Mijin Namgoong couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing from Westside Los Angeles. The diverse community had plenty to offer, but there wasn't a restaurant dedicated to the sort of healthful, contemporary, Seoul-style Korean cooking that Mijin and many of her friends enjoyed. She decided to remedy this situation by founding Wharo Korean BBQ in 2004. Thrillist took note of this approach and placed the restaurant on its list of The Westside's 9 Best Korean BBQ Spots.
In Korea, family-style meals are traditionally cooked in a large stone pot, around which family members gather and socialize as they eat. At Wharo Korean BBQ, Mijin strove to capture this communal spirit by equipping each table with a central grill that diners huddle around while cooking their own meals. Charcoal-stoked flames flicker beneath the surface of the grill, lending a smoky flavor to certified Angus rib eye steak, thin-sliced pork that marinated in a spicy miso sauce, or tuna seasoned with sesame oil, salt, and black pepper.
What if You Don't Want to Grill Anything?
Back in the kitchen, the chefs keep themselves busy preparing a wide assortment of traditional Korean dishes as well as slightly updated versions of familiar classics. This selection includes pan-fried, Korean-style pancakes with crabmeat, chives, or homemade kimchi as well as salads of sauteed tofu and organic baby greens tossed with sesame dressing. Additionally, Wharo Korean BBQ deviates from its roots a little bit by offering Japanese-style shabu shabu meals, which allow diners to cook their own meats and vegetables using heated pots of savory or spicy broth.