If you grew up in Koreatown, Los Angeles or close to it, you can easily see how the town was like then and how it has changed and developed now. While there was only Korean residents and only Korean restaurants were available in Koreatown a few years ago, there are now more trendy and modern American-style restaurants and fancy bars, which has made Koreatown a multicultural society.
There is one restaurant named ‘Le Comptoir’, which recently opened on 6th and Normandie Ave. It is located at the historic Hotel Normandie Los Angeles, which is at a quite eye-catching area to residents and tourists. The restaurant is very small and is only opened in the evening from 6pm to 8:30pm and takes only 10 people with reservations that you need to place minimum 4 weeks in advance. Among hundreds of Korean BBQ establishments, ‘Le Comptoir’s special and unique appearance steals away the customers’ hearts. The 10 people seating at the counter and watching the chefs making their dishes right in front of their eyes is a very interactive experience that customers seem to quite enjoy very much. The chef serves a 6-course vegetable-inspired menu with a wine pairing and uses only organic vegetables from a Long Beach farm. Price is $69 per person and the menu always differs as they use seasonal ingredients. Chef Gary Menes learned from many different famous chefs and realized that his dream was to open his own restaurant, which is what he did in Koreatown, LA.
Right next to ‘Le Comptoir’, there is a classic hamburger restaurant that resides where it’s common to see people waiting in line when it hits lunchtime. The restaurant is named ‘Cassell’s Hamburgers’ and is also a part of the Hotel Normandie. The classic hamburger establishment doesn’t seem to quite fit in as a “usual” restaurant in Koreatown, but it has been successful ever since its opening. ‘Cassell’s Hamburgers’ was first established in 1948 by Al Cassell and had reopened at Hotel Normandie. They serve breakfast from 8:00am to 11:00am, and are also open throughout the day. Their breakfast items consist of hotcakes, oatmeal, yogurt & granola and variety types of pastries and muffins. Their classic house ground prime beef patty hamburgers are served from 11:00am. Customers have the choice of choosing a hamburger with different types of sauces and a salad, sides and beverages. They also have many choices of sandwiches. They are also open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays to be a part of the Koreatown nightlife. ‘Cassell’s Hamburgers’ is a recommended choice for those who want an upgrade from the traditional McDonald’s fast food hamburgers to a high quality, freshly made hamburger, along with a wide selection of beers, cocktails and wine.
The new concept of restaurants, bars, clubs and establishments now make Koreatown a more trendy and diverse society. Even many apartments and condominiums are being built and you can see a wide mix of culture fill up in just one building. Koreatown is now not just for Koreans, but it is for anyone who resides or is visiting in the United States.