Korean barbecue is steadily becoming all the rage in Los Angeles, poised to be the next dining fad akin to the sushi bars craze. It puts a whole new spin on going out for dinner either with a date or a group of friends.

If you haven’t been to a Korean barbecue restaurant before, you sit at a rectangular table that has a small grill in the center. You pick what kind of meat or vegetables you want, fire up the grill and cook your own dinner.

Nowhere is the appeal of Korean barbecue more apparent than at Genwa Korean BBQ. Located on the ground level of a swanky apartment and townhome community in Mid-Wilshire, Genwa is a gem not to be missed.

The flagstone walled hostess area, with rock and grass art pieces suggesting an outdoor vibe, makes you feel like you’re going to a Saturday afternoon barbecue at a friend’s house. Yet, the sleek bar and modern light fixtures remind you that you’re not only in for a fun night, but also for a thoroughly luxurious dining experience.

Begin your evening by cooling off from the summer heat with a refreshing iced green tea or bottle of Sapporo and a plate of edamame, Jhap Chae (stir fried glass noodles and vegetables) or Pa Jyun (a seafood and vegetable pancake). The staff is more than willing to help you with any unfamiliar menu items and love to suggest their own favorites that you might enjoy.

One such recommended entrée is the Prime Galbi: short ribs marinated in the savory house sauce. The tender beef slices practically melt in your mouth. There’s also the traditional Bulgogi (thinly sliced prime beef), premium U.S. Kobe beef and Cha Dol (brisket). All beef selections are served with a refreshingly tart spicy salad that is one of the highlights of the meal.

The pork belly (Sam Gyup Sal), Miso Salmon and Bulgogi Chicken are great alternatives for non-red meat eaters. There are plenty of soup/noodle dishes like ramen and udon and a wide selection of salads for vegetarian diners as well.

All of the tabletop grills are smokeless, so don’t worry about steaming up your glasses or having your clothes and hair smell by the end of the night. Genwa even offers kitchen prepared dishes like Galbi Jeem (braised beef short ribs) and pan friend mackerel if you don’t want to cook anything on your own. And their special sizzling rice meals served in a sizzling stone pot look and smell delicious; I’m definitely ordering one next time.

Every entree is served with a wide variety of pickled radish, spicy cabbage and sauces. To top it all off, you’re treated to a shot of Genwa’s (non-alcoholic) after-dinner punch, the perfect way to end a unique time filled with great food and fun.

For more information, call (323) 549-0760.