Dining at Denver’s Korea House BBQ restaurant

Erin, our friend Joe Nguyen and I dined the other night at Korea House, a popular restaurant in Denver (actually, Aurora, the eastern suburb, where the Korean community is concentrated). The dinner was part of an arrangement by Korea House to advertise in Asian Avenue Magazine, and we were there to write a preview of the eatery.

We had the full spread of Korean barbecue — Bulgogi (marinated sliced beef), Calbi (marinated beef shirt rubs, cut off the bone) and Spicy Chicken — as well as some Soon Doobu (seafood tofu stew) and Bibimbab (meat and vegetables served with spicy sauce over rice). The food was good (I’ll post a link to the advertorial when it’s up) and the experience was fun.

If you’ve never experienced Korean barbecue, it’s as a popular in Korea as teppan-yaki, or table grilling a la Benihana is in Japan. (More on Benihana in a separate post.).

The dining table has a gas grill in the center that must be a royal pain to clean every night, and certain meals are served raw and cooked right there. The server usually starts off the grilling by wiping half a raw onion on the hot surface and then using tongs to place the first meat on the grill. A fan sucks the smoke immediately from the grill down and out. The diners manage the rest of the cooking themselves, and it’s a nice, interactive and very social way of eating. You can have beef, pork, seafood or chicken (the chicken takes more time to cook).

Erin and I love Korean cuisine both for the things that are similar to Japanese food, and for the unique Korean elements, like all the terrific and interesting side dishes, or the sweet cold “tea” that’s served as a dessert (this meal’s tea was cinnamon and ginger-flavored, with several small pieces of dried persimmon at the bottom, a nice touch.

Korea House is unique from other Korean restaurants we’ve visited. They add a layer of charcoal to the gas grill at the table, which adds a nice subtle smokiness to the food. The restaurant gets its charcoal from a source in California.

For years, we’ve asked our Korean friends and even my sister-in-law in Colorado Springs if they have a favorite Korean restaurant, and without fail they all tend to denigrate local restaurants. But they have to go out sometimes — you can’t just cook at home forever. So with a bit of prompting people usually will admit they used to eat at Seoul BBQ (we loved that place too, but it shut down a while ago), or Silla (another place we’ve dined at).

They also mention Korea House. A Korean American co-worker of mine initially said there isn’t a great Korean restaurant in the area, but then added that his family goes out to Korea House and he likes it. When we were there, I noticed that most of the diners were Asian and I assume Korean, not Caucasian, so that’s always a good sign.

For our part, we enjoyed our night at Korea House. We’ll be back.

Anyway, I wanted to post the video I shot with my Flip. I’m still experimenting, and using a combination of its included software and my Quicktime Pro (one of the cheapest and easiest basic editing programs), and assembling clips into longer videos like this one. This one was done using QT.

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