There’s more to Korean food than KBBQ and Koreatown (or Ktown) in LA is a veritable mecca of little eateries serving up all sorts of delectable dishes from my parents’ homeland. Kristen of Rock My Palate and I decided to start a series on our blogs where we would try a new non-BBQ place once a month and blog about it.
February’s location was Kalbi Burger (read Kristen’s review). Okay, so it’s not true Korean but it’s in Ktown and a place I’ve been wanting to try ever since I spotted them at the 2nd Annual Korean BBQ Festival. They won the Crowd Favorite award, by the way…
Located in a strip mall with free valet parking (well, should tip the guy…) for customers, Kalbi Burger is a small, clean and brightly lit joint serving up Asian fusion burgers. The owner is a firm believer in keeping food pure and organic so Kalbi Burger serves only 100% natural, hormone & antibiotic free Angus beef from humanely raised and handled cows. This should make your inner hippie happy. The menu has a variety of Asian-fusion burgers (including a chicken and veggie-friendly one), salads, hot dogs and sides ranging from fries to kimchi. For those who are finnicky, like Husband (or Cat Wrangler as Kristen has dubbed him), there is a “build your own burger” option.
In the mood for something banh mi-ish, I opted for the Saigon burger, an Angus chuck patty topped with cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro, pickled daikon and carrots and a Saigon sauce which was sort of a Sriracha-mixed aoli. The combo comes with fries and a drink; I upgraded my fries to the sea salt & vinegar ones.
Burgers are made upon ordering and cooked to a medium-well. We didn’t have to wait too long before it arrived. The patty was juicy and the burger with all its toppings and sauce was definitely on the messier side to eat. Thankfully, it came neatly wrapped like In-n-Out’s which helped keep this fat burger together while I nommed on it. The napkin dispenser on the table also helped keep me clean. The bun was brioche (which is currently my fave type of bun) and the bread-filling-meat ratio was spot on. I really enjoyed the flavors and yes, it did taste very much like a banh mi!
The sea salt-vinegar fries I could smell before the waitress set my basket in front of me. Do not inhale while eating these. The vinegar-y taste was not overly powerful, though, and I enjoyed these. The only thing is the vinegar does kill the crispiness. The fries were just the right thickness, not shoe string but weren’t cut too thick like steak fries. Yes, I’m picky about my fry thickness. I couldn’t finish the order, though, because the burger was so filling…
If you still have room for dessert (kudos if you do), Kalbi Burger has teamed up with Coolhaus and serves 3 flavors of their ice cream sandwiches.
I would say this is one of the better burgers I’ve had in LA. It’s definitely not a classic burger (though you could build one), but if you are like me and prefer your burgers to be “different”, Kalbi Burger should be on your “to eat’ list. 4 NOMs!
4001 Wilshire Blvd, Unit E
Los Angeles, CA 90010