Gentiles will prepare for Christmas by hanging wreaths around the house and on doors, but that’s not exactly how us Jewish people spent Christmas Eve Eve Eve. We went to Korean BBQ at Schlep’s favorite restaurant called Genwa and upon ordering we were greeted by a wreath-like display. It was not made of flowers and leaves but rather of delicious and edible side dishes to tantalize the palate.
Sure the regular Banchan (side dish) standards were there but there were also a ton of interesting additions to the mix and the quantity was unbelievable. I am a notoriously bad counter but I would say upwards of 20 bowls were present. These dishes weren’t just complimentary they were also replenished per your request. All the dishes were gathered around the main attraction, the grill, where the meat of the meal would come in to play.
Schlep did the ordering for the evening, as he was the regular and his friends were in from out of town. He did well in the process as it seems we tried most of the menu and always had a surplus of food and a shortage of table space. He also provided instructions on how to make the perfect “taco” with meat and veggies in the radish skin; we all obliged and were very happy we did so. The two standout dishes for me were the assorted mushrooms and the sizzling bibim-bap. The bibim-bap was the best I have ever had and had those delicious crunchy pieces of rice that are found in a good paella, Persian food, and in the bottom of your rice cooker when not enough water is added.
I liked this place for several different reasons. First, it is the kind of place all levels of KBBQ enthusiasts can go, feel comfortable, and adjust to their settings. You can cook all the meat and veggies yourself or if you seem confused they will walk by and do it for you. You can use the ultra stylish stainless steel chopsticks or you can ask the server to bring a pair of break-apart wooden chopsticks if you don’t like the workout for your fingers that Grossman kvetched about. Sure, I have a personal preference for traveling further east down Wilshire for my Korean food but that doesn’t mean that food is any better….remember that less than mediocre dinner with all of the bloggers at Jun Won? If you are just beginning to dip your feet into Korean food, as a couple at the table was doing, Genwa offers a great clean place to test the waters. At the end of night of we looked at the carnage of what was once a full table and were amazed by our work. Some wanted to exercise immediately afterward (not I), others needed a smoke, and we all needed a rest. Even if you aren’t celebrating Christmas, this time of year is stressful and a rest before the New Year is necessary. It is the Uncouth Gourmands’ belief that a good overindulgent meal is the perfect ingredient to ease these trying times.