Las Vegas’ Chinatown must sometimes feel like a younger sibling constantly being judged against his cooler older brother: Los Angeles. But our Chinatown—which actually encompasses many different Asian ethnicities—is a point of local pride, from its supermarkets and businesses to the restaurants serving some of the best food around. Vegas Chinatown is small but fierce.
Local Korean food has mostly struggled to compete with the stuff in LA, but that’s starting to change, thanks to recent arrivals like Hobak. A popular name in South Korea, the Hobak family owns 12 restaurants and manages six different brands in Korea—and for its first venture into the American market, the company surprisingly picked Las Vegas.
The menu focuses on humanely raised heritage pork and 21-day-wet-aged Angus beef, served family-style or a la carte with plenty of banchan—side dishes like napa cabbage kimchi, gamjajeon (potato pancake), dongchimi (radish kimchi) and bok choy—to pair with the assorted meats throughout the meal. Like all Korean barbecue spots, everything is eaten communally, and there’s no wrong way to do it—try each side alone, with rice or with your ’cue to experiment with your palate.
Hobak really shines with its meat selections, all of which are cooked at your table on a charcoal grill. Order a la carte or choose a combo—beef ($57.99-$94.99), pork ($47.99-$82.99) or a mix of both with the family combo ($59-$89), which has three different varieties—one with no marinated meat, one with all marinated meat, and one with half and half. The spicy Angus boneless short rib ($29.99) is especially tender, smoky and sweet with a slow-burning heat that’s perfect with the briny assortment of banchan. Another plus? Hobak’s attentive staff cooks everything for you, so you don’t have to guess when your food is ready.
Hobak gives as much attention to quality as it does to creating a fun and lively experience. Whether you’re dining with family, friends or a date, it’s bound to leave a lasting impression—one that could give those LA joints a run for their money.
Hobak Korean Bbq 5808 Spring Mountain Road #101, 702-257-1526. Daily, 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m.