April 19, 2009

A Legitimate Contender has Arrived...

...for Korean BBQ in the Diamond Bar area. So look out Ong Ga Nae! You better step your game up.

Having just gotten paid, I took my parents out to Bohn Ga, which had just opened up a while ago and boasted of serving traditional Korean food. It is supposed to be some kind of famous restaurant chain in Korea, which they make clear with their various framed newspaper clippings put up all around the joint.

They do it with charcoal here and not gas.

Like many Korean restaurants, there is a service button available for your convenience. For those unfamiliar with this contraption, you simply push the button when you want your waiter/waitress, and he/she will magically appear. While being a godsend to patrons, eliminating the sometimes difficult time people can have trying to flag down your server, I am guessing it is a sound most likely hated by the wait staff.

After placing our order, the waitress asked us if we wanted various leafy vegetable wraps (ssam) for $5. It's always nice to have this with your bbq, so we had to order it. A few minutes later, this came out.

Goddamn. None of us expected it to be this big. It came with dandelion greens, red leafed lettuce perilla leafs, celery, endive along with other random things that I can't remember. Yes, $5 is a bit pricey, especially with this kind of stuff usually being free, although I have started to hear of other places charging for this. Still, you have to admit this is a lot. Even though we managed to put a good dent in it, it was definitely way too big for 3 people.

A closeup of the vegetables. In the middle lay some hot hot peppers along with dashima.

Haemool ssam jang (a sort of seafood soybean/red pepper paste dip) was also offered for $3.50 and was slightly bubbling when it arrived at our table. Normally, I don't think we would order these kinds of things, but since it was the first time here, we decided why not. As for what kind of seafood went into this, I wasn't really sure besides clams. It was nice to dip in the vegetables, but I'd be fine w/ just regular ssam jang.

Soon after, the salad accompaniments for the meat came out:

A light salad of mostly romaine and red leaf lettuce tossed in a light sesame oil dressing.

Green onions thinly sliced into a salad along with some ground pepper (gochoo galu)

Grated horseradish kimcheed. I'm not really sure what the correct word for this is, but often times, it will be packed alongside cabbage when making kimchi. It had a nice sweet/spicy combo going on that I liked.

Some Korean style pickles bathing in a sweet vinegary broth that was cooled in some thin pieces of ice.

The banchan going left and clockwise: kimchee garlic shoots, squash with dried shrimp, and some sort of beendedduk (mung bean pancake). On the top right you can see some garlic grilling. You gotta have that garlic...so good.

Same rotation: kimchee, spinach w/ tofu, fish cakes.

There was one more thing I didn't get a shot of, which were some kind of shoots . Overall, the selection is kind of small, but if you take into account the different salads and the pickles, it was a good amount of stuff.

My dad ordered the Dolsot Bibimbap ($6.50). A variety of different veggies including squash, carrots, onions, sprouts topped with a sunny side up egg. He didn't like it too much, saying they used too much pepper, which overpowered the rest of the flavors.

Chadol Begi (Korean sliced brisket) $17.00. Thinly cut, you'd only have to put these on the grill for a few seconds before popping them in your mouth. Delicious.

Marinated galbi $27.00/order. The price is almost the same as ChoSun Galbi in Koreatown, which I think is more closer to $30, so I was expecting some damn good quality meat. The portion was small, as the meat came out, wrapped around two bones. The verdict? The meat was delicious and tender and did not disappoint, offering very little resistance when chewed. I only wished that we could have gotten more. Still, is it worth $27? It's hard to really put a price on these things by itself, but yes, it is better relative to most of your typical Korean BBQ joints.

The meats came w/ a special dipping sauce, which I didn't take a picture of. It was a red sauce, probably based on gochoojang, but there was so much ground pepper in it, it overwhelemed the rest of the flavors for me. I preferred just using the ssam jang.

Shikhye, Korean rice punch, was served as dessert. This is one of the few things I didn't like there. The flavor was off and had a very weird aftertaste.

The total damage? $76 including tip. While they do offer a bunch of dishes, such as galbi tang (beef short rib soup), bibimbap, nengmyung(cold/spicy buckwheat noodles), at very reasonable, prices ($6-7), the meat prices are at the other end of the price spectrum. Was it worth it? The meat was good and I'd come here again, but I wouldn't make a habit of it, simply because it's expensive. If you don't mind spending the cash, try it out, but if you're looking for quantity/your wallet is looking a little thin these days, I'd suggest going to an AYCE place instead.

Service was great and helpful, and they changed the grill a few times w/o us having to ask.

They also set up the kitchen so that you could see some of the chefs preparing the meat. It was strange for me to see men prepping the food. Even though this restaurant was opened up by a male chef in Korea, I don't think I've ever seen a guy cooking in a Korean restaurant kitchen until now.

Paik's Bohn Ga
22640 Golden Springs Dr
Diamond Bar, CA 91765

This is the bag containing all the leftovers from veggies we had gotten. While it was a large amount, I don't think I'd order this again unless I came with a larger group of people.

4 rah rah rahs:

shavedicesundays said...

Wow! That is a lot of veggies. Looks like a special place but it does sound pricey. Thanks for letting us know that it's in town.

Barefoot Plumies said...

Maybe because I'm so used to SD prices but $76 for 3 people seems pretty reasonable. We typically pay that for 2 people at Buga.

Sawyer said...

you know, I suppose it's not that expensive when you split it up like that, but I'd still say it's on the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to galbi prices. But at the same time, it was pretty good meat. i've never eaten at buga b4, but i hear it's a pretty nice place.

Barefoot Plumies said...

It certainly is more expensive compared to the AYCE bbq places but like you mentioned, the meat is a higher quality.

If you do get a chance and can splurge a bit, you should try Buga. I would certainly love to hear your take on the place.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin