Cheap Eats 2011: Gom Ba Woo

It may lack the flash of some other Koreatown mainstays, but this soothing parlor with big windows is a quiet and friendly place to explore Korean cuisine. The panchan, tiny dishes that arrive before each meal, might include pickled potatoes and steamed spinach, but the spicy, crunchy kimchee is terrific. Other entry-level Korean staples, such as bulgogi–sweet barbecue beef meant to be wrapped in lettuce–and bibim bap, a mélange of veggies, rice, and egg served in a warm stone dish that allows the rice to crisp at the bottom, are excellent. To break out of this familiar zone, try one of the soups, such as the restorative beef soup with noodles, egg, and turnips or the clam-and-tofu soondooboo with a red-pepper broth and an egg whisked in for richness.

Also good: Steamed pork dumplings; seafood pancake; spicy pork-belly barbecue; oxtail soup; short ribs.

Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

More from Food