Dha Rae Oak

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Let’s get fancy for a minute.

My boyfriend spent all week trying to figure out where to take me for my birthday. He had this one cute idea where we’d split a french dip at Philippe’s and walk over to Cole’s and split theirs and then get drunk at the bar there. Cute idea except he forgot that I was a sandwich queen and and up to date with the LA food scene, so I’ve definitely tried both. Anyway, Thursday was the big day and I was not disappointed.

All I was told was that we had an 8pm reservation in Koreatown. I was like, shit, a reservation? Sounds fancy. He dropped a cheesecake off at my place around 7:30 and we drove down to Dha Rae Oak.

We show up to what looks like your average Korean BBQ joint. Not the greatest ambience in ktown, the place could use a renovation, but hey, it’s all about the food and they’ve got something the other guys on the block don’t. A clay oven. That they roast a duck in for four hours.

So we show up at 8 and are led to a table and set up with Korean appetizers. As we munch on a variety of pickled Korean treats, which I, a Korean food enthusiast of almost 7 years, just now learned from the internet is called banchan, they prep for the main event. The appetizers were alright, certainly not the greatest I’ve had at a Korean BBQ joint, but also not the worst. I didn’t catch what the tea was called, but that was delicious. Very floral, yet not sweet. Two thumbs up, would drink again. We also got some Hite. It’s a pretty solid go-to Korean beer to have with a meal. It’s light and thirst quenching, which goes very well with a flavorful meal.

A waiter closes the BBQ grill and brings out a duck. A waitress cuts up some tender pieces of duck, sweet potato, and scoops a purple sticky rice garnished with nuts and fruits and hands us our first plates and an empty plate for bones. Then they poured a vinegary chili sauce over a scoop of garlic into one side of a little sauce bowl, and sprinkled a salt and pepper blend into the other side.

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The main event here is the duck and it did not disappoint. It was juicy and tender and I don’t know what kind of magic happens when a chunk of this duck is dipped in the garlic chili sauce, but it is on another level. I asked them to refill my sauce dish twice. The potato, rice, nut, dried fruit garnishing were exciting as well. Since I had no idea what exactly we were eating, every chopstick-full was a fun adventure for my tastebuds. It also made for some good dinner conversation trying to figure out what everything was. It was all pretty good, but I didn’t go for any refills with this stuff because there was so much delicious duck to get through!

Things got a little weird for a minute. As we’re well into the meal, a waitress brought out an onion soup. It looked like it was just broth and onions, but it smelled and tasted strongly of feet. I love soup, so it kind of grew on me for a brief moment until it cooled down and probably tasted like putting a sweaty gym sock in your mouth.

By the end, we were really full. Two people, one duck and a sea of sides; it was a lot of food. But overall, I was very satisfied with my birthday dinner and very impressed by my boyfriend’s unique choice. I wouldn’t come back for Korean BBQ, although I hear they have a popular duck option, but I had an excellent experience. In conclusion, I’d only recommend this place to anyone looking for some bomb ass duck.

Where? 1106 S. Western Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90006
Price Range: $25-40
Parking: Valet available, Meters until 8PM, Street Parking

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