The Healthy Broiler wants to educate us: The menu explains that kimchi is a spicy Korean salad of cabbage (well, it's more like sauerkraut) laced with shrimp, anchovies, red pepper, ginger and garlic.
It also promotes health ("a healthy mind in a healthy body," reads a sign); the chef uses no MSG, lard or oil. Amazingly, the flavor of his dishes does not suffer.
This is a bright, upbeat cafe with a white tile floor and chairs upholstered in green. The hanging lanterns are cleverly fashioned from gourds; a huge, gilded folding fan is spread out on a rear wall.
The menu is small, mostly dishes based on barbecued beef or chicken. You might want to start with the chicken salad, which turns out to be . . . chicken on salad.
It's just tender barbecued chicken, chopped up, set on a bed of crisp iceberg lettuce and dressed with dark, pungent teriyaki sauce.
Another way to go is bibim bap, a well-balanced, soul-satisfying rice bowl. Picture little heaps of ingredients, mostly julienned, arranged on a mound of rice like the toppings of a Cobb salad.
In this case, the components happen to be boiled spinach, raw carrots, pickled radish, a fried egg (sunny side up), minced grilled beef and some laver seaweed. The idea is to mix everything up with the rice, adding a spoonful or two of spicy red bean paste. It makes a great early lunch dish.
Beef gets top billing here, so you won't be disappointed if you order one of the beef dishes. The star is barbecued short ribs (galbi), still on the bone. The chef cooks these razor-thin slices perfectly medium rare, the centers still juicy and red. My guess is that his marinade uses lots of garlic, a little sugar and a fair bit of ginger; it's so flavorful you definitely don't miss the traditional sesame oil.
The other favorite Korean barbecued beef dish is bulgogi, steak so chopped up it looks almost like hash when it comes to the table. This meat is perhaps more garlicky and tender than the ribs, but not nearly as flavorsome. Both dishes come with vegetable side dishes, steamed rice and kimchi.
That is also true for the marinated beef or chicken kebabs: tender, slightly sugary chunks of meat blackened around the edges, which are served sizzling on long, wooden skewers.
And, if you didn't know what kimchi was before dining here, you'll surely know when you leave.
The Healthy Broiler, 11935 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. Open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. No alcohol. Parking in lot. MasterCard and Visa. Lunch for two, $12-$19. Suggested dishes: bibim bap, $5.25; galbi, $5.95; beef kebab, $5.29; chicken salad, $3.99. Call (818) 769-3333.