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Korean BBQ anyone?


jschyun
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Yeah, it was pretty fun, and the service was better than I normally get. Our waitress actually had a decent English vocabulary, compared to the other waitresses. I was kind of shocked. She must be a student or something.

I kind of wish we could have gotten seats together, but I guess with such a large group, it was not possible. (Note to self: make sure we get a place with large tables next time we have Korean BBQ.)

I have to say, the company, as usual, was a main highlight of my evening.

Next stop: The Thai Parade

Hey, if you want help, er, sampling some more Thai stuff in L.A., let me know. I'd be happy to try out some places for you guys. It's been a while since I had decent Thai food. As I have mentioned before, there is no Thai food worth eating, in Orange County. I would love to have someone prove me wrong, but thus far, no winners.

--FoodZealot: sorry about not ordering galbi and pork, as I said I would. There was a mixup in the ordering and I thought we were going to get it as well as the group order of beef. Next time, there will be no mixup.

Edited by jschyun (log)

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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Man I am bummed I had to miss it (work christmas party that night) it sounds like you guys really had a blast. Joan, found any places we can go in the south bay yet?...There are some little hole in the wall places on Western in Gardena near my house...Maybe we should just ambush one of them and go in cold....

Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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Oh no, by the time we go to Korean bbq in the South Bay, I will be well prepared with the best ones I can find. I don't do things cold. It's not my style.

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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Yes, definitely fun. The company was great. It was my first Korean BBQ, and while I can't see it as something I would do on a regular basis, definitely something to have occasionally.

In terms of the food, the meat was very good. I like my kimchi spicy, and it wasn't nearly spicy enough. I thought the seaweed salad was pretty slimy, i like mine a little crisper.

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The highlight was definitely the company :smile:. The beef was indeed quite beefy and very good. I think we were all amazed when the bill came - it seemed way too low for so much food!

Can't wait to do the next restaurant foray, though I'm really waiting for the pot luck :cool:.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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I would say that Shik Do Rak's panchan is definitely their weakest link. mongo_jones thought they were really good, but I would disagree. They only have about 5 dishes and they never change them. However, they do have the fish cake which is one of my faves.

I'm going to someplace in L.A. tonight, Korean BBQ. Don't know where, but it should be fun to compare.

Next time, even if there are only a few people, we'll do BBQ in L.A.

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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Ok, I'll do this in two parts to split up the pictures a bit. I squashed down the files to be a bit smaller than usual so we could have more of them overall. As usual, please correct any misspellings, misidentifications, descriptions, etc.

The requisite group shot: L - R, F - B - 1st row: FoodZealot, tejon's husband Dan. 2nd row, jschyun's Mom, jschyun, tejon. 3rd row, jschyun's Dad, ErinB, grandcru, jschyun's BF Mike, Maison Rustique and husband Don.

group.jpg

Here is the dining room from the rear entrance looking toward Garden Grove Blvd. Note the elaborate hood and fire control system above each table:

diningroom.jpg

Mr & Mrs Chyun were gracious enough to order for the entire party. The food begins with a barrage of panchan dishes - daikon kim chee:

radishkc.jpg

Napa cabbage kim chee flavored with oysters:

oysterkc.jpg

Seaweed salad:

seaweed.jpg

Strips of fishcake with a light dressing:

fishcake.jpg

Mung bean (?) sprout salad:

sprouts.jpg

Takuan - thinly sliced pickled daikon

takuan.jpg

more to come...

Edited by FoodZealot (log)
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[i thought these posts would end up on separate pages of the thread, but they're not. My apologies for the slow load.]

...Also destined for the griddle, a mix of oyster mushrooms, button mushrooms, onions and green onions:

shrooms.jpg

The Main Event - shaved Angus beef (strip steak?) and boneless shortrib loin (barely visible, bottom) and hidden beneath, 1/4" thick ribeye steaks. There's also a single plank of potato, also to be cooked along with everything else.

beef.jpg

Each table of six has a gas fired griddle in the middle of it where the magic happens.

cooking.jpg

I missed taking a shot of the fresh rice noodle wrappers, about 3" x 3" and thin - roughly the size of wonton wrappers, but ready to eat. Then each person peels those off the stack, and continuously assembles their own mouthfuls with the sizzling hot meat, panchan of their choice, some chili paste, sesame oil/salt, and the greens mix, which contains lettuces, shredded green onion, sesame seed, and a little red cabbage. All the panchan and wrappers are refilled on the table as needed.

salad.jpg

After cooking through most of the shaved Angus beef, they changed out the griddle for a fresh one (?!?), and we started in on the boneless shortrib loin and ribeye steak - cut into chunks with cheap scissors at the table. The shortrib loin pieces are darker red, in the foreground, and the ribeye pieces are more marbled looking, further back.

cooking2.jpg

I also missed taking a shot of the soup that came out near the end - it's made with a miso-like bean paste, tidbits of beef, chili (naturally), and small dice of daikon. It's the only black bowl in the middle of the carnage we left behind. I'd hate to be the dishwasher here! Also notable is the bottle of soju which I think was included for each table of six.

carnage.jpg

All in all, a fine meal. It was a different style of Korean BBQ than I've had before, but I didn't even miss the pork or galbi! Many thanks to jschyun for so diligently doing the research and bringing the 'rents for their expertise and company. And on top of all that, how many restaurants have a full sized water feature inside??!

waterfall.jpg

~Tad

Edited by FoodZealot (log)
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As usual, wonderful pictures and commentary, Tad! And many thanks to Joanne and her parents for helping us all navigate Korean BBQ properly.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Wow, those pictures look better than the actual food did!

They also have a playroom for little kids, one of the few Korean BBQ places that do. I always thought that waterfall was tacky, but your pic makes it look...kinda cool.

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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Okay, now that I've had a couple of days to think about it:

First off, eG is pretty freakin' cool. I never would have known that there's such a large Korean community in Garden Grove. And of course, I enthusiastically support more Korean BBQ visits, wherever they happen to be.

Thanks to everyone for letting me take pictures before diving in!

jschyun, you're right, the waterfall is tacky, but I think it's brilliant in its tackyness. Sorta like karaoke. [grin]

Bisou and any lurkers out there, compared to jschyun and grandcru, the rest of us were pretty new to Korean BBQ also, so don't let that stop you.

As far as the meal itself, all IMHO, from the panchan, I liked the napa kim chee with oyster flavor (not very spicy, as ErinB said, but I liked the overall flavor), the bean sprouts (and I'm not usually a fan of sprouts) and the fish cake. The daikon kim chee and the thin daikon were okay, but seemed too sweet for my taste. The dressing or whatever on the seaweed was a bit slimy and going toward that rubbery, heavy crunch.

I liked the process with the noodle wraps, but I often felt like I was rushing to keep up with the food, and I wasn't even cooking very much. ErinB, tejon and Maison Rustique did the bulk of the cooking at our table - thank you! I also found that managing the table space with all those tiny dishes was a bit too much work for me.

I was surprised and a little disappointed that they switched out the griddle/grill thing during the meal. Seemed to me like nothing was burning, the meat was getting nicely browned, and all the veggies were cooking in the beef fat, etc. It would make sense if we were switching from pork to beef or something along those lines. Anyone know why this is done?

The style of this restaurant seems to be geared very specifically to the BEEF flavor - and while I can appreciate and enjoy it once in a while, I tend to like big flavors, smoke and caramelization, so I think I prefer the type of Korean BBQ where the meat has been marinated, then grilled over real charcoal.

~Tad

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The reason why the waitress changed out the grills was because she didn't want things to burn. I think we had more of a problem burning things than you guys did.

Well, I have to say I like the premarinated galbi and pork better than the plain grilled meat too. I could kick myself for not making sure that was still on the order.

Next time, we won't just do regular grilled meat, we should do some of the marinated stuff too.

--I guess this is going to go down as one of our less successful trips.

Edited by jschyun (log)

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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The reason why the waitress changed out the grills was because she didn't want things to burn.  I think we had more of a problem burning things than you guys did.

Well, I have to say I like the premarinated galbi and pork better than the plain grilled meat too.  I could kick myself for not making sure that was still on the order. 

Next time, we won't just do regular grilled meat, we should do some of the marinated stuff too.

--I guess this is going to go down as one of our less successful trips.

Aha! Our table's griddle/grill must have been set to a lower temperature. That makes sense.

I disagree, I think it was a successful excursion. [grin] Despite any comments above, I had a great time and I think SDR is a very good restaurant. I would definitely go back there for another try. And a great value, too. It's more of a style preference on my part.

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Well, that's awesome and I'm glad. Hopefully people will be able to make it to L.A next time, because I'm going to lobby hard for an L.A. restaurant. Despite mongo_jones' attack on Chosun, it's actually a very good restaurant. In fact, I would rank it higher than Shik Do Rak for better panchan and service. However, I think they have tried to make meats blander, to accommodate American tastes. I'll have to go there again to be sure. They have good kimchi.

but korean food isn't all bbq and kimchi...

I'm also a big fan of YongSuSan, a "Kaesong" style restaurant. It's a change of pace from the usual soft tofu, noodle and bbq restaurant. It's a little precious and expensive, but I still like it. It reminds me of some of the food I had in Seoul, in that it's less heavy on the garlic and hot pepper, and more on the lighter, sophisticated side. I like their bosam kimchi and their delicate version of ttuk guk (rice cake soup) is my favorite. I tried to get my mom to make it but it didn't turn out like theirs. Yongsusan is the only restaurant of its kind in the United States that I am aware of.

There's a Korean teashop called Hwa Sun Ji, that serves all sorts of Korean teas and snacks. You can make reservations for the hour long tea ceremony, where they show you how to pour, steep, and drink the tea, ancient korean style. It's almost like you're in a Korean museum, but there's food. I think this would be really fun if we had time. It's definitely an experience.

Then there's Ma Dang Gook Soo, which is basically a small noodle place where you can get noodles in soy milk. You can probably make it at home, but why bother?

People seem to think that Korean food is all about garlic, onions and hot pepper, but it just ain't so. In fact, some of it is quite bland, er, delicate. It makes sense that the NY Times chose to write about L.A. Korean restaurants instead of their own. I think it would be awesome if we got to explore even a little of that range.

--edited to add links

Edited by jschyun (log)

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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  • 4 weeks later...
Despite mongo_jones' attack on Chosun, it's actually a very good restaurant. In fact, I would rank it higher than Shik Do Rak for better panchan and service. However, I think they have tried to make meats blander, to accommodate American tastes.

eh? i'm sorry if i came across as "attacking" chosun. i like it myself--and ironically my friends and i ended up eating there and not at the olympic shik do rak in december. as i recall i was only voicing a preference for shik do rak, on the grounds that i prefer its more communal hardcore-korean eating experience to chosun's more upscale, gentrified version.

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