Saturday, February 27, 2016

Yangji Gamjatang (Los Angeles, CA)

Yangji Gamjatang Restaurant
3470 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020
213.388.1105
yangjigamjatang.eat24hour.com
Sat 02/27/2016, 06:50p-08:50p




A request for an early dinner in Koreatown brought us to soup specialist Yangji Gamjatang, a reincarnation of the old Yang Gi Seolleongtang (yangji refers to beef brisket, a key ingredient in seolleongtang). It's the work of Tony Lee and Ki-Yang Lee, who opened the original restaurant back in 1985 at the current site of Shabu Me LA at Vermont and 7th (think Kobawoo House). That location shuttered circa 2011 because of increasing rents, but was brought back to life at this new address in January 2014; they renamed the place due to its proximity to Sun Nong Dan, which also prides itself on seolleongtang. Apparently there was also an outpost in Buena Park, but that's since shuttered as well.

Yangji Gamjatang Interior
Yangji takes over the old Al Bae Ne spot. Not too much has been done with the space, though fortunately they've gotten rid of the former restaurant's green walls.

Yangji Gamjatang Menu: Tang (Soup) | Bibimbap (Mixed Rice) | Geongol (Casseroles-Hot Pot) Yangji Gamjatang Menu: More Korean Dishes | Chinese/Japanese Style Yangji Gamjatang Menu Yangji Gamjatang Picture Menu
Unsurprisingly, the gamjatang and other meaty soups headline the menu here, joined by larger jeongol, other sundry Korean staples, as well as a separate junghwa yori section (perhaps a nod to the Korean-Chinese cuisine of its predecessor). Click for larger versions.

2012 The Bruery Provisions Series: Mother Funker
Yangji has a liberal BYOB policy, so we made sure to make use of it. Our first bottle was the 2012 The Bruery Provisions Series: Mother Funker, a sour blonde ale aged for several years in oak barrels previously used to hold Chardonnay. It was perhaps the most puckering beer I've had from the brewery, with a super tart, almost acidic nose and a taste that went unabashedly vinous, vinegary, and acetic. Bracing to be sure.

Baechu Kimchi
The baechu kimchi was about par for the course, but did its job.

Miyeok Muchim
More interesting was the miyeok muchim, the seaweed showing off its characteristic umami flavors.

Oi Kimchi
Crunchy oi kimchi married the coolness of cucumber with the tingling heat of chili.

2015 Coppertail Seasonal Relief
Next to drink was a Baltic porter with gojiberries and elderberries, the 2015 Coppertail Seasonal Relief. I got aromas of dark fruit and roast, along with flavors of chocolatey malt, roast, and licorice, with light fruity notes on top.

Gamjatang Geongol
Gamjatang Geongol (Mixed)
Gamjatang Geongol [$32.95] | Pork neckbone, potato, napa cabbage, chives, perilla leaves, green scallion, dipping sauce
Yangji's namesake gamjatang was a winner, with the super tender, flavorful pork and hearty potato making for a cozy, comforting base. Meanwhile, I loved the brightness and crunch imparted by the various veggies, while cellophane noodles provided additional dimension to the dish. A must order, obviously.

Gamjatang Dipping Sauce
The gamjatang was accompanied by a sweet dipping sauce with mustard and jalapeño, but I felt that it was largely unneeded given the robustness of the meat itself.

Musaengchae
Musaengchae did a nice job displaying the spicy crunch of shredded radish.

2015 18th Street Sour Note: Flanders Style Red Ale - Wood Series
The 2015 18th Street Sour Note: Flanders Style Red Ale - Wood Series was a sour ale aged in French red wine oak barrels. Nose was dark, funky, and distinctly vinous and acidic, while the taste brought a sweet, richer, oakier flavor profile, with caramel notes offset by a persistent cherried tartness.

Seolleongtang (Broth)
Seolleongtang
Seolleongtang [$9.95] | Beef brisket, rice noodle
Yangji's other signature dish, the seolleongtang, was a standout as well with its super tender, flavorful cuts of brisket and rich, salty, comforting broth, perked up by the zestiness of green onion.

Eomuk Bokkeum
Eomuk bokkeum, or fish cake, came out soft and savory.

Kkakdugi
Kkakdugi showed off the trademark crunchiness of mu (Korean radish).

2016 Smog City Snugglebug
A sour blonde with raspberry and boysenberry added, the 2016 Smog City Snugglebug was my favorite beer of the night. Super aromatic nose teeming with juicy, jammy fruit; palate brought more berry flavor countered by a restrained, elegant tartness. I'd had the beer on tap before, and I have to say that it was much better from the bottle.

Soondae Plate
Soondae Plate [$14.95] | Steamed blood sausage
Soondae was a delicate, easy-easting preparation, with a particularly light, almost "fluffy" texture to the sausage thanks to the incorporation of dangmyeon. Tasty alone, but even better with a dab of the included condiments.

Gaji Namul
Gaji namul was a relatively uncommon sight, with the smokiness of eggplant well conveyed.

Gamjajorim
The gamjajorim was one of my favorite sides, the hearty chunks of potato imbued with a deep savoriness.

Dolsot Bibimbap
Dolsot Bibimbap [$11.95] | Rice, vegetables, fried egg, chili paste on hot stone pot
The bibimbap was the crunchiest I've had, with the stone pot really making for some great nurungji. Flavors were classic, with a delightful gochujang-powered heat, and I appreciated all the textures present as well.

2015 JDub's San Cristobal
Our final beer was the 2015 JDub's San Cristobal, an imperial stout aged four months on fourth-use Siesta Key spiced rum barrels, with puréed cherries added. It was really quite lovely, smelling of dark cherry fruit and rich malt, while the taste brought more malt, coffee-tinged roast, and fruit, along with rum-fueled spice.

Sweet & Sour Pork
Sweet & Sour Pork [$13.95] | Pork, vegetables
At this point, we moved into some of Yangji's Korean-Chinese dishes. The tangsuyuk was a commendable version, light yet crisp to the bite, with a fine balance of sweet 'n' sour.

Korean Fried Dumpling
Korean Fried Dumpling [$8.95] | Beef, pork, chives, tofu
Twigim mandu were delish: super crunchy and imbued with a great herbiness from the chives.

Haemul Jjampong
Haemul Jjampong [$10.95] | Seafood noodle soup
Lastly, the jjamppong was also well-constructed, with a snug, homey spiciness that meshed perfectly with the rich, heady brine of the soup. Great textures, too.

I think we all left really satisfied by Yangji. The food was pretty much spot on across the board, while the service was as friendly as I've heard. Given its hours, the restaurant is known as a late-night, drunk-food, hangover-curing sort of place, but I have to say that the cooking is strong enough to warrant a visit for a proper dinner. A great little K-Town gem.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Sir Osis said...

What a fucking reprobate.

Saturday, March 19, 2016 4:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have stinky farts?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 10:03:00 AM  

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