This week we take a break from cooking, grilling and smoking and share a dining experience.
We celebrated our daughter Emily’s birthday this past weekend, and being a foodie like the rest of our family, she picked a new restaurant in Louisville for us all to try called GOGi 1055, and no, that’s not a typo. I wish I could give you some reason or meaning behind the “I” being in lower case, but, unfortunately, I ran out of time. I can tell you that “gogi” in Korean means “meat.”
I have watched a number of food documentaries detailing Korean BBQ, and frankly, you need to forget everything you know about BBQ here in the states when giving this a try. Why?
Because best I can tell Korean BBQ is a totally different animal, closer in cooking technique to grilling over high heat, which is what we do when grilling burgers, brats steaks or chops. Some of us inaccurately refer to this as “having a BBQ,” or “barbecuing.” In accurate American culinary language, BBQ is the end result of cooking meat over wood low and slow, and it is never used as a verb. In Korea this is not the case.
The restaurant had large cooking stations/tables with small, circular grilling stations in the middle of the table. If you are looking for a relaxing meal where you and your guests are simply served food, this probably isn’t your cup of tea.
The experience is high energy where you or a guest at your table is responsible for overseeing the grilling of the meats presented. Your waiter is available to help you with the grilling if you feel you need it, but he/she is so darn busy bringing wave after wave of dishes and entrees to the table I would recommend you be prepared to do the cooking yourself, and frankly, that’s what I was hoping for anyway.
We had a table of seven people and ordered the GOGI combo. Ironically enough the “I” is uppercase on the menu, but I digress.
The meats were thinly sliced beef brisket, pork belly, pork collar, pork jowl, top sirloin, marinated short rib and BulGOGi. The BulGOGi (lowercase I) was cooked in the kitchen. The brisket cooked very quickly as it was so thin.
The other items took a bit more care and time as they were thicker. We also had the Korean egg soufflé, the seafood pancake, cheesy corn (this seemed a bit out of place to me), pickled and thinly sliced radishes, and kimchi, which is a Korean version of sauerkraut. Our family loved the spicy kimchi.
What made the meats delicious was the charring and caramelization of the fat over the high heat, especially the pork meats. Various dips are provided, including seasoned sea salt. I can assure you these meat dishes can be recreated at home, which will happen at my house very soon.
While I know most of my readers are not in the Louisville metro area, you should definitely search out an authentic Korean restaurant and give it a try when you have the opportunity. Make sure they cook the meat at your table, as that is what gives you the full Korean BBQ experience.
It was a really fun evening and the food was outstanding. Be prepared to be totally immersed in the dining experience.