225 S. Beverly Dr. | (310) 275-0011 | www.us.bibigo.com/index | Pricing: $$
The Seollal, or Lunar New Year, is celebrated for three days in Korean culture, but fear not – you can celebrate throughout the month of February at Korean-fusion restaurant bibigo. We braved the trek from the Palisades to the Beverly Hills location to partake in a limited edition prix fixe menu. Our good fortune began when we found out we would be served every delectable selection offered in the three-course meal.
The festivities commenced with Tteok Mandu Guk, a soup traditionally made by friends and family on New Year’s Day. Dumplings and rice cakes bob about promising one more year of life and good luck. It is customary to inquire, “How many bowls of Tteokguk have you eaten?” to ask a person’s age. I’d happily gulp down 20 bowls of the tasty brew even if it meant shaving 20 years off my life.
Feeling warm and brimming with good cheer we moved on to the first course. The real standout was the Steamed Bun – imagine a cross between a banh mi and a slider. The sticky Chinese bao was sliced open and piled with grilled spicy pork, pickled radish, cucumber and hoisin teriyaki. Other selections included harmonious items you’d not likely taste in Koreatown. Shishito pepper and crushed crispy garlic were a surprise amidst the Calamari, while the Fig & Avocado Salad with pomegranate dressing supplied a guilt-free pop of flavor. The ever-popular Brussels sprouts made an appearance, caramelized and served with roasted garlic and dried prune, mini zucchini and chili pepper.
Every nation utilizes fermentation in their foods – think of yogurt, sauerkraut, cheese or tempeh. In Korea fermentation is considered an art, and families guard their own recipes. Surely you’ve experienced Kimchi as a condiment, but have you ever tried Kimchi Stew? This was without question my favorite entrée among the trio of choices. It was a spicy pot of steaming comfort spooned over black forbidden rice. Ashley, my dining companion, preferred the Braised Short Ribs that were so tender they fell off her chopsticks. I have to confess the caramelized veggies and roasted chestnuts elevated it to a close second. The Grilled Short Ribs were tasty but a little on the fatty side for my taste.
When they served the Korean Sweet Pancake with ice cream and raspberry, Ashley exclaimed “So, if it’s a pancake can we have this for breakfast? What time do they open?” As I reached for the Green Tea Shaved Ice for a cool ending to our prix fixe feast, I wondered how long I would have to wait to come back for more Kimchi Stew. (I couldn’t resist and made a special trip back less than a week later.)
Photos: Angela De Felice
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