A few days ago I experienced a new style of restaurant at Seoul Q in St. Louis: Korean BBQ.
The concept of Korean BBQ is that you cook your food on a grill built into the table. I’ve experienced something like this (yakiniku) in Japan, but there were some big differences. The yakiniku I ate was cooked on a solid, flat pan, and pretty much the entire meal consisted of eating meat (I have no recollection of vegetables being involved–I ate very differently back then!)
Korean BBQ–at least at Seoul Q–was cooked on an open-flame gas grill, and around the rim of the grill were places for vegetables and even eggs. A number of side plates accompanied the meal to bring in a variety of flavors and textures:
One of my favorite things about the meal was how fast the food arrived at the table. The kitchen didn’t need to cook anything other than the korokke, so within 1 minute of placing our order, we had food on the table. After that it was a constant flow of food.
We ordered two main courses to put on the grill: tofu with vegetables and a mix of pork shoulder and pork belly. It was just me and a friend, and we realized that we had ordered way too much food–good thing leftovers are my favorite!
I already knew that I love Korean spices, so the flavor profiles were really delicious. It was interesting contrasting raw and cooked kimchi, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the cheesy corn. I usually don’t like corn, but it was delicious.
Also, I was a server at two restaurants many years ago, and my full-time job now is 70% customer service, so I’m always very aware of good or bad service. The service at Seoul Q was excellent. This style of dining requires a lot of extra attention from the server to make sure the food is cooked properly, and the complementary staff were also a big help at refilling dishes, water, etc. I was really impressed.
Have you ever tried a restaurant like this? What did you think?
Also, quick side note: Why are so many restaurants closed on Mondays? I tried to order a pizza for lunch today, and 3 of my favorite pizzerias in St. Louis were all closed. Is there a general rule that restaurants don’t do well on Mondays?