by Courtney Dabney
|Bulgogi at Korea House BBQ is available in beef, chicken or pork. If you like it spicy, they can add heat to any order..|
You love the flavor of Japanese food, and you’ve even developed a taste for Thai, but have you ever tried Korean food? Not likely. Because in our area, it is a rare treat. That is why I have been looking forward to trying Korea House BBQ on Bryant Irvin Road, just around the corner from Szechuan Chinese and the new Spec’s Superstore.
Owner Julie Hunter is introducing this little-known cuisine to Fort Worth. When you step into the restaurant, you instantly find yourself in an authentic Korean restaurant like you would find anywhere in Seoul. A television in the background is tuned in to a Tae Kwon Do tournament. The casual interior is lightly decorated with Korean mementos, posters and festive wall hangings. The space is separated with wicker screening and painted a soothing pale green.
Some of the tables have authentic inset grills so you can cook your own barbecue. Each table is presented with a typical plastic box of cutlery to choose from as well, including stainless steel chopsticks.
For a starter, we tried the Pajeon, which is the Korean equivalent of Japanese Okonomiyaki. The savory pancake was more than enough to share. It was filled with tender and plentiful purple squid tentacles and had a crispy edge, fresh from the pan. It was served with a vinegar-based sauce for dipping.
The most fascinating part of any meal here is the array of side dishes that accompany it. These condiments change, and the variety is awesome. At first glance, a tossed salad looked terrifying with tons of red pepper in the dressing. It was much milder than expected, and the dressing is the owner’s recipe. It was simply amazing with a strong flavor of sesame oil. In fact, sesame oil and red pepper are some of the tell-tale flavors that distinguish Korean food. Fermented dishes are also common in Korean cuisine. Other condiments included: traditional cabbage-based kim chi, fermented crunchy bean sprouts, cucumbers, and radishes, along with mild fish cakes and my personal favorite, a dried squid dish with an amazing velvety texture and surprising sweetness.
The soup dishes looked great, and the casserole dishes are not your standard fare with ingredients like beef intestine, goat meat, and pork back bone, for the more adventurous Western palates. We went for two classic Korean BBQ staples: first, the LA Galbi ($15.95) which are grilled beef short ribs. They are seasoned with light sesame oil and pack plenty of fat for flavor, with a distinct sweetness from the glaze. Julie assured me that the pricier cuts of Galbi, which are served at the self-cooking tables, are even more flavorful. I plan to go back soon to try them out.
The Bulgogi is available in beef, chicken or pork. On this visit, we sampled the Pork Bulgogi ($14.95) and were very impressed. The reddish hue had us tearing up in anticipation, but it was really mild. If you are in the mood for spice, they would be happy to turn up the heat on any order, just ask. The texture was melt-in-your-mouth tender, and we couldn’t get enough.
The lunch menu is also very affordably priced, and the service is quick. So the next time you are tempted to drive through Chick-Fil-A (once again), remember that just across the street, interesting flavors and culinary adventures await at Korea House BBQ.
Located at: 4750 Bryant Irvin Road #842
For reservations call: 817.370.0685
Open: 7 days a week 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.