Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Korean BBQ in Charlottesville

I haven't ventured to Bamboo House or the other Korean restaurants in town yet, but I did pick up an astoundingly good batch of Korean barbecue at a most unlikely place: a booth selling grass-fed beef at the City Market Saturday before last. Not only were the thin slices of beef so tender that they practically melted in our mouths, but the seasonings were exquisite. We ate the meat so quickly that we forgot the little container of hot sauce (a sweet-hot kind of bean paste) that came with it.

I bring up Korean barbecue not because I have any expertise in judging a good batch from bad, but from noticing that Korean-influenced cuisine is on the rise in the United States. According to today's National Restaurant News, Charley's Grilled Subs, an Ohio-based chain of about 300 eateries that has mainly featured Philly-style cheese steaks, has added a Korean-inspired Spicy Asian BBQ sub to its lineup. That's pretty mainstream America, folks. (The closest Charley's to Charlottesville is in Fort Lee, by the way.)

And add these developments to the equation:
  • The Kogi BBQ to Go chain of taco trucks have become something of a sensation in Los Angeles.
  • New York-based Korean-American chef and restaurateur David Chang won last year’s James Beard Foundation Award for best chef in New York, and his fine-dining restaurant Momofuku Ko won this year’s Beard Award for the country’s best new restaurant.
  • Corey Lee, chef de cuisine of The French Laundry in Napa Valley, is stepping out (finally!) from the shadow of Thomas Keller. Lee, who also is Korean-American, plans to open a Korean-influenced fine-dining restaurant in San Francisco, according to NRN.


  1. it's about time! korean bbq is awesome. i'll have to keep a better eye out the next time i'm at the farmer's market.

  2. I should mention that the meat was raw but marinated. We cooked it at home on the grill, but I think it would work better in a cast-iron skillet.