Some great restaurants never change their menu, while others switch things up a lot. 8282, a place serving the Korean drinking food known as anju and banju, strikes a middle ground. This restaurant on the LES is constantly adding new menu items that make us excited to come back, while continuing to serve dishes like cheesy dakgalbi kimchi-bap that made us fall in love with them in the first place.
If the dakgalbi is the The Other Guys of 8282's menu (i.e., something we revisit with great joy), seasonal dishes like the yellowtail spring pea crudo are like the latest A24 horror film. The bright pea puree, combined with the thick-cut fish and bursts of lemon and yuzu, make us think, "What else do they have up their sleeves?"
Factor in the meaty mains that never leave the menu, and you've got a completely delicious lineup. Stars include the seared scallops over barley that's packed with truffle paste and a tender pork galbi that would be our ideal (if slightly unrealistic) post-workout meal. You get a ton of meat and a side of broccolini, and the whole thing comes smeared with slightly spicy ssamjang.
8282's small and cozy space is always full of couples chatting over the K-pop blasting through the speakers, and the bar is a great spot to post up for a refreshing gochujang margarita and some boneless Korean fried chicken. This restaurant doesn’t really work for groups, as there aren’t many tables for three or more people. But that’s OK because you’ll definitely be back—for the established hits and the ones that haven’t even made it on the menu yet.
Start your meal with one of these. The margarita is spicy from the gochujang, and it's the only thing we want to drink when we’re here.
Tuna Tartare + Kim Bukak
There are so many crunchy vehicles that get served with tuna tartare, but these puffed seaweed chips might be the best. This is one of the more substantial anju options, so you should definitely order this.
Every element of this dish works. The char is just right, the octopus is soft and tender, and the red pepper puree that’s swiped across the plate is the perfect sweet complement.
The colonel can suck a lemon. This fried chicken has shatteringly crunchy skin and gets tossed in a sticky garlic soy sauce. You could absolutely come here for an order of this and a gochujang margarita and leave plenty happy. Also, we think 8282 could probably steal the whole finger-licking good thing, but the lawsuits are definitely not worth it.
Perilla Oil Pasta
One of the rare misses on the menu. The perilla leaves add herbaceousness and bite, but the dish is missing some kind of spice or citrus. Skip it.
This crock of gochujang-marinated chicken and cheesy rice might just be the best thing here. It’s super filling and the perfect combo of spicy, cheesy, and rich. This is a must-order.
A lovely plate of seared scallops over some barley with black bean and truffle. All the flavors work well together, but we sometimes find ourselves gravitating toward the other banju, like the dakgalbi, pork galbi, or one of the specials they've added.
L.A. Iberico Pork Galbi
This pork is so tender you can cut it with a spoon. And we’re not just saying that because we have large muscles. The Iberico breed of pig, which is often used in Spanish and Portuguese cooking, is naturally tender, but here it gets a soy marinade before being grilled and topped with ssamjang. Add some roasted broccolini, and you have a great entree.
Injeolmi Ice Cream
Parmesan cheese and ice cream. OK, hear us out for a second. The shredded parmesan is mostly used for texture here, and the vanilla ice cream gets combined with the super nutty flavors of Korean sweet rice cakes. Most people we take here are skeptical of this dessert, but it’s the only way to end a meal at 8282.