We visited from Chicago looking for the authentic LA Korean BBQ experience and I think Soot Bull Jeep fit the bill.
When you walk in you definitely smell the smoke and the coals are so hot that they occasionally shoot burning ash through the air. We learned that you actually have to cool the coals down using ice to keep the ash from flying around.
The short ribs were the best I've had. They were juicy and the marinade was the perfect blend of sour and sweet. The eel was unlike any other eel I had eaten, and though we overcooked the first batch, it was delicious when got the hang of it. The squid was lightly marinated but very good when cooked on a coal grill. You can serve the meat with rice, or lettuce and scallions, and it comes with a sweet and a spicy dipping sauce. Also the bowl of garlic you can roast on the grill was a very nice touch.
I'd say the meat was a step up from what we're used to getting, but the side dishes (called banchan) were lacking. What we received tasted good, but there were only a couple varieties and they were all the standards like pickled radish and kimchee. I have to stay the sparse servings of banchan was a disappointment but did not take away from how great the meat was. The service was brusque but that didn't really bother us because the food was terrific.
There may be many great Korean BBQ places in the LA, but we were glad we chose Soot Bull Jeep. They offer a no nonsense atmosphere that is filled with smoke and flying ash and the meat is terrific.
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