Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Gyenari: Korean Family Dining and Seoul Food in Culver City
On October 21st, I was the guest of owner William Shin, Event coordinator Jimmy Jang and Wagstaff Worldwide's Meghan Patke for a blogger dinner at the new contemporary Korean restaurant, Gyenari.
William Shin sought to bring an approachable traditional Korean BBQ,along with Next Food Network Star Debbie Lee's "Seoulfood" bar bites menu to Culver City's lively restaurant and bar scene. It's contemporary dining for all. The team at Gyenari has achieved exactly what they set out to do, and have brought a fine addition to the restaurant and bar intensive neighborhood near Washington Bl. and Main St.
The attractive bar area features a nice selection of spirits, classicly backlit in white.
We were given a welcome cocktail upon arrival, the soju caipirinha seemed to be the popular selection. This cocktail was excellent, lime, lychee, rasberries, and soju. Gyenari has a creative selection of cocktails reflecting the current flavor in Los Angeles of fresh and natural ingredients.I think I had a couple of these.
Assorted skewers of beef, pork, and vegetables are a delightful accesory to conversation and drink.
The dukboki,a chewy rice pasta with hard boiled eggs in a sweet and spicy sauce, was enjoyed by all at our table.
We sauntered into the main dining area, or at least I did, and were served another traditional Korean appetizer of Jeon,fried mung bean, shrimp, and vegetable patties accompanied by two dipping sauces. The mung bean was the most enjoyable of the three.
One sauce, the chili soy stood out as a proper dressing for some Jeon.
Before banchan and barbeque, a few other items made there way to our table. A pumpkin porridge with pine nuts, and soju was interesting.Was this a Seoulfood item? I was greedily eyeing Debbie Lee's Korean/soulfood fusion items earlier in the evening.I will be back to try them soon.
Traditional banchan came out to signal the beginning of the Korean BBQ service. Kimchee and all the usual suspects.
But, no long dinner is complete or properly enjoyed without some alcohol.I ordered some Chamisul Fresh soju,a lite and crisp Korean soju with a lower alcohol content. Now I was ready for some Korean BBQ.
The G1, from Gyenari's New World menu includes galbee(beef short ribs),bulgogi(marinated beef),aged pork belly,flower chicken, and japchae(cellophane noodles with vegetables). The G1 goes for $75 for two.
Now Culver City diners can experience the festive communal dining of Korean BBQ, grilling meats right at your very own table.The helpful wait staff can help out if you've never done this before.
Dessert consisted of a nice creme brulee and the playful green tea beignets, another Seoul to Soul creation from the mind of Debbie Lee.
The bar bites menu created by Debbie Lee such as galbi pot pie,Korean rubbed rib-eye with bacon grits,and pan seared chicken breast with kimchee smashed potatoes definitely warrant a return visit.
Oh, and they have beer towers, too.I'm absolutely taken with these things, finally a technological advance in partying! Sitting out on the beer garden having a Hite, or indulging in the signature cocktails and martinis at Gyenari while enjoying Seoul to Soul dishes are the makings of a splendid evening.
But don't let the beer tower fool you, this is a family affair. Jimmy Jang made it a point to say that Gyenari is for everybody and they have families in mind first and foremost.After all, that's what Korean BBQ is all about, sharing an evening with friends and loved ones.
9540 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232