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The Best Old-Fashioned Service at New BIBIBOP Asian Grill

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Professional and friendly Albert, there to please guests

(Gerry Furth-Sides) There was no line at the counter when we walked in at 8 Pm at the new BIBIBOP Asian Grill near the Beverly Center in Los Angeles.  By the time Albert and Stephanie L. efficiently helped us create our food bowls and we sat down, the line was to the door.  They explained each ingredient briefly and happily answered all of our questions.

The base choices include white or purple rice, noodles or salad.  Hot toppings include perfectly cooked diced potatoes, bean sprouts and black beans… all flavorful and fresh.  Protein choices are marinated or spicy chicken, steak or organic tofu.  Cold Toppings feature nutrition, texture and a variety of flavors:  lettuce, corn, sesame kale, daikon radish, cucumber, carrot, red cabbage, cheese and eggs.

At the front counter, each customer can build his or her own perfect BIBIBOP from a selections fresh vegetables, quality proteins and Asian-inspired sauces.

Ingredients are  freshly chopped, grilled, cooked and prepared on site daily for this twist on bibimbap.  And, these days, very similar to the Chipotle concept next door, the BIBIBOP line moves alone easily with plenty of friendly assistance from professional aim-to-please staff.
Sauces include yum yum, teriyaki, Korean red, cucumber wasabi and sesame ginger to go with the dishes.
 We would have loved true black rice alone.  A nutrition-packed superfood once reserved only for emperors — boasts more antioxidants per serving than blueberries and also is packed with fiber, iron and copper.  Korean black rice actually has 11% more nutrients than other black rice.
BIBIBOP also offers free miso soup to pair with their rice, noodle, and salad bowls.  Customers can conveniently help themselves from a container next to the drink stand.
We watched the line move right along, just as it did when we were being helped.  Customers watched the plates being created or chatted with each other.  A few families with small children with them split up and found seats and cups of water for the children at one of the larger tables.  And still there was a que to the door the entire time we were there!

In-house diners sat at  organic wooden tables and benches along the wall. The wooden beams and contemporary electrician light fixtures, and spanking new clean interior are very inviting.  Customers carried large bags and bags of food to-go outside.  And there is a free parking lot right behind BIBIBOP!  BIBiPOP is so new, the  name of the former restaurant is still on the parking spaces.

To learn more about BIBIBOP, visit bibibop.com and connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

This third new  location at 8424 Beverly Blvd (a few blocks east of La Cienega) is the third of four to open in Los Angeles this summer.   Other locations now open are in Hollywood (6333 Sunset Blvd.) and in Santa Monica (1401 Third St. Promenade).

Part of a national expansion by BIBIBOP to expand its popular Korean-inspiredCleveland, Ohio born concept, other cities include Washington DC and Chicago.  (It is not to be confused with BIBIGO)

BIBIBOP’s signature “WELL B-ING” mission aims at healthy, delicious food with a fast-service spin on the traditional Korean dish bibimbap, meaning “mixed rice”.

In addition to the location on Beverly Blvd, other BIBIBOPS have moved in around the city.  Other locations are now open in Westwood (1059 Broxton Ave.);  Hollywood (6333 Sunset Blvd.) and in Santa Monica (1401 Third St. Promenade).

BeefBibimbap2 2

The actual name “bibimbap” roughly translates to a classic rice dish served in a steaming granite bowl, so hot that when a server drops in a raw egg,  the dish cooks before your very eyes. Add to the fun,  a server who literally cuts with a scissors what looks to be a piece of cloth that is actually a paper thin piece of beef.   He or she then anoints the mixture with hot sauce to the specified level of spiciness.

Since the granite bowl holds  heat and takes a good long time to cool off, the egg is cooked through within minutes. The rice that comes into contact with the scorching hot sides of the bowl forms a tasty crispy crust – a prize at the bottom of the dish.  The toasted rice makes such a surprising contrast to the tender, marinated beef you don’t want to take a mouthful of one without the other.

It’s perfect for cooling down on a hot summer day or a colder winter one when you want a dish to stick to your ribs.  Anthony Bourdain may have made the dish famous on his “No Reservations” TV show but Zip Fusion (now closed) owner, Jason Ha, did the performance cooking on my first memorable steaming concrete bowl of bibimbap one chilly DTLA winter night.

CEO Charley Shin’s first BIBIBOP Asian Grill restaurant originated in Columbus, Ohio, in August 2013.   This followed Shin’s successful launch of the international Charleys Philly Steaks franchise.

After mastering the franchise concept, Charley Shin went back to his roots and was inspired to bring the bold flavors and healthy ingredients of his native South Korea to his American hometown. The new concept caught on fast with the company opening three more locations in 2014, eventually expanding to 12 total locations across Ohio by 2016.


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Gerry Furth-Sides

Gerry Furth-Sides

Content Editor/Columnist

Photo-journalist Gerry Furth-Sides has been covering the ethnic and American culinary scene in California since it first came into prominence 25 years ago.