Korean street food spot Seoulmates brings Bulgogi Hoagies to West Third Street
Newcomer Seoulmates opens this week as a Korean and LA-inspired street food restaurant in Beverly Grove. The fast-casual spot is less than two blocks from longtime West Third bar El Carmen; if you don’t know where to find it, there’s a giant billboard right in front of the restaurant on the north side of the street.
Seoulmates features tacos ranging from galbi to gochujang birria jackfruit tacos, bowls, Korean wings, carnivorous or vegan bibimbap bowls, plus fries loaded with bulgogi, grilled onions, bell peppers, onions, pickled fresno peppers and queso. Then there’s the bulghoagie, a sandwich developed by owner Christina Hong, which sold out in her pop-up at the start of the pandemic. Hong enlisted consulting chef Dustin Jang – a former sous-chef at the closed Nyesha Arrington Native – to polish the menu for the Seoulmates. If this menu sounds familiar for Los Angeles, Hong cites chef Roy Choi as inspiration.
Hong cut his teeth in hospitality as a bartender and at his family’s Chicago-area outlet, Charley’s Philly Steaks. Her plans to open Seoulmates were delayed by the pandemic, so she went into pop-up mode for two years. Its pop-up specialty bulghoagie is now part of the Seoulmates menu, featuring marinated rib eye, melted provolone, grilled onions, pickled cucumber, wonton chips, coleslaw and kimchi remoulade between a hero roll. Before securing the location on West Third, the pop-up made regular appearances at Verdugo Bar in Glassell Park and Naughty Pig in West Hollywood.
If you are dining, Seoulmates has minimal indoor and outdoor seating. The space has seen significant turnover over the past five years, with Hummus Republic and Subito preceding the short-lived Pink Grey. Although Hong is opening Seoulmates this Thursday, July 14, they serve for business starting today. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.