Most would agree that Dallas is more of a burger capital than Los Angeles. So it took a certain level of audacity for LA natives Ben and John Lee to think they could change the way Texans think about their beloved burgers. That is, however, exactly what they have done with LA Burger. Gathering inspiration from the Korean-Mexican fusions popularized by LA’s food trucks, the brothers stack burgers with Korean cabbage and smother them in teriyaki sauce. Their signature LA burger adds a fried egg and cheese for good measure.
Every table is its own little kitchen at Omi Korean Grill & Bar. At this Korean barbecue restaurant, beef short ribs, sliced pork, and beef tongue sizzle on tabletop grills, casting aromas—but not smoke, thanks to powerful vent hoods—around the table as diners partake in the ritual of preparing their own food. The name “Omi” refers to the five flavor elements essential to Korean cooking: sour, bitter, pungent, sweet, and salty. The cooks—and diners—harness these tastes in every dish, whether the dish comes to life in the dining room or, like the Dolsot Bibimbap—a hot and spicy rice and vegetable dish served in a stone pot—arrives piping hot from the kitchen. Meanwhile, the bar offers Korean flavors in the form of libations; bartenders stock exotic liquors such as soju and bokbunja alongside wine and beers from the U.S. and Japan.
After moving to America at 3 months old, Steve Shin didn’t have much time to learn the culinary traditions of his native South Korea. But when he returned for a year in 2001, he witnessed the cuisine's slimming properties firsthand. Though he consumed lots of food, his waistline shrank, most likely due to the minimal grease and fat content in South Korean cuisine. Inspired by his journey, he tried to eat a more healthy diet when he returned to the U.S, but after several rounds of salads and sandwiches, fast food lured him back to his old habits. Frustrated, he started brainstorming ways to build healthy and balanced meals, which led to b.b.bop. At his Asian-fusion restaurant, the menu is centered on wholesome bowls of rice, veggies, and protein, steering customers away from heavy, fatty meals, such as a giant butter sculpture.
To whip up b.b.bop's signature entree, cooks line bowls with a rice of the customer's choice, from a jasmine-scented Thai type to a nutty, fiber-filled brown variety. Next, the customer selects a lean, flame-grilled protein from options including pulled pork, chicken breast, or marinated tofu. Veggies such as bell peppers and bean sprouts add color and crunch to the dish, and sauce—the finishing touch—comes in more than a half-dozen flavors, from spicy red pepper to sweet teriyaki.
The menu at Gui Korean Japanese Bistro & Bar shows off the time-honored culinary traditions of the restaurant's namesake nations. Miso soup, edamame dusted with sea salt, and seafood-topped rice bowls represent the eatery's Japanese roots. The Korean side of the menu tends toward hot and hearty dishes such as the spicy kimchi jji gae, flavored with scallions, pork, and, naturally, a liberal dose of kimchi.
The bistro's modern dining room contrasts sharply with the old-school cooking. Strands of lighted crystal beads dangle from the ceiling, dividing the space's two main seating areas. Track lights and conical pendant lamps cast a soft glow across the simple banquettes and gleaming sushi bar. Outside, stout wooden tables populate the bistro's patio seating area, which rests in the shade of a tall tree.
Kor-BQ specializes in Korean tacos, or "takos," whose myriad blasts of flavors seem to defy their simple construction. Marinated meats such as short rib, rib eye, and pork form the basis of these fusion delicacies, while a Korean fusion salsa and sesame seeds add the zesty kick. The tacos come three ways: with a cilantro and onion mix, dressed in lettuce slaw and drizzled with soy sauce vinaigrette, or "nude," a style that foregoes the fixings to avoid cilantro-shaped tan lines. Those who prefer to use a spoon instead of their hands can find similar sustenance in the rice bowls, which feature hearty mixes of marinated meat, sautéed vegetables, clear glass noodles, and lettuce slaw with vinaigrette.
If you haven't heard of Da Won, it's not for a lack of quality. According to D Magazine, when the restaurant first opened in 2010, Korean-born chef-owner June Lee took all the money she might have spent on advertising and instead funneled it into buying the best beef she could find. This dedication to freshness translates into everything Lee serves, especially banchan, the small side dishes her restaurant is known for. Instead of prepping each small bowl of homemade kimchi, tofu, steamed eggs, and savory pancakes in the morning like many restaurants, Lee makes two batches a day, ensuring that what hits the dining table is never more than a few hours old. Along with sushi and hibachi dishes, the restaurant serves a multitude of soups, including a Soon Tofu soup beloved by D Magazine.