I've been really excited about this Korean restaurant opening up on the Westside since it is now up against Wharo in Marina del Rey. It's always good to see a little competition, keeps everyone on their toes. Also, I'm always interested in seeing how ethnic restaurants update their look to appeal to a wider audience. Does a restaurant lose its authenticity when it goes modern? Like Sugarfish, when you "Pinkberry" something out, do you start missing the sushi chef? Grace (sis), Berry and I decided to have dinner at Gyenari Saturday night to see how it would fare.

We walk in and just fall in love with the decor..the place is sleek and modern...bar is fabulous, seating area with greys and yellow is classic...

You could tell they really invested some money into this place bc you can see it in the details. We sit down and they bring out the banchan (an assortment of small appetizer dishes) out right away (no lag time, love that, see first pic.) The menu was pretty extensive but our eyes zoomed in on a few Korean classics - bimbimbap (rice with vegetables), galbi (short ribs), and jap-chae (glass noodles):

Again, really appreciate how everything comes out very neat and clean (i.e. no permed hair Korean grandmas with kimchi splattered over their aprons). We start cooking up the galbi and I notice that there is no vent hanging over our table. Our waiter, Jeff, explains that the smoke is getting sucked down into the vents around the grill. Freakin genius. No smelling like galbi! Put away the hair band 'cause my hairs not gonna stink!

Overall galbi pieces were a little thick, the middle was still pink when the outside started getting charred. Perhaps, they could cut the galbi into thinner pieces (much like Gyu-Kaku). I ventured to the back of the restaurant to check out the party room and the bathroom. Again, great attention to detail. (Yes, and hot waiters are a nice touch, too.)

Overall? The food was very Americanized. As much as I want to see this place objectively, through the average person's eyes, I can't, no denying the fact that I am Korean-American. The banchan wasn't hardcore Korean - no octopus or raw crab. Instead they had cucumbers, asparagus, avocado and a few types of kimchi. I enjoyed it all. The bibimbap had red pepper, carrot, asparagus and meat which was interesting. The meat they used is called galbi-cheem, which is great 'cause Koreans don't bust out that good stuff unless it's a holiday. Service was spectacular. Jeff was always around asking us if we needed anything. No complaints at all there. It was a little pricey - for our three dishes we spent $61 +tip. Galbi was $34 and the average is $25 but you are paying again for the atmosphere and service. We really enjoyed the place. Jeff made our night by being very attentive and though we did spend way more than if we had made the trek up to Olympic and Vermont (and had Hodori), it made for a nice night out.

Who Should Go? If you are Korean American and you feel embarrassed speaking Korean ('cause they usually end up speaking English right back at you), this is the place for you. If you want to spend a little extra so that you get a beautiful place to have your galbi, check this place out. If you don't want to drive all the way to K-Town, you now have another alternative on the Westside. Tips: Park in the Cardiff structure for 2 hours free (though this can get packed) or find street parking. Hours of Operation: Lunch: Monday - Sunday: 11:00am - 5:00pm Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 4:00pm - 11:00pm Gyenari (Yelp) 9540 Culver Blvd Culver City, CA 90232 310.838.3131
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  • my other idea is for a fine-dining caribbean restaurant in west hollywood. there was this native belizian chef on a live-aboard scuba dive yacht i was on. he made us 5 meals a day for a week, and EVERY meal was absolutely amazing.

    imagine a 6ft native belizian TRANSVESTITE as the exec chef of a fine dining caribbean restaurant in weho. perfect, no?
  • do it simonster! you know i'll be one of the first ones there with my nose up against the glass...*open open open
  • lol. i actually had a restaurant concept for a fine-dining chinese place. super high-end interpretations of classic chinese dishes. for example, instead of a stir-fried mess, mongolian beef would be a cut of kobe, with a drizzle of a polished mongolian cracked pepper sauce, lovingly sliced and served topped on a cylinder of onion & mushroom fried rice.

    or something like that...
  • oooh. thanks for the review! we were thinking about trying that place last night, because of an unfulfilled korean food craving after "the corner place" was CLOSED for lunch.

    really? closed for lunch on a sunday?!? shenanigans. MY people would never miss such a prime money-making opportunity. seriously. the world could be coming to an end, and you KNOW all the chinese restaurants would still be open with the-world-is-coming-to-an-end specials. ***additional upcharge for shrimp, of course.*** ;)
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