Restaurant: Madang 621
Location: 621 Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90005. (213) 384-2244
Date: January 9, 2015
Cuisine: Korean BBQ
Rating: Beefy fun
I haven’t actually been out to dedicated Korean BBQ in Korea town for quite a long time, at least not in the five years I’ve been photoing my food. So when it popped up as a dinner suggestion I consulted the recommendations of my ultra foodie (and Korean) friend Liz Lee.
Which brought us to Madang 621, located in the heart of K-Town. This elaborate mall (and the restaurant) has an elegant and extensive buildout.
Check out the spacious interior. This is no hole in the wall.
But stylish with a modern Asian aesthetic.
The menu is equally elegant and elaborate.
From my cellar: 2003 Weingut Graben-Gritsch Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Schön. 89 points. Nose of lychee pineapple lemon, creamy lemon and peach on the palate. Bright acidity medium finish with a bit of an herby quality.
agavin: Korean food can be a hard wine match and I wanted some white to start. This mildly aged Gruner hit the spot. It’s complex and almost herby/spicy fruit allows it to handle the pervasive Korean red chili.
파전[PA JUN] Pancake w/scallion choice of vegetarian, Seafood or kimchi. This one is vegetable. Like a thick “meatier” version of a traditional Chinese scallion pancake. Served with a soy based dipping sauce.
No Korean place could look at itself in the mirror without banchan, the little (often) pickled sides placed on the table and infinity refilled.
Kimchi. The classic.
Dried spicy crispy shrimp. One of my two favorites. This was quite chewy and crispy, with a little heat and a dried shrimp vibe that isn’t for lightweights.
Potato salad. Sweet with raisons and some other bits. Actually pretty good.
Spicy vegetable. A kind of kimchi I guess, probably daikon? I liked this better than the regular one because of its chewy/crunchy texture.
Spicy squid. This was one of my favorites. It was like chewy spicy squid spaghetti.
2007 Xavier Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Anonyme. Parker 96. Except for Henri Bonneau’s 2007 Reserve des Celestins (which is still in barrel), the last 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape to be released will be Xavier Vignon’s Anonyme. This sensational wine spent three years in a combination of demi-muids and small oak. It boasts an inky/purple color along with a sweet nose of underbrush, garrigue, licorice, blackberries and black currants. Full, thick, unctuously textured and even flamboyant, this stunning 2007 should drink well for another 15-20 years.
agavin: very young and still in that grapey stage, there are no flaws I could detect in this wine. Very smooth with a lovely finish. A little too much oak still, but really a fabulous CNDP.
We ordered this big array of meats and seafood for three people. Actually we had four, but it worked out fine. All of this stuff is cooked up on the BBQ at your table.
There are two types of sauce. The same two are pictured here, but they are of a similar color and both fairly mild and oily. I would have preferred a bit of the sweet soy stuff they have at Yakaniku places.
KOBE KOT DESUNG SIM
고베 꽃등심[KOBE KOT DESUNG SIM] Sliced fresh kobe beef rib eye.
A very rich (aka fatty) cut of wagyu rib eye. Cooked down to fun little morsels of beef and fat.
MADANG GAL BI
마당갈비 [MADANG GAL BI] Marinated prime beef short rib with bone.
I probably like the Gal Bi slightly better, and that is often one of my favorit KBBQ cuts. It’s meatier I guess. Certainly well marbled.
The scallops were also awesome, particularly when lightly seared.
Korean salad. I always find the Korean dressing a little oily.
GYE RAN JJIM
계란찜[GYE RAN JJIM] Steamed soft egg tofu
With fish roe and scallions. I usually love steamed egg dishes and this was no exception with a nice light fluffy texture.
DUK MANDU GOOK
떡만두국[DUK MANDU GOOK] Beef dumplings and sliced rice cake in a hearty beef broth with egg & scallion.
One of those nice mild soups. The broth was very tasty and the stuff too, particularly the dumplings.
Overall, Madang served up a really nice meal and it was a fun experience. It’s a lovely setting. The food was of very high quality with first class meats and ingredients. The service was very friendly but a bit “sluggish,” particularly in the end where it must have been 45-60 minutes to get the check. I liked all the sides and extras also. My one comment is that I like the Yakaniku dipping sauce (ala Manpuku or Totoraku) better. It’s just less oily with more flavor.
Next door at Boba-time we grabbed some “dessert” with the Asian teenagers.
Cookies and Cream with boba. Tasted like melted cookies and cream ice cream!
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