From the bustling streets of Times Square to the equally vivacious streets of Hong Kong, people walk around with smiles after enjoying the japanese barbecue cuisine at Gyu-Kaku. The restaurant has more than 700 locations worldwide, each rooted in the belief that some of the strongest bonds between friends are forged at the dinner table. Groups dine on a huge variety of Japanese dishes, from popular meat and veggie dishes such as Harami Skirt Steak, Kalbi Short Rib, and Mushroom Medley - to unique Japanese-American appetizers such as the Spicy Tuna Volcano, Pork Gyoza Dumplings, and Chicken Karaage. The real excitement takes place around individual grills, however, where diners can barbecue their own slabs of filet mignon, grilled ahi tuna, or chicken with basil sauce until they are ideally tender or encircled by on-duty firemen.
Mr. Cecil's California Ribs is a unique Los Angeles ribs restaurant. Chef Jonathan Burrows takes western American barbeque, adds a slight Asian influence, then infuses California freshness and the highest quality ingredients - like organic chicken and vegetables - along with a menu that includes fish and salads
Diners detect the smoky aroma of their meals before the server even arrives. Within moments, the diners behold a table full of the chefs' specialties?baby-back ribs, pulled pork braised overnight, and beef ribs possessing bones thick enough to double as barbells. In addition to barbecuing meats to fall-off-the-bone tenderness, chefs prepare an array of traditional sides, ranging from corn muffins to collard greens. For group gatherings, Ribs USA's team bundles five catering packages for parties of up to 200.
When the KTLA morning news crew was looking for someone to teach their viewers barbecue recipes last Fourth of July, they called up Lenny Bent. A chef and blues musician who's made his name catering the production lots for shows such as American Idol, Lenny wowed the hosts and crowd alike with his four-hour smoked, whiskey-glazed baby-back ribs. These?alongside smoked whole chickens and beef tri-tip?are some of the star attractions at his restaurant, Cookin' with Lenny's Smokehouse. Here, Louisiana-style recipes weave throughout the menu, topping tables with everything from deep-fried catfish to jambalaya with hot links. And guests would do well to save room for dessert, too, since the restaurant's signature treat, bananas foster, is prepared tableside.
Danny Fischer is no stranger to being a fish out of water in the culinary world. As a kid, he helped out at his father's rib joint in Philadelphia, a city better known for its cheesesteaks than its barbecue. Using that experience, he joined forces with his longtime friend, Rick McCarthy, whose family owns a soul-food restaurant in Georgia, to open LA's Baby Blues BBQ.
Their different backgrounds and regional techniques form what the pair calls hybrid barbecue. Here's a rundown of all the regions represented on the menu.
Memphis: Though Danny is hesitant to call any single item on Baby Blues BBQ's menu its specialty, the Memphis ribs certainly stand out. Prepared in the St. Louis style?with the fat and brisket bone cut off?they're dry rubbed with a mixture that's half brown sugar, half 19-spice blend. After slow smoking for about five hours, which chars the rub into a crispy bark, the ribs are grilled until they sizzle.
North Carolina: The aforementioned Memphis ribs are finished with a light wash of sauce. Like all of Baby Blues' made-from-scratch sauces, the sauce uses a traditional North Carolina vinegar base. Pulled-pork sandwiches are also a nod to North Carolina recipes, though Danny puts his own spin on them by smoking the shoulder meat in Guinness.
Texas: The Texas-style beef ribs are, perhaps predictably, significantly larger than the Memphis ribs. They're big, rich, and marbled, yet still delicate enough to be dismantled with a fork.
The Gulf Coast: Although the menu is brimming with barbecue meals, it also includes seafood dishes. Grilled shrimp are topped with a New Orleans?style r?moulade, and the catfish filet is seasoned with Cajun spices and encrusted in cornmeal before it is blackened in a cast-iron skillet.
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.