>> Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong | Eat the World Los Angeles

Tuesday 1 January 2019

Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong


EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (06 December 2023) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:
Unless you are Korean, you probably do not know Kang Ho-dong, a comedian and entertainer who graces the name of this barbecue restaurant, a popular chain in Korea. His chubby face is caricatured in many cartoon banners, the menu, and eating instructions. From all of this, he seems to be a joyful guy. And why not, this my friends, is Korean BBQ heaven and you have no right not to be happy here.

Now with six area locations (there are also two in New York City), Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong in Irvine definitely hit the ground running. The place was packed on the night this group of four showed up, a 15 minute wait required. The interior is very stylish and modern, and has all the latest barbecue and exhaust equipment, it is a marvel of efficiency and comfort.

The action in Flushing, Queens.

When you sit down, the table is already prepared with items that come free with any meal. The fire is covered and surrounded by a small bit of kimchi, some peppers, sprouts, and a half circle of egg which will slowly cook during the rounds of barbecue. A plastic container of tea is hot and ready.

One beautiful and delicious element, and not to mention bottomless, was the baek jeong veggie salad (below), which had a red pepper paste that should be mixed well with the rest. Bites of this with the meat of each course are really layered and full of different textures. Go even further by mixing this with the "secret" house sauce that each person is given.

They bring out all the meat you have ordered at once, so in the beginning you have quite a showcase of what is to come. The staff here will cook everything, so don't be intimidated by not knowing what to do.

Unable to decide between beef and pork, a small portion of both was ordered, each of which is supposedly good for two people. By the end, the math checked out, and the portions for four were quite adequate.

Not knowing whether the order that each round was cooked in was intentional or preferred, most of the small beef combo with small boneless short rib ($54.99) was served before the pork cuts.

Each combo has the choice of kimchi stew (above) and brisket soybean stew (below), so naturally one of each arrived with two orders. These are enjoyed separately from the meats whenever you choose, and both are a delight. If possible, just coming for a bowl of these with rice could make a diner happy.

The baek jeong veggie salad mixed together and ready for meat

As more beef and pork rounds were grilled on different surfaces, the staff will seamlessly change the tops and bring clean ones as necessary. Each meat requires a different temperature and cutting at just the right times. If any mistakes were made, we would not know.

The place erupted in birthday parties at one point in the evening. Lights were flashed and songs were sang. Three tables were brought unique cakes and the staff surrounded them with clapping and songs. At around this time, the server informed the table that the egg was ready to eat, and the perfectly steamed arch of yellow was attacked.

The quality of the meats in each order are impressive. Every cut seemed to be choice and in its prime. The restaurant is not cheap, but the price is very fair for what you are getting here and the attention to detail that it comes with. A lot of times you can feel a little put off by the competent briskness of a Korean waitstaff, but here the lady who was thoroughly amazing each time she came to the table to tinker with the grill.

Pork, baek jeong salad, and secret house sauce dripping off

The last round of prime boneless short rib (above) seemed to be the biggest hit on the table, and was the perfect end to a meal with no shortcomings. Its marinade was so sweet that it almost left the impression of dessert.

The mural in Flushing, Queens.

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IRVINE Orange County
14160 Culver Drive

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