Koreatown has always been a cherished cultural hub in L.A., providing us with little tapioca balls you sip through a straw, safe places to sing karaoke all night and, of course, excellent cuisine. It is the best place in L.A. to get some tasty Korean food and amazing Korean BBQ. However, many do not know that it is also the home of one of the best burgers in the city of Angels. This burger (along with many other yummy items such as kimchi pancakes) can be found at Biergarten LA, an establishment located on 206 N. Western Ave.
It might sound unusual that Korean cuisine would ever mix with German food; however, Biergarten LA manages to use the best ingredients from both worlds. The result is a menu that is delightfully different from everything else out there. Kimchi pancakes serve as a nice addition to an authentic German sausage. A hearty burger pairs well with tempura French fries, and German fried rice nicely complements Korean fried chicken. These are uncommon combinations, but Biergarten LA has been making them work for about two years. And to wash them all down, chose from the selection of 25 beers on tap.
Inside Biergarten LA, wooden tables and chairs fill the room. The walls are decorated with beer signs and brewery logos. There are strategically placed flat screen TVs around the room, and there is also one giant screen in the middle of the room for optimum game viewing. Overall, this establishment is not only a place to get great food, but it is also the perfect place to watch the big game.
What better way to watch the game than with a giant, gourmet burger in front of you? If you haven’t noticed, glam burgers have become a very popular commodity in L.A. in the past couple of years. These days, you can get a specialty burger at chains like Umami Burger, The Counter and other popular establishments.
However, Biergarten LA’s “Glutster” burger rivals them all. The burger involves a bizarre combination of ingredients inspired by the semi-famous blogger, Javier Cabral (aka the Glutster). It includes chipotle black beans, epazote aioli, pickled onions, fried green tomatoes, guacamole and Angus beef all sandwiched together between two King’s Hawaiian buns. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes this burger so special, but whatever it is, it was good enough to win Los Angeles Magazine’s Best Burger Improv in 2011.
Of course, no burger dinner is complete without a kimchi pancake on the side, right? Kimchi pancakes (also called “kimchijeon”) are a popular and common Korean dish, and Biergarten LA makes it extremely delicious by topping the pancakes with fresh frisee leaves, gochujang aioli, green onions and perilla shallots. This is a great example of the unconventional dishes offered at this great restaurant. Every item on the menu, even the traditional Korean dishes, has some sort of unexpected and pleasant twist.
Other items like the Biergarten tacos and the “spamwich” further prove Biergarten LA’s risky decision to serve dishes that make us go, “Does that even exist?” And they provide an answer: yes, it does exist. And it’s fantastic.
Another unusual dish that is worth a try is called poutine. This dish is basically a glamorized rendition of cheese fries with an Asian-German twist. First of all, the fries are not French; they are tempura fires, which gives them a crunchier texture than an average French fry. Secondly, the cheese that tops them is not that watered-down version of Kraft American Cheese Singles that you see at most places. Instead, it is a very rich and strong flavored cheese. To complete this culinary masterpiece that Biergarten LA’s manager Ann Kwon calls a “heart-attack on a plate,” they top it all off with shredded beef. This is not a dish for the “I’m kind of hungry” people; it is only for real eaters. Overall, the poutine is the most stomach-filling version of cheesy fries one could find in L.A and is extremely tasty.
If the poutine sounds a bit too rich for you, try some of the other appealing side dishes that are perfect in-between-meal snacks. For instance, the sweet potato strings covered in cinnamon-sugar powder are a nice treat to crunch on while sipping a hoppy pint of beer. Do not get this dish confused with sweet potato fires, because sweet potato strings are much crunchier and thinner than fries. The cinnamon-sugar powder covering the strings gives the dish the aura of a deconstructed churro and serves as a nice way to end a meal.
Overall, Biergarten LA offers customers a great dining experience, and a great place to watch the game with close friends. You can order some of the more unusual dishes or keep it simple with a German bratwurst served with kimchi sauerkraut and spicy mustard.
Whatever you decide, you will surely be full, satisfied and surprised by Biergarten LA’s innovative menu and welcoming environment.