99 Essential Restaurants 2014

Park’s BBQ

photo by Anne Fishbein

To say there’s a lot of barbecue in Koreatown would be a grand understatement. Enthusiasts will debate the merits of different Korean barbecue establishments with a fervor similar to the way Texas barbecue partisans will duel to the death with Carolina-style lovers. Which is part of what makes Park’s BBQ so remarkable — for the most part, the consensus is that Park’s is the king of Koreatown barbecue. The difference is in the meat, which is meticulously sourced. That upgrade in quality shows even if you don’t opt for the pricy American Wagyu, but even more so if you do. Like the meat, everything here is extremely high-grade, from the banchan to the savory pancakes to the galbi tang, or beef soup, which you can sometimes get at lunch for $6.99 (usually on Wednesdays). For K-pop fans, there’s probably no place in town you’re more likely to run across a beloved pop star, and even if you don’t, the walls are crammed with enough celebrity photos to make up for it. If you have time for only one Korean barbecue outing this year, well, we feel bad for you. But you probably should make it Park’s.

-- Besha Rodell