Goong Korean BBQ
Banchan – Fish Cakes, Kimchee, Jalapeno Radish Soup, Vegetable Cakes, Spicy Eggplant, Potato Salad, Simple Salad, Soy Noodles, Pickled Vegetables, Soy, Salt, etc.
Chadolbagi – Thinly Sliced Prime Brisket
Galbi – Marinated Prime Short Rib
Hangjeongsal – Pork Jowl
Jaengban Guksu – Cold Buckwheat Noodles with Vegetables and Hardboiled Egg
Dolsot Bibimbap – White Rice, Stir-fried Vegetables, Marinated Beef, Fried Egg, Spicy Sauce
Tteok Manduguk – Soup with Rice Cakes and Dumplings in Beef Stock
Not one for all-you-can-eat restaurants, especially the sort where “cooking your own food” is considered the norm, it was with hopes of dispelling such misconceptions that a seat was taken at Goong Korean BBQ on South Rainbow, two friends with far more experience at such places providing great conversation and a whole lot of education during the meal’s nearly-two hour span.
Considered to be one of the city’s more authentic experiences, shoes removed and decorative-pads provided for seating at one of several gas-fired grilltops, those arriving at Goong during lunch hours are likely to be struck by the tranquility of a space devoid of televisions or elaborate decorations, the clean lines complimented by a light soundtrack as servers provide menus and beverages while speaking in hushed tones.
Offering several lunch specials alongside the dinner menu, a la carte Meats as well as party-sized Combos offered alongside a variety of Soups and Rice plates, it was with both Korean and English descriptions that choices spread across several pages, the ordering deferred to others with some input as to a Rice Cake Soup and Pork Jowls that sounded particularly interesting.
Partially familiar with the format, a plethora of small bowls and plates quickly flooding the table prior to the first Meat selection, it was with small bites tasted of each Banchan that the palate was prepared for the flavors to follow, the Fish Cakes and Spicy Eggplant particularly memorable as makeshift appetizers while choices like the pickled Daikon, Onions and Soy Noodles were better utilized with the Proteins, or at least as palate cleansers between bites.
Turning focus now to the grill, a total of three Meats ordered with a second helping of Galbi proving far superior to the sinewy first round, those making their first visit to Goong would be well advised to order at least one plate of the thinly-sliced Chadolbagi that cooks through in under two-minutes as well as a Pork plate, the glass cases in back proudly displaying the sort of quality worth paying for as each is sliced to order in a nothing-to-hide way.
Not one for really hot stuff, even Goong’s Kimchee a bit too heated if not taken with some rice, additional plates tasted included the Cold Buckwheat Noodle Salad served with Soy and lava-red Sauce as well as the comforting Dolsot Bibimbap, a large bowl of Tteok Manduguk presented last with Salt and Pepper by a server who all but admitted gauging his table’s “whiteness” even though the overstuffed Dumplings in Beef Stock were already savory enough.
THREE AND A HALF STARS: An enjoyable meal as much for the company as for the food, Goong Korean BBQ proved a nice introduction to a new genre, though the service did feel slightly judgmental throughout the course of the afternoon while prices trend higher than would be anticipated for several of the dinner Rice Bowls, Soups and Casseroles. Also, Mochi is not dessert…
RECCOMMENDED: Chadolbagi, Dolsot Bibimbap, Tteok Manduguk, Fish Cakes, Spicy Eggplant.
AVOID: Galbi is so heavily marinated that it loses its “beefiness.” The Soba Noodles, also, just feel like filler.
TIP: Several lunch-only deals are offered for those dining on a budget. Check Social Media for menus as there is no website.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.