For those who may not be familiar with key elements of Ombu Grill, such as the story behind our name and the food we serve, we wanted to publish an Ombu Glossary. Here are some interesting tidbits that help tie everything together, providing a bit of a story behind who we are, and why we do what we do.
The Ombu Tree
The ombu tree is a large evergreen tree that originates from South America. As an important part of Argentinian culture, it was deliberately chosen to be part of our restaurant. It is a strong, tough tree that can survive storms, hurricanes and even wildfires – the tissue of the trunk is designed for storing water, and is made of up to 80% water. The sap of the ombu tree is poisonous, meaning that locusts, pests and bugs steer clear of it. These factors, combined with the vast canopy and large bed of roots, makes the tree a perfect place to provide shelter from both sun and rain in a common gathering place. Natives of the regions in which it is found would come to the ombu tree for reprieve, which is why it is hailed as the “lighthouse” of the Pampas area of South America. While we cannot quite bring a live ombu tree into our restaurant, our plant wall is inspired by the leafy vegetation of this tree.
The Ombu Grill Vision
At Ombu, we wanted to create a place of gathering similar to the attributes of the ombu tree. Like the tree after which it is named, our restaurant is free from distracting or pesky elements. We strive to create a simultaneously relaxing and upscale environment, where all can gather under our roof to share a meal. As we previously wrote about, the ideas for the cuisine draw from a family with cultural ties to both Argentinian and Korean heritage. In a neighborhood of Los Angeles where both Korean and Spanish are both frequented languages, it only made sense to combine these backgrounds into Ombu Grill. When you examine the parallels between the cuisine from both areas, the vision becomes even clearer.
Both Argentinian and Korean cuisine emphasize grilled meats. In each culture, it is not uncommon to sit down to a meat-centric meal, where several different parts of the animal are cooked and eaten alongside salads and sauces. Asado in Argentinian not only refers to a cut of steak, but it is the social experience of gathering for a barbecue, cooked on an open fire or parrilla. Korean barbecue of course is much the same. For us, it only made sense to combine these two dining traditions into Ombu Grill. Just come take a peek at our menu to see how the flavors mingle and interact. Although, we recommend beyond this, you come in and experience for yourself where Korean barbecue meets Argentinian asado at Ombu Grill.