Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tahoe Galbi: Korean Barbecue

Saturday we went to Santa Monica to celebrate Andrew's 22nd birthday. He wanted to go for some Korean barbeque and picked Tahoe Galbi, located at 3986 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles (213) 365-9000, in Koreatown.
Lexi, Marlin, Andrew and Judy

We knew that they had all you could eat, but had no clue how the restaurant worked. The waitress spoke little English and we informed her we were going to have the "all you can eat." I then asked her where the buffet was she just started to laugh at me. Her tip went down at that point. It would have been helpful to read up on Korean barbeque before-hand because the people at the restaurant were no help at all. They brought out a bunch of little dishes filled with various foods. We didn't know if we were to eat them separately, mix them together, or both. I have since learned that these are known as banchan. They were replenished during the meal as we used them. Toward the front left of the picture is kimchi, fermented cabbage seasoned with chili peppers and salt. I have had kimchi before that was overpowering, but this was pretty good. Toward the back, on the right, is kongnamul, which is soybean sprouts seasoned with sesame oil, soy sauce, minced garlic and chile powder. To the right of the kimchi, is broccoli and cauliflour in a spicy red sauce. Next row back, on the left, was something akin to potato salad, relatively bland, but good. To its right, a mild noodle dish. Back left, was a scallion pancake which was pretty good. Not shown is gyeran jjim, a steamed egg caserole, also served as banchan, which I was not particularly fond of. It was bland, so I reserved my stomach space for more exciting food.

It was not until they brought out the meat and fired up the grill in the middle of the table that I realized they were going to bring everything to our table. First they started with brisket. It was my least favorite of the three types of meat they brought us. It was very thin and was not marinated.

The marinated chicken, or dahk galbi, below front, was very good. It was marinated in teryaki sauce, or something similar, and was very good without adding to it. Behind, underneath some brisket, is pork belly, or samgyeopsal. It was thicker, and although not marinated, was fatty and tasted real good when seasoned.

Below, cooking brisket which is almost ready to eat.

Finally, not knowing what to do with all of the condiments, I put them altogether in a dish and ate it like a mixed salad. In reading about it, the lettuce which we were given, is typically put together with some spicy paste, then wrapped around some meat.

In looking at Korean barbeque, and at the Tahoe Galbi website, I see that they have other types of meat, such as marinated rib meat, known as galbi. Some of the more marinated meats look really good. We are going to have to read up more on Korean barbeque and go back. Ideally, it would be nice to go with someone that speaks Korean.

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