Restaurant of the Week: Korean BBQ

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Korean BBQ, 4232 Holt Blvd. (at Amherst), Montclair

In the Inland Valley, where Korean restaurants are rare, Korean BBQ is the venerable granddaddy of them all. It’s located in a strip mall next to a laundromat along Holt Boulevard. Yes, it’s an unpromising location, but Korean BBQ has been there since sometime around 1990, so it must work for them. It used to have a giant yellow pole sign out front until a makeover to the center required a more modest sign.

My friends Meg and K. (of the M-M-M-My Pomona blog) highly recommend the place, and since they used to live in L.A.’s Koreatown neighborhood, their advice was heeded. The three of us met for dinner there on a recent Sunday.

The interior is dated, especially the paneling, but it’s clean and pleasant enough, and Korean restaurants generally are utilitarian. The staff brought out the usual array appetizers in small dishes: kimchi, fish cake, bean sprouts, etc.

We ordered short ribs ($25) and beef ($18) off the barbecue menu, plus a bowl of bibimbap (forgot the price, sorry) to share. The barbecue items are cooked on a grill in the middle of your table. The staff fires up the grill, puts the meat on and returns to turn it or serve pieces that are done.

Korean barbecue is even rarer than Korean restaurants out here; I’ve tried two Korean places in Rancho Cucamonga and one in Chino Hills, and none of them had tabletop barbecue. The food in Montclair didn’t impress me as much as my one previous experience with Korean barbecue, at the highly regarded Park’s in L.A. — the meat wasn’t of as high a quality — but I liked the meal, the staff was nice and Montclair is a lot closer than Wilshire Boulevard.

The restaurant gets 4 stars on Yelp, where they have the name as Arirang. The menu and sign say Korean BBQ (as did the old sign), but the strip mall’s name is Arirang Plaza, and for all I know that’s the restaurant’s secret name.

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  • calwatch

    The Health Department says the official name is the “Korean BBQ House” – http://www.sbcounty.gov/dehs/restgrades/RatingsMap.aspx?c=t&searchterm=Montclair

    And David, you need to drive down Colima Road more often. There are at least six Korean BBQ joints on that street, just west of the Bulletin’s circulation area.

    [Thanks for the research, Cal. Colima Road, which I doubt I've ever driven on, would be Inland Valley-adjacent. -- DA]

  • Fed up korean

    David, if you know any Koreans why don’t you ask them to take you to a quality restaurant? You will be better off, and also, how do you know if the meat was of high quality or not? This from a man who adores Mix Bowl, the Del Taco of Thai food.

    [I'll file this in the Can't Win Dept. -- DA]