Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Explaining The Unexplainable: The Corner Place, Cerritos

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
(562) 402-8578


Grace said...

I think the noodles you're referring to are called "Dong Chee Mi Gook Soo" (I hope that's right; my Korean sucks). Either that or neng myun, but The Corner Place is known for their "Dong Chee Mi Gook Soo." They won't even let you take it home because they're afraid of having their recipe duplicated. =P Though I'm not a fan myself, my friends frequent this place quite often..

elmomonster said...

Hey! That's kinda in OC, same as the place is kinda in a Corner. I'll have to look up what Dong Chee Mi Gook Soo is...if, as Grace says, they won't let you take it home for fear of duplication, it must be good.

Steve Wasser said...

Do they have a location in Ktown? The place we went to wouldn't let you bring home the Dong Chee Mi Gook Soo this a conspiracy? I thought it was good, but not so fantastic I would want to reverse engineer it.

Foodie Universe said...

I love cucumber kimchee.
I have never heard of a place not letting you take your food home. That is so wierd.

Anonymous said...

There is a Corner Place in Ktown, on 9th St., known for its fizzy, sweet cold noodles in a broth that some swear is doctored with 7up. It's not on a corner either, but I think the original location might have been.

j sunu said...

The K-town restaurant is actually on James M. Wood St. just east of vermont and that's the original restaurant here in LA. Maybe the original restaurant in Korea was on a corner... The K-town restaurant doesn't have as many ban-chans (there's no kimchee chigae on the menu either), but the same, famous Dong Chi Mee Gook Su that you can't take home. The K-town one is always crowded and is a lot more grimy, hole-in-the-wall-ish, but for the price it's a great meal.

Passionate Eater said...

Yea! Welcome back! I hope that wedding planning is going well, and that you nipped your cold in the bud!

shimpiphany said...

the 9th/james wood location actually ships in the cold noodle soup from the OC location, so as to keep the recipe a secret. in my opinion, the soup is the only reason to go to the LA corner place, which is kind of dirty with a really long wait. much prefer sa rit gol or chosun galbee.

Daily Gluttony said...


Thanks for the name! Are you kidding me about the fact that they don't let you take it to go? That's insane! It wasn't THAT good...


Like it was kinda in the OC and kinda in a corner, it was kinda good, but not HELLA good.


I can just see it underground lab formed just to try & duplicate the dong chee mi gook soo

Foodie Universe,

MMM, cucumber kimchi rocks!


Hmm, now that I think about it, there was the slight taste of 7up in there!

J Sunu,

I knew there was one in Ktown, but I didn't know there were some in're right, maybe the one in Korea is on a corner!


Thanks! I felt so out of touch for a while!


They ship it from OC??? And they don't let you take it home??? OK, now that's going too far...

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