Dining: Ho Hum Hanjip…

photo: hanjip.com
photo: hanjip.com

Saturday night in the revamped and revitalized Culver City.

This city has been completely transformed.

Main Street is similar to Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach, Florida, except youth abounds.

Every storefront is a restaurant.

Hanjip Korean BBQ
Hanjip Korean BBQ

We had reservations at Hanjip Korean BBQ which opened in November.

It is a partnership between Chef Chris Oh and Stephane Bombet of the Bombet Hospitality Group which includes Viviane, Faith & Flower and Terrine.

Hanjip Korean BBQ photola.eater.com
Hanjip Korean BBQ photola.eater.com

The decor is striking and sleek. Every table is equipped with a barbecue pit and a fan hanging overhead camouflaged by an attractive black and white shade.

Our server could not have been more accommodating, but he could not change management’s mind.

It was dineL.A. week and Hanjip has a fabulous deal for $29, but the entire table has to order it and the meal was meat-centric so that automatically eliminated David.

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As soon as your tush touches leather the server is embellishing the barbecue pit with goodies including pickled squid, cucumbers, cabbage, paste, pickled onions, bean sprouts, kimchi, pickled ramps, fish cakes and truffle salt.

Squid
Squid

The squid and cabbage were the highlights. Honestly, despite its’ popularity, I can live without kimchi.

Cabbage
Cabbage

A bowl is left by your place setting and you can create your own salad while awaiting the mains.

Soju
Chamesul Soju

We kicked the beverage portion of our meal off with Soju, Korean sake. We selected Chamesul which was dry and adequate ($12).

I had much better Soju at Oiji in Manhattan.

Baby Octopus
Baby Octopus

The non-meat options were baby octopus marinated in gochujang, a savory, spicy and pungent fermented Korean condiment made from red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt ($16). Carabineros prawns from Spain were also available ($49).

I must admit to being turned off to the whole baby octopus and the manner in which the head and tentacles thrash about on the grill.

Scissors and thongs are left on the table in a glass jar and when David cut the head off it was too much reality for me.

A nice touch was leaving a tasty, refreshing decanter of barley tea on the table.

The meat platters, including short rib ($39), brisket ($23), pork belly ($26), skirt steak ($27), bulgogi ($34), are huge and meant for sharing.

Hanjip also offered a signature 48-ounce tomahawk steak prepared with butter and foie gras then finished with a quick sear at the table.

I wrote about the tomahawk steak that I ordered at the in the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach a year ago. The tomahawk is the best steak I have ever eaten. Clearly I didn’t order it for one at Hanjip. It’s the bear in Revenant size portion and pricey at $150.

The gold-plated grills at Hanjip are $250 each and were specially made in Korea and are used to cook the food at your table.

Egg & Uni
Egg & Uni

The fine-dining mentality continues off the grill as well, with a custard steamed egg topped with ikura and uni ($19), and an extravagant bone marrow corn cheese with bonito flakes ($15).

These dishes are listed as Bonus selections.

BBQ Ribs
BBQ Ribs

I opted for the evening special of barbecue ribs ($18). The order is plentiful. The ribs were undercooked f so I had fun making them all crispy and sizzle on the grill although I smoked David out.

They were much better after enhanced grilling. I took home 90% of the order.

Seafood Pancake
Seafood Pancake

We also shared a delicious seafood pancake with scallops and rock shrimp which was brought to the table and then divided up with a pair of scissors ($17).

The server advised us to order at least three sides, but we opted for two which was more than enough.

We were excited about the uni and eggs with ikura which arrived in a cast iron pot, steaming hot. We were both disappointed as the uni was not sweet and creamy and the dish just wasn’t magical ($19).

I would only consider a repeat performance at Hanjip if I were to dine with a carnivore, but I am not in a rush to get back there.

Hanjip Korean BBQ 3829 Main Street Culver City, California. Open daily 11:30am-midnight. Reservations on OpenTable.com. Valet and street parking.

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