Okay, so after the honeymoon, we had to apt hunt and then move. Let me tell you, moving in the week between X-mas and NYE sucks! It was an adventure filled with dead car batteries, sprained wrists, shared elevators… But our new apt is awesome and we are loving it lots!
Anyways, on with the reviews!!!
A long time ago, in a galaxy…okay, just the next town over… Over in Culver City, two new restaurants opened up last year in the same stretch of shopping mall – Gyenari and Rush Street. Naturally, I had to try both.
Our first stop was Gyenari. This place looked like the love child of a hip, swanky eatery and a Korean BBQ restaurant. The inside is actually quite spacious and could host a large crowd. There were booths and tables; however the tables looked bolted to the floor so no moving them around to seat large parties together. And each table, as far as I could tell, was equipped with a grill.
It was opening week so the restaurant had a fair number of patrons. We didn’t have to wait to be seated. Our server was fairly attentive though there were a few times we had to flag someone down for refills on water. And there was a little bit of a wait to get our food. Hopefully, it was all due to being new and not having the kinks in the kitchen and wait staff worked out.
Since it was lunch, we opted to order already prepared food vs. ordering Korean bbq. Dan got a bbq beef bento box; our friend, M, went with the japchae and I had the kimchee fried rice with chicken. M’s dish consisted of japchae served over rice. For those not in the know, japchae = cellphane noodles cooked with beef and julienned veggies, usually carrots, onion, spinach, shitake mushrooms. It looked filling and M said he enjoyed it.
Dan’s meal was a spectacular array of yummies. There was a small portion of well-cooked, tender beef and an array of side dishes served with a bowl of rice. Being adverse to anything that wasn’t an animal prior to cooking, Dan left everything but the rice and beef alone so I got to feast on the side dishes. There was a salad – a mix of spring greens vs. boring iceberg lettuce, some pickled cucumbers, kimchee – mild in spicyness, and japchae, as well as some nice pieces of tempura – lightly battered and fried. As a dessert, a bowl of fruit was also included – melons with a few bits of berries. Sweet and fresh, it was a light way to end a heavy meal.
As for my meal, it was a heap of red-orange rice with large chunks of diced kimchee mixed in and a wonderful sunny side up egg on top. Some places will serve this dish with chopped up fried egg already mixed in; that’s fine but I love it when there’s a whole egg on top with a runny yolk. Mixing in the yolk is sooo tasty. It was already popped (the waiter apologized for that), as you can see from the picture but that was okay. It was still tasty – not too oily. However, a few bites in, I realized that there was absolutely NO chicken in this plate. It took a few minutes to get our waiter’s attention. However, when the mistake was pointed out, he was quick to correct it. Shortly there after, a generous portion of bbq chicken arrived. I dug in before I remember to take a picture, heh. It was moist, full of flavor and went well with my rice. Nyom nyom nyom.
Despite being full, Dan insisted on dessert. We got a hold of a menu and strangely enough, it listed things that didn’t really seem to fit with the Asian theme. It listed American type desserts – brownie sundaes being one of them. Rich chocolate brownie, vanilla bean ice cream that was slightly melty, real whipped cream and chopped hazelnuts. It was beautifully presented, the green leaf adding a nice touch of color. It was a huge sundae; Dan and I reached bursting point and we didn’t finish it all.
The prices were decent, if a little bit on the expensive side for lunch. If I recall correctly, my dish was between $10-15. But given the “swankiness” of the place and the location, it was expected.
My first visit to Gyenari gets 3 1/2 NOMs.
9450 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232