A friend is leaving the US for other pastures.
He’s a KBBQ fiend and has organized frequent group meals at KBBQ restaurants over the years. However, to maximize accessibility, he has always chosen AYCE options.
We’re looking to celebrate our friend before he leaves and would like to up our game.
We need a reservable restaurant. We also have a number of vegetarians (irony is not lost on me). And, we need to keep the cost under $100/PP without everyone worrying if we are spending too much. I want everyone to have fun without thinking of the bill too often.
I feel like both Parks and Gwang Yang would fit this bill perfectly, but I need some confirmation from those of you who have been more recently than me.
Agree with NS1 that you need to stay away from wagyu at Parks, and with tailbacku that Parks is a better choice especially for the vegetarians. Apart from their lavish banchan which includes many vegetarian choices they have vegetable jeons (pancakes) and I believe their soondobu is vegetarian as well. Plus they offer grilled vegetables - although being a vegetarian at Parks would definitely be torture.
I think I can, without being overly gauche, let people know that we will avoid the wagyu menu.
So we do that (and assuming that most are average eaters that don’t know what an FTC-approved bang-bang is and if they did wouldn’t get down with one), and we should be under the $100 without many worries at either Gwang Yang or Park’s. Is that an accurate statement?
The only ‘premium’ soju is Andong soju and as far as I know it’s not available here. It’s much higher proof, and doesn’t taste like watered-down nail polish remover. Maybe they have some in back at Park’s. Anyone have experience with this?
You could step up your game byob’ing Japanese imo-shochu’s but then you best be prepared to explain why Dokdo doesn’t belong to Korea. I have imo shochu with Korean food a lot - but only within the safe confines of my own kitchen.
If you’re bored with soju you can always order maekkoli - god help you the next morning.
Great blurb about maekkoli in “Koreatown, A Cookbook”. Highly recommended resource, @Nemroz you will love it. Read an article in one of the cooking magazines recently echoing @mrgreenbeenz information. I like soju, but I am new to it. On my first visit to Parks we were lucky enough to have the emo wait on us personally (pity I think - we were all newbies). When I tried to order the expensive soju she waved me off and said it was the same as the standard stuff in a fancier bottle and priced higher. It was a lovely meal.
I’m not sure about the big red wines with KBBQ thing. Big generally means lush cabs oaky with tannins, which would clash with the sweetness of the meat marinade and spiciness of banchan like kimchi. Better to try low-tannin lighter reds like gamay/Beaujolais or typical Mourvèdre, or Zinfandel, Grenache/southern Rhône varietals, etc. Best is probably champagne and Riesling, tho.
One word of caution: if they’re truly vegetarian, even dishes like doen jang jjigae and kimchi jeon likely won’t be appropriate since most kimchi and doen jang jjigae includes seafood (e.g., baby shrimp and/or fish sauce for kimchi, anchovy broth and shellfish for the jjigae). Unless it’s Buddhist temple cuisine, it’s hard to find truly vegetarian Korean food. Pescatarian would be much easier