Lying on a fairly empty stretch of Olympic in Koreatown is an only-in-LA rarity, a northern Chinese skewer house aimed at a Korean clientele. Feng Mao looks like any other Korean restaurant with table-top charcoal grills, fairly typical panchan and a TV tuned to the Korean language channel, but open the menu and you enter a worm hole which brings you to the northern plains of China.
Skewered meats are the specialty here, and pretty much any meat can end up on the skewer, including lamb, beef and plenty of innards; a cumin-heavy spice mix is provided as the condiment for the skewers. The skewers are cooked on the stove top and, as with the real charcoal BBQ houses, will leave you feeling (and smelling) a bit smoky after the meal.
As the cuisine hails from the mostly Muslim areas of China, lamb is the first thing listed, and something to definitely get. The basic order is ten skewers. Small lamb cubes are separated by chunks of pure fat. Eat the two together and it's the perfect mouthful of lean mean and juicy fat. Beef skewers were also excellent and a bit less dry than the lamb. If you like chicken hearts, you should get an order as they crisp up nicely over the coals and give you a good juicy pop when you bite into them.
Most reviewers have been excited by the bull penis, but other than the chance to have an Andrew Zimmern moment and/or make a series of juvenile jokes, I don't see any good reason to order it. It's thinly sliced, width-wise and is mostly cartilage, so while it has a bit of a nice crunch, there's not too much flavor.
There are lots of other enticing skewers on the map, including various liver and kidneys for which I will definitely want to return, not to mention the chance to taste fake dog meat, if that's something you've been dying to do.
We also ordered dumplings and pork buns, both of which were good. I especially liked the buns, sort of a hybrid between Chinese pan-fired buns and Korean mandoo. Scallion pancakes were fairly standard. In the end, though, this place is really about the skewers.
Feng Mao is one of Koreatown's more unique eateries, so go, skewer and be happy.
3901 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019