I don’t pretend to be an expert on the Korean pub scene, in fact I’ve only been to this one. But here, my older brother Bill and I were transported to what I imagine to be a secret hideaway in a back alley somewhere in Seoul. He served in the military in Korea and was happy to accompany me as I reviewed a dozen restaurants for a Korean restaurant publication. We began our experience at Dan Sung Sa with a complimentary seaweed soup, perhaps served for drinking stamina? And positively addictive shoestring potatoes curiously sprinkled with sugar.
Dan Sung Sa
3317 W. 6th St.
Koreatown, Los Angeles, CA
This is a bar. Trippy, authentic, hip, smoky. We loved it. Definitely not a fine dining establishment by any means. If you are looking for a place to imbibe and experience what could be Seoul’s cultural underbelly, this is the place. We drank Hite and soju, we ate esoteric ahn-joo. The service fit the atmosphere, the music was perfect. By the way – it was smoky…and not just from the grill.
Soju is a Korean distilled beverage, traditionally made from rice, which tastes similar to vodka with a slightly sweet finish. We enjoyed the soju neat, with a chaser of Hite beer, a clean pale lager.
Forget that you’re on 6th Street in LA, and imagine that you are in Seoul. Dansungsa is named after Korea’s first cinema, it’s decor features period posters highlighting classic Korean films.
The haemul pajeon, a seafood scallion pancake goes best with makkoli (a milky rice wine).
The lighting and wood furnishings, flags, wall art and graffiti help to convince us that we have traveled afar. We watch the women grill chicken feet and frog “back” leg skewers in the hazy open central kitchen.
Honestly, I’m not sure it would be as fun if you don’t imbibe…at least just a little.