The next time you’re planning a family meal out in Los Angeles, leave the diners and fast-food joints in your rear-view and take the kids on a real culinary adventure instead OO-Kook Korean BBQ, located in downtown Los Angeles, is such a place, introducing your young ones to a whole new world of eating — and cooking.
As you enter, you’ll quickly notice the unmistakable sound and smell of sizzling meat. Your host will lead your family through the restaurant, past the large plumes of steam that rise from each table. Once you sit down, your kids will look inquisitively at the large, round metal thing in the middle of the table. It will all make sense to them once the server gets the grill going.
As you peruse the menu, selecting the meat is the tricky part. If it’s your first time enjoying Korean food, start off with a classic dish, such as tender, juicy bulgogi (marinated beef), or its pork equivalent, daeji bulgogi. Once the thin cuts of raw meat come to your table, your server will start things off before leaving the rest of the cooking to your family. This is a good way to occupy your kids while they’re waiting to eat. You can even let them participate by using the tongs to flip the meat a few times, if they’re old enough for it. Be sure to monitor them closely and take time to man the grill yourself.
Of course, the barbecue itself is only the beginning of your options at OO-Kook Korean BBQ. As your meats cook, a collection of no less than a dozen side dishes will be brought to your table, from iconic Korean kimchi, made with spicy, sour cabbage, to japchae (sweet potato noodles) and galbitang (a soup with beef short ribs).
Adults can enjoy sipping on soju, a traditional Korean spirit made from distilled rice, or sample popular Korean beers such as Cass or Hite to round out your night. And once dinner is over, your kids will beg you to return, eager to show off the grilling skills they’ve just learned.
Photo by Thomas Sauzedde