Tuesday, August 04, 2009


I met up with Annette, for her birthday, at Gyenari, on a really hot day. Culver City was hopping, as usual – tons of people milling around for lunch on a weekday, which made it almost impossible to park in the lots around the area. I lucked out (squeezing in-between two huge SUVs…), snagged a table at the restaurant and sipped on an Arnold Palmer while waiting for Annette.

Gyenari Korean BBQ

A decent Arnold Palmer, especially welcome on such a hot day!

Looking around the place, first thing I noticed, I felt really under dressed to be here – really trendy and contemporary, super clean lines, but the ambiance was nice, and the waitstaff weren’t acting snooty, so it was comforting.

Annette arrived soon after I was seated, so they brought some banchan (small plate appetizers) to the table. I’ve been to a lot more Korean restaurants over the years, and I admit, I am used to a lot more of a variety of banchan. I had to remind myself that this was more of an American style kind of place.

Gyenari Korean BBQ

From the upper left, going clockwise – bean sprouts, broccoli, kimchi, and a scoop of potato salad. We polished these off pretty quick, as we were pretty hungry. The potato salad was the best, I’d say, with the broccoli a close second. The kimchi had a nice bite to it, not too shabby. Again, I would have liked more of a variety (maybe some daikon, or some spinach? Maybe some japchae? But I guess that’s a separate dish here.)

Gyenari Korean BBQ

For an appetizer, I ordered some shrimp and kimchi Korean style pancakes. Not the best I’ve had, (I like more of a crunch on the outside, these were bigger, so they were softer all around) but these were flavorful enough, from the kimchi flavor. I can’t say I tasted any of the shrimp at all…maybe they pureed it so it was just the flavor? The dipping sauce was nice and tangy, the carrot shreds were a nice fresh and crunchy flavor contrast. Overall, filling and tasty, did a great job as an appetizer (even though it came as the same time as our main meal...)

Gyenari Korean BBQ

Annette and I each ordered our own bimibap -Korean rice bowls. This is a picture of my choice, the bulgolgi style marinated meat. I love the presentation – all the different veggies neatly placed around the hot stone bowl, with a pretty sunny side up egg on top. I forgot to shoot a picture of the spicy paste that I added to the top of all this (the spicer the better!) and gave everything a quick mix. Rice plus veggies and meat, a perfect combination. I think if I had anything to complain about here, would be that I don’t remember the hot stone being very hot, so the rice didn’t crisp up very much (getting those crispy rice bits is one of the reasons why bimibap is so good!) , but it was a minor complaint.

The prices were pretty fair for lunch, although I suspect they skyrocket, come dinnertime. I might have to come back to try their real Korean bbq, just to see how it compares to my other more “authentic” experiences in K-Town.

Gyenari Korean BBQ
9540 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 838-3131

1 comment:

jess said...

aw that's such as shame. that's the whole reason why i get the bibimbap in a stone bowl- so that the rice crsisp up and the egg gets crisp.

you should definitely submit some of your photos to www.donteatthatyet.com. it's a visual restaurant review site with a template similar to that of tastespotting