We were recommended this restaurant years ago, as ma sœur and I asked an elderly Korean gentleman (owner of a variety store) for his opinion. After getting over the formality to recommend a business, he wrote this restaurant down for us almost with a sense of pride.
Ever since we have visited numerous times, never leaving without a good impression.
From the outside, Sariwon Korean BBQ has a large curved window wall with red awning spanning on the side. Around, plenty of large Korean characters adore the facade, standing out on this large concrete plaza. The actual logo is on the second floor and somewhat less noticeable from the ground level when standing next to the restaurant.
Our great experience starts from the entrance, after going through the large double doors, all the staff briskly greets you with a smile. Then comes the custom interior which curves and circles in harmony.
We had made a reservation, as the place is always full, plus we wanted a BBQ table. We walked around the interior to our table - with a clean BBQ insert in the middle and a high exhaust vent over it, looking like a stylized lamp.
Their menu looks classic and conservative - with a heavy leather cover and their clean logo ( flame on a plate drawn forming from ink-like stokes). Inside they are not too impressive apart from the plenty of professional photos. Unfortunately though, those photos are not that easy to match up with the dishes. However they do have english translations of all their items - yes, the names in latin letter for those brave enough to pronounce and also a brief description. We ordered a few appetizers to start TempuRa (shrimp and veggies), ChapChae (korean vermicelli with beef and veggies) and a chicken cashew dish (chinese style) I cannot remember the exact name of. Our meat options were: YangYumKalBi (korean style beef ribs marinates in special sweet sauce), SaengKalBi (fresh beef ribs), and ZuMulLuk (beef marinated in special Korean sesame sauce). We also had to try their korean beer - Cass. It was light and easy-going.
All the small side dishes made their way to our table quite fast, accompanied by our appetizers. We all really enjoyed the ChapChae - korean vermicelli dish, it was almost salad-like. It made us wander why we mainly come here for BBQ. We need to their their main dishes more often. We later on ordered a wonderful dish which had the word "chinese" in its name. Also a big hit - chicken, veggies, nuts, sweet & sour sauce - although it sounds like it, not heavy at all.
And, by the way, all tables have a bell, so there is no need to run around to catch a waiter. We learned that the hard way.
But lets focus on our main entertainment - the BBQ. We had our waitress start the grill and elegantly lay our meats down for us. she also brought us scissors which we realized we use only at the end when the meat is cooked (not to remove any lovely juices). She also put a mushroom every time with the meat, I think that was to help gage how cooked the meat is. What makes this place unique is that everyone get a bowl of rice, two dipping sauces (a salty sesame one and a dark BBQ one) as well as lettuce leafs. Once the meat is cooked you dip it in one of the sauces and then wrap it in a lettuce leaf filled with rice and some side dish. It is delicious and healthy! The first time around we came here they had to teach us how it is done.
Meat-wise, we started off with the fresh SaengKalBi. To be honest it was a bit too tight for me to enjoy chewing. Next the marinated ribs (YangYumKalBi) came thinly sliced with the bone at the very end - they were tender and delicious. Lastly the ZuMulLuk was also marinated and lovely. Makes my mouth water just recalling the experience.
I should note that our waitress was around to help us when the meat was ready too, at least for the first few plates.
This time we realized that the space is rather large and there is a second floor which we have not ever gone up to visit yet. We also got worried near the end of our visit that they were closing down, however a few couples walked in and were welcomed warmly, so we relaxed.
It will be a hard trade with the delicious BBQ meats, but when we are back next time we really need to try more of their dishes.