Despite the fact that I thought I was so done and over with Koreatown or "ktown" as the locals like to call it, sometimes it shows me a side of itself that gives me hope once again that reinvention is possible at any age.
Last night, my homegirl Cat invited me to a night out with one of her older guy friends and his buddies. We ended up going to a place called Gaam inside the Chapman Plaza in ktown. Apparently it used to be a pool hall called Renaissance back in the days (I'm guessing the 90s). I've been to this place in its previous incarnation last year when it was a fancy schmancy coffeeshop/cafe by the same name. But last night I was almost blown away.
First of all, you can't see this place from the outside. It's a place you only go to if someone takes you there, or if you read about it somehow. It's entrance is right next door to the entrance of Bohemian Cafe which is readily visible from the northwest corner of 6th and Alexandria. Once you get there, you ascend these steps and arrive at a huge space with 20ft vaulted ceilings and a yakitori/sushi station. Behind some bamboo trees that double as a room divider is the main seating area where lots of little groups of people can get together to enjoy themselves.
A projection tv plays music videos that match the music being played inside which was really cool. I hate when places show music videos, but the music itself is something else. So lame... I was mesermized by this tv. I'm not sure if it was because I found it so entertaining or because I thought the guys we were with were a bunch of yucky skeezebags. But I was glad to have it regardless. It was playing mostly 80s hits and a lot of Britney Spears' new stuff. As well as some kpop videos.
The food and drink selections were standard ktown fare: soju, beer, roast chicken, assorted yakitoris. Cat ordered what she called a "japanese style pancake" which was a chewy mass of imitation crab meat and batter topped with a generous amount of bonito flakes and squirts of mayo. This was strangely delicious! It was a great balance of chewy yet crunchy (it's served on a hot skillet), oceany (from the crab meat and bonito flakes) and creamy (from the mayo). This one's a keeper.
They're currently running a happy hour promotion Mon-Thur from 5-8:30pm where for $19.99, you can get a bottle of soju and lots of yummy little food items that would be more than enough to comprise dinner for 2 (or 3 if you're light eaters).
I really liked the fact that this place feels hidden and off the beaten track, even though it's right inside the wildly popular Chapman Plaza. I like the fact that it's got these super tall ceilings that create the dramatic effect. And there are windows overlooking 6th St . I'll have to come back here someday with people I actually like next time (except for Cat, she's cool... ;P )
Gaam Yakidori & Sake Bar
3465 W6th St Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 388 8850