Okay, so when someone asks me to hang out in Koreatown, I immediately think all-you-can-eat-KBBQ and karaoke. I don’t think hofbräuhauses (is that the right pluralization?). And I certainly don’t think Biergarten. But last Saturday night, I found myself in K-town with Rock My Palate and other friends at a bar/restaurant that was a mesh of German, Korean and…Mexican? What?
Opened 8 months ago by Neil Kwon, Biergarten offers a great spot to hang out with friends, drink good beer, grub on great food and watch a game on one of the many flatscreens on the wall.
The beer list is extensive and features offerings from breweries near and far that are sure to please the pickiest of beer aficionados. There’s also a full bar and, of course, the requisite soju. Neil is happy to mix the soju with Calpico, creating a dangerous cocktail that will lead some people to channel their inner AC/DC at karaoke afterwards. And for those who really love their beer, there are beer floats for dessert – a stout paired with chocolate ice cream. Yum!!
Since I’m not a huge beer head, the food was of more interest to me. The menu at Biergarten has some adventurous variety of German, Korean and Korean fusion cuisine. You could go with the traditional brat but definitely get the drunken chicken, Biergarten’s version of “beer can chicken”. Moist, flavorful and accompanied by a bucket to toss in the gnawed on bones, this was a winner. The addition of the bucket is what pushes Biergarten above other places. They take care of the little details which makes the whole experience there that much better.
Another dish we ordered was the kalbi quesadilla. There’s also kalbi tacos on the menu. While the Korean-Mexican fusion is not anything new, Biergarten does it well with balanced flavors. And there’s no 3 hour line…
The sweet potato fries here are different. Cut into shoe string pieces, this mountain of fried deliciousness is topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon. We ate it by the handfuls, making “nom nom nom” sounds.
The volcano rice and fish cakes smothered in cheese was spicy deliciousness. A play on a traditional Korean dish, the dduk (rice cakes) was cooked to a nice chewy softness.
The spicy sea snail salad was another great spicy dish we ordered. Thin noodles with a cold mixture of sliced sea snails, cucumber, lettuce, onion and a strong red Korean sauce akin to some kimchi marinades, this was one of the table favorites. But don’t expect to get smoochy with anyone unless they like onion-garlic breath…
We also nibbled on Korean Fried Chicken, tempura fries (nice crispness with soft inside), ice cream mochi, and a lychee fruit salad. The KFC was different that what I’m used to; instead of being breaded and twice-fried, this chicken wasn’t breaded but was fried. The lychee fruit salad, a mix of mandarin oranges, lychee and maraschino cherries, was a sweet, light, cold, perfect end to the grubbing.
The service here was awesome; the waiters and Neil were very attentive, friendly and un-intrusive. They were quick to clear off empty plates and accommodate our requests.
Reservations are highly recommended as Biergarten’s tables fill up fast due to large groups frequenting the joint. There are bar tables and stools which you can re-arrange but they’ll only seat so many.
And if you’re worried about parking (always a hassle in K-town), Biergarten is located in a shopping center with valet parking for $1.50.
I think we’ve found a new favorite hangout in K-town!
5 NOMs for Biergarten!
206 North Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Pictures provided by Rock My Palate