OK, what the fuck. Over the last few weeks nothing but wierd-ass shit has been happening to me. Like what? Like alien lemons, a massive cold that just came out of nowhere, jacked up chicken recipes, mighty good izakaya that didn't fit on my table, a horrible dining experience with the punks over at Dolce Enoteca, the list goes on and on. And if that wasn't enough, I just found out that yet another friend of mine has decided to pack up and move to San Francisco. He's actually the fourth friend of ours in like three months that has made the decision to leave sunny LA and relocate to the fog-one-minute-blinding-sun-the-next-I-can't-make-up-my-mind-if-it's-going-to-be-warm-or-cold-City-By-The-Bay. Go figure.
This soon-to-be-LA-ex-Pat had some explaining to do, so we met up with him and two other friends at a place that, not surprisingly, had an unexplainable name.
Though one could say that The Corner Place is located in some sort of plaza that is technically on the corner of South Street and Gridley Avenue in Cerritos, the restaurant itself is not on the corner. There is a bank on the corner. And however you want to look at it, The Corner Place is behind or next to the bank. So if there were no pre-set plaza, and The Corner Place were all by its lonesome, it would not be on the corner. It would be one or two places down from the place on the corner. But it would not be the corner place. And yet somehow, it is The Corner Place.
Or maybe I was just thinking too much into it. Which is why instead of pulling my hair out I decided just to go with the flow and enjoy a nice dinner out with fiance and friends.
With its 70's brown boothed interior, it's obvious that this supposed "Corner Place" (OK, OK, I'll stop it...) used to be some sort of family friendly coffee shop like Coco's or Denny's in the past, and really, you wouldn't really know it was a Korean restaurant if you didn't notice the the grill plates on the tables or that the hostess greets people in Korean. Our friend took care of all the ordering for the five of us, meaning the rest of us spent less time looking over their menu and more time grilling our San Francisco-resident-to-be friend about why he's straying. It wouldn't have been difficult, though, to grill him and peruse the menu at the same time as the menu is pretty no-nonsense Korean, offering a small but comprehensive variety of meats to barbeque, jigaes, bibim bap, mandoo, pa jeon and other popular dishes.
How do you say Coco's in Korean?
Aside from its name (what????), The Corner Place makes things even easier by offering a couple of combo dinners for four which offer meat choices, some type of side dish and two large Hite beers for under sixty bucks. Bulgogi (sliced beef rib eye) and Dak Bulgogi (chicken) were our meats of choice for Combo #1, and were decent, especially when dipped into the little dishes of sesame-salty oil or eaten with the tangy shredded lettuce and scallion salad on the table. Panchan was plentiful: little dishes of things I kinda know the name of like baechu (napa cabbage) kimchi, oi (cucumber) kimchi, kong namul moo chim (seasoned bean sprouts), moo saeng chae (seasoned daikon)--and others that I really don't know the names of like seasoned seaweed, boiled cubes of potato, seasoned cubes of gelatin, and broccoli with a thousand island-like dressing--blanketed the table.
The meat made sense, I guess
A virtual wallpaper of panchan
A warm bowl of mu woo gook, or beef and radish soup, was good for the soul (and my sinuses!) on a chilly March evening, but an order of kimchi jigae was even better! The spicy reddish-orange stew of kimchi, pork and tofu boiled and bubbled inside a mini black cauldron. The stew is eaten by dumping a few spoonfuls of rice into the bowl and scooping heaps of the hearty concoction into your mouth with a big spoon which I totally love because it makes me feel like a kid again, and who doesn't like that?
Oh Stewy Night...
But perhaps the best part of our dinner were the bowls of cold noodles that came at the end of the meal. I can't remember the name for the life of me, but I can tell you how the noodles that our waitress graciously cut and divided up into individual bowls were taut and chewy, that they sat in a cold clear gingery broth that was flecked with scallion and chiles and that the dish did a great job of rounding out a meal that was otherwise packed with heat.
Cold, but not as cold as San Francisco
The Corner Place provided not an excellent, eyes-roll-to-the-back-of-your-head meal but a pretty decent one, so despite the its misleading name (yeah, so I opened my big fat mouth about it again, so what?), everything made sense. Now as for our friend leaving us, well, I'm not so sure. I mean, like he needs a job or anything.
The Corner Place
19100 Gridley Avenue
Cerritos, CA 90703