Oo-Kook: AYCE Mix-and-Match Moo Meat in Koreatown

Restaurant Sign Los Angeles

An imposing steer keeps watch over Oo-Kook's entrance.

A number of all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue restaurants we’ve eaten at in Los Angeles suffer from the same trappings as typical Las Vegas buffets, utilizing second-rate ingredients. Matthew “Mattatouille” Kang, however, recommended a restaurant that charges a little bit more than surrounding AYCE cow palaces. Oo-Kook warranted a slightly higher price tag and was even believable as what it promised, “premium BBQ.”

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The imposing two-story restaurant also features imitation parrots on perches.

For $24.99 per person (slightly higher now) we had our run of 18 different proteins.

We received slippery rice wrappers, seasoned sesame oil, fermented bean paste, raw garlic and jalapeños, chile paste and of course plenty of banchan.

Korean Food Los Angeles

My favorite complimentary small plates involved kooky mayo’d macaroni salad and the rectangular egg cake.

Korean Food Los Angeles

We tore through well-marbled Black Angus Beef Short Rib, fat-streaked Pork Belly and thin-shaved Bulgogi. Since there was no penalty to experiment, I finally managed to try Abomasum, the thick, chewy siding of a cow’s fourth stomach that isn’t destined for breakout status.

Korean Food Los Angeles

Black Angus Outside Skirt Beef was an especially rewarding cut that cooked quickly on the griddle and retained intrinsic moisture.

Korean Food Los Angeles

Beef Tongue was fairly lean, but crisped up and dipped willingly in sauces.

Korean Food Los Angeles

Prime rib achieved appealing color on the flat top.

Korean Food Los Angeles

Oo-Kook also earned respect for serving satisfying seafood. Salt-sprinkled shrimp qualify as jumbo, and their shells allowed inner meat to remain sweet and juicy.

Baby Octopus cooks quickly, so be swift with tongs (or chopsticks) to keep tentacles from getting too chewy.

Korean Food Los Angeles

Oo-Kook is far from vegetarian friendly, but the token vegetables they do provide are pretty good, including “meaty” sliced mushrooms, Kabocha Squash and Sweet Potato.

With stomach space shrinking rapidly, it was time to be strategic. For our final order, we plowed through Premium Pork Belly and Black Angus Marinated Beef before submitting.

Oo-Kook’s menu warned, “We charge extra $11.99 for leftovers.” Everybody was well sated after the meal, and we made sure not to over-order, so we skirted the decision.

Oo-Kook: AYCE Mix-and-Match Moo Meat in Koreatown


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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