Austin is worse than Manhattan for dinner on a Saturday night. No reservation? Two hour wait for you. Expected in the downtown and South Austin buzz restaurants, however due to what seems like an influx explosion, you can now expect it everywhere.
Fortunately we arrived at Chosun Galbi Korean BBQ before all the other buzz-restaurant-rejectees and slipped right into a cook-it-yourself table. There was a 45 minute wait when we left. Austin, geez.
Chosun in located adjacent to a strip center in free-standing building which might have been an Outback Steakhouse in a former life. There isn’t much else open for business at night around it, so the area is not exactly a destination. Inside is configured just like a Outback, cushy booths in a throwback, cafeteria-style configuration. Its pleasant and functional with a dash of style. Even at full capacity the noise levels are reasonable, the feeling is upbeat, the crowd is mostly families and groups of friends. This did not feel like a date place or a scene.
If you haven’t been to a Korean BBQ restaurant then you might not understand why there is an electric grill sunken in the middle of your table. Well, that’s so you can cook the meat yourself. I’ve only had the beef version of Korean BBQ but Chosun had chicken as well. One order is really enough for two but we got two orders; one chicken and one beef. Oh and a Green Onion Pancake, gots to have one.
Chicken, Beef BBQ : Some of the success is due to cooking it correctly, however most of the success is in the marinade; a delicious blend of salty and sweet. One server told me the secret is adding grated pear. I don’t know, sounds good to me, but the flavour is incredible and the meat is juicy even if you kinda leave it on the grill too long.
Green Onion Pancake: These are flour-based pancakes but the amount of veggies in the Chosun version reduced the role of the flour to adhesive. Crispy on the out and crunchy with green onion and bell peppers; chop off a piece and dip it into the soy-chili-vinegar sauce. Definitely a meal in itself despite being advertised as an app.
Also, again, just in case you have not eaten Korean before, each meal comes with a bajillion side dishes. No you didn’t order them, they are just part of the meal. I recognized kimchee but that was all. I liked all of them except one which tasted like candied herring. Yeah, pass.
Excellent. While my friend and I have both cooked our own Korean BBQ before, the servers here will sneak a pair of tongs in and flip your BBQ or move if off to the side if its getting too crispy. Frequent stops to see how you’re doing. Water refills are clandestine, which is good in case you are like me and overdo the Korean Hot Pepper Paste.
Each BBQ dish is about $30, keep in mind this is enough for two with a Green Onion Pancake, which is $10. Dinner for two is usually around $20 a person, without Sochu, which is evil and should be avoided. Or maybe just consumed in moderation. I’ll try that moderation thing next time.
Dinner: 5 April 2014
Cho Sun Gal Bi | 713 E. Huntland Dr. | Austin, TX 78752