Location: 474 N Western Los Angeles, CA 90004
Craving for a one of a kind seafood experience? Jae Bu Do has you covered with an epic feast of the ocean’s finest…Korean style!
On our recent trip to LA we celebrated our July 4th dinner at the famed Jae Bu Do restaurant right outside Hollywood after working up an appetite from museums and sight seeing. I researched this place prior and it has been highly recommended by locals for their pristine seafood cooked over charcoal bricks. It was also featured on an episode of Eater and I knew we had to hit up this place asap!
This restaurant is located in a small strip mall with very little parking space and there is a valet fee of $4 if you choose. I highly recommend you come early as they do not take reservations so it’s first come first serve. They open at 3 pm until 10 pm and when we arrived around 5:20 pm there was already a line leading out the door!
Luckily, we didn’t have to wait too long. Inside, there is a tank filled with fresh live abalone and lobster and the smell of delicious smoky charcoal grills sizzling away. It’s not a big place with a central dining room and a balcony section where we sat.
The menu is simple and straight forward, 4 combo choices each catered to the number of people at your table. We opted for the 2 person combo A set menu for $79.99 which came with the following goodies in addition to 2 bonus items we added: 1 abalone and 1 grilled squid for good measure!
Combo A (2 person):
- Manila clams
- 2 Large clams
- 2 Oysters
- 3 Mussels
- 4 Shrimps
- 3 Hotate scallops
- Pink scallops
- 3 Baby octopus
- Grilled croaker
- Corn cheese
- Steamed Egg
- Vegetable pancake
- Noodle soup with seafood
- Baked sweet potato
- Baked potato
As you can see this is quite an extensive list of seafood, keep scrolling as I walk you through our entire meal!
Right away the service was efficient, as soon as we sat down the waiter took our order and out came the traditional Korean sides. We had a plate of kimchi, fresh veggies with seasoned soy bean paste sauce, a large bowl of raw seafood salad in a sweet and tangy Korean gochujang paste sauce. Super delicious and refreshing to compliment a BBQ meal!
Hot charcoal grill time…
In the midst of munching on the yummy cheese corn and steamed eggs our waiter came back with a tray of red hot charcoal bricks and laid it right in the middle of our table. Mind you this is LA summer, it was hot and these charcoal bricks are super hot so you have to be a little careful. As they say no pain no gain! They were kind enough to provide everyone a white glove to handle the food so you can eat quickly as the seafood cooks very fast.
First on the menu were the clams, sweet and delicious dipped in a bit of house made Korean chili sauce we gobbled those up in no time. The large clams were also great, cut up into bite size pieces nice tender not chewy. Best bit is the waiters are super attentive and help you grill the food and let you know when it’s ready to eat.
Next up were the oysters, super fresh and succulent and then the prized abalone. This is my first time trying fresh abalone and boy was it delicious. If cooked wrong this shellfish can be quite chewy but these were ever so tender and delicate, a must try in my books!
Mussels came up next, these smelled so good on the grill as they were dressed with a bit of scallions and butter, yum! Meanwhile, we had 2 small pots bubbling away as the seafood cooked. One was a seafood soup broth filled with baby scallops and the other was a tteokbbokki style baby scallop stew with rice cake in a sweet chili paste sauce. The little scallops were perfectly cooked and absorbed all the flavors of the sauce and broth it was cooked in!
Half way check point…
By this point in the meal we were about half full, tummies all satisfied by the shellfish we had. Next up, giant grilled squid perfectly caramelized and also super tender and meaty. The grilled shrimp was also sweet and had a nice smoky flavor from the charcoal. The grilled baby octopus was marinated in a chili paste and was surprisingly soft and tasty, very good eating.
A delightful food coma ending…
We were both so full after finishing up these items and thought we were done until suddenly the waiter brought out this whopping HUGE pot of udon noodles which we forgot about after an hour of non-stop eating haha! The broth was so rich and delicious full of good seafood flavor and the noodles had a great chew. We finished the meal off with the roasted sweet potatoes and potatoes under the grill (which we also forgot about in our state of food coma).
All in all, the meal was epic and one I will remember for a long time! The seafood was incredibly fresh, service was fantastic and the experience was like no other for the price you pay which is very reasonable for what you get. Just don’t come wearing your fancy clothes as you will smell like a smoke house afterwards, which isn’t such a bad thing 🙂