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.