In 1967, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue began as a small drive-thru diner in Honolulu. Over the next several decades, the eatery expanded to more than 175 franchise locations across its home state and the continental United States. Though they have maintained their original base of operations and continue to draw on its local inspirations, L&L's owners take pride in introducing new communities to their take on traditional island comfort fare. Dishes such as fried chicken katsu, shredded kalua pork, and blends of mixed Hawaiian-style barbecue draw from Asian and American culinary influences, and ice-cold drinks pay homage to the frozen strait that first brought explores from Hawaii to the mainland.
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 Bacon-wrapped Asparagus - to unique Japanese-American appetizers such as the Spicy Tuna Volcano, Wasabi Crunchy Shrimp, and Ahi Tuna Poke. The real excitement takes place around individual grills, however, where diners can barbecue their own slabs of filet mignon, ahi tuna, or chicken with chili mayo until they are ideally tender or encircled by on-duty firemen.
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.
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.
Though the Waldo family?proprietors of The Grill Hut?specializes in all things barbecue, chicken and tri-trip remain their two points of pride. Before they?re tossed in the smoker, both meats are marinated and seasoned with a secret recipe known only by the Waldos and a spy stuck behind the family?s refrigerator. Next, the meats are piled onto platters and sandwiches such as the Carnivore, a chicken and tri-tip double-header served on Pyrenees sourdough bread grilled with garlic butter. During breakfast, tri-tip even works its way into three-egg omelets alongside cheese, beans, and salsa.
Besides these main meats, the Waldo clan crafts barbecued favorites such as hot-links sandwiches and baby back ribs served atop housemade angel hair pasta. From beans to corn on the cob, The Grill Hut?s seven sides are likewise housemade.
Since the first Logan's Roadhouse opened in Lexington, Kentucky in 1991, the restaurant has grown to more than 200 locations, bringing its grilled roadhouse food as far west as California. At each location, the floors of which are typically covered in shells from the buckets of peanuts at each table, eaters can carve into top sirloin and pull apart baby back ribs that have been slow roasting for eight hours. The grilled grub is complemented by beers, cocktails, sweet teas, and sides, such as baked potatoes, coleslaw, and mac 'n' cheese.