Dinner at Park’s BBQ in Koreatown inevitably starts with a small flame.
Even before a greeting and the drink order, your server lifts the grate on your table grill and turns a knob. There’s the faint smell of gas and a barely audible hiss. At the click of a lighter, the flames start to dance under the grill.
It’s a ritual that starts the meal, repeated at so many Korean BBQ restaurants around town, readying the table for the procession of meats, vegetables and seafood to come.
“The tabletop gas grill is an important part of our Korean food culture,” said Ryan Park, general manager of Park’s BBQ. “It’s connected to the taste of the food and how we grill the meat.”