Hanjip restaurant brings elevated Korean BBQ to Westside

Hanjip restaurant banchan

Hanjip banchan

Stephane Bombet is on a roll. First, he opened Terrine. Then, he opened Viviane. Just a week later, he opened Hanjip restaurant, an elevated Korean barbecue experience in Culver City.

Bombet and Chef Chris Oh of Seoul Sausage fame are offering top-notch meat, seafood, sides and banchan right in the heart of downtown Culver City, giving the Westside a new KBBQ option. But Hanjip restaurant is definitely not your run-of-the-mill Korean barbecue joint.

In addition to the marinated and non-marinated beef and pork, there’s also beef tongue (which I didn’t think I’d like but ended up loving), lamb, baby octopus, hamachi collar and gigantic Carabineros prawns. Oh, the prawns. Huge, sweet, tender. And expensive at $88 for a plate of three, but hey, it’s the holidays!

Hanjip restaurant Carabineros prawns

Carabineros prawns

Also in the pricey column is the Tomahawk chop topped with foie gras butter. At $120, you’re definitely splurging. But what a splurge it is. So much meat, so much umami.

Hanjip restaurant Tomahawk chop

Tomahawk chop

Hanjip also offers some great side dishes, from the traditional seafood pancake and kimchi fried rice served in a tin box (shake it up to get that eggy goodness all over) to the fancy uni steamed egg and bone marrow cheesy corn. The banchan offerings aren’t as extensive as other KBBQ joints, but the selection here is well-edited and includes the addictive pepper-and-garlic-sauce-lathered dried squid dish ojingeochae-muchim. I could eat that all day.

Hanjip restaurant Kimchi fried rice

Kimchi fried rice

Hanjip restaurant Uni steamed egg

Uni steamed egg

Hanjip restaurant Bone marrow corn

Bone marrow corn cheese

As a Westside restaurant that caters to a more mixed clientele, Hanjip’s interior is a bit flashy and a bit funky, perfectly reflecting Bombet’s and Oh’s personalities. The only thing about this place that weirded me out was how the server cooked all the meat for us, which meant there was someone leaning over our table for the better part of our meal. Maybe Hanjip restaurant feels this is necessary for the guests who aren’t used to this kind of dining experience, or maybe this is meant to be part of the elevated offerings, but I could do with less of this babysitting. Let me at the meat!

Note: This meal was hosted.

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Maya Meinert

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12 2015

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