBQ beef, BBQ pork, BBQ chicken) or $19.99 (all of the above PLUS duck, spicy short ribs, intestine, Hong Chang or abomasum, large intestine, beef tongue, and shrimp and octopus for the seafood lovers). And it all comes with the usual banchan or Korean side dishes, a bowl of salad, rice, egg soup, and the must of rice paper.
Take your tongs and start placing your meat on the hot grill, cook and eat as much as you can. The beef brisket is always the fastest so a whole plate is a must while you wait for the rest to cook. But their brisket is a cut above the rest; a perfect mix of meat and fat that almost melts in your mouth. The wine pork is such a surprise and this writers favorite; with its unique taste and texture, the thick strip of fat does make everything so much better. The octopus was another great addition; surprisingly tender, and even without the marinate tasted simple and fresh. The rest of the meats were all expected, much like in any other Korean BBQ restaurant. But some of these cuts were not exactly forgettable; meat with a better marinate, more flavor, and higher quality. And the banchans were not so bad either, the egg soup is always a favorite, and the scallion pancake was a clear winner with the group. Although it was a little to thin and oily, with a starchy taste that might have come with undercooking the pancake, nothing a little grill time didn't fix.
This may not be your usual burger and hot dogs. Nevertheless a delicious twist on an American tradition that may alleviate your stress this coming Independence Day celebration. After all, the smell alone of grilled meats spells comfort food at its best. Add some more sides, beer, and all the goodness sans cleaning up after. Now that sounds like a plan good enough not just this Fourth of July, but any day of the year. And for less than $20? There is absolutely no need to make up excuses just to go.
Yi Ssi Hwa Ro is at 3465 W 6th St LA CA. T: (213)865-8111. They take reservations and major credit cards. It may be a little hard to find as it is inside the plaza. Valet parking only.