1001 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006
verdict: it's aight
i come to hodori when i feel lazy. when i don't want to try anything new or ask too many questions to figure out what kind of korean foodstuff i can eat. i point, i grunt, and an ajima takes down my order. then the expected banchan rolls out, a line up of small side dishes that has NOT changed in the last 10 years. i especially like their apple potato salad because of the sweet/salty contrast. usually, that's the first banchan item to be gobbled up.
i typically order one of two dishes when i'm here. their galbi or their bibimpap. in general, their galbi is on the sweeter side and the meat is of average grade. more often than not, each piece of meat will have its equivalent percentage of fat so each bite will grease your lips in a shiny lip gloss of fat. sometimes the meat is tough to choke down, so unless you want to spit it out into your one and only napkin that they give you, a few determined grinds with your molars should soften it up enough to swallow, though you may have a hard time getting it out the other end when the time comes. for this reason alone, i sometimes skip the galbi and go with their bibimpap.
ahh, the bibimpap, a stone bowl with sizzling rice, strips of beef, bean sprouts, and a raw egg. i order this when i crave hard, burnt rice. the rice sticks to the sides of the bowl forming a good crust giving texture to each bite. unfortunately, the amount of meat allotted for you in this bowl is rather little which makes no sense for you to order it if what you really want is meat. 80% of this dish is rice and veggies. the sticky nature of the rice will adhere to your teeth and the banchan will also leave you thirsty. too bad for you because they serve water in tiny metal bowls and to have them refilled in a timely manner so you can quench your thirst is like begging the devil for mercy. there is no mercy here kiddies. service is pretty crappy.
even with all these unfortunate snags in your dining experience at hodori, it stands solid because of its consistency in food and because it is open 24 hours. where else can you get rice at 3 in the morning? it is truly a korean denny's wearing a hanbok.