Thursday, February 10, 2011

dining with d-bomb

Since Dave "D-Bomb" Allen blogged about our dinner together, I reckon that turnabout is fair play. Or, rather, no fair that he should have the final word.

As he wrote, Dave and I took the train to Union Station, where K. picked us up after work. On the train, we did indeed chat about blogging[1], as well as Claremont and Pomona city politics, books, newspapers, restaurants, and books. Oh, and books.

Park's BBQ is on South Vermont, well south of where we used to live (yes, we spent a year in North Koreatown before we moved to Pomona). When we arrived, we were the only Caucasians in the room, as far as I could tell. Later, a couple of white-dude-Asian-girl couples came in.

Possibly because of our appearance of being clueless noobs, they seated us in the center of the room, and the staff hovered over us as if we were a trio of toddlers using cutlery for the first time. And no WAY were they going to let us grill our own bulgogi! One of half a dozen servers appeared tableside every few minutes to poke at the meat, adjust a dish, wipe our chins, or whatever. At one point they were all standing around us at once, and it was like being at an operating table, with the grill as the incision. Forceps!

The food was very good, but not as superlative as Jonathan Gold suggested. We checked out the basics -- bulgogi and dolsut bibimbap -- as well as the kimchi pancake. All three were good, but I'm sticking by my credo that Holt Avenue's own KBBQ has the best marinade I've ever tasted in the US.

I'm a big fan of the panchan (all the small dishes), and these were pretty good. I was not wild about their kimchi, though. It may very well have special homestyle appeal to a Korean (it had a slightly musty funky taste), but I like KBBQ's better. I also prefer my own homemade and, for that matter, the storebought at either Marukai or Market World.

One nice touch was the two big bowls of salad -- one cabbage and one scallion -- served with the panchan. I particularly feasted on the latter, which was the green tails of scallions sliced lengthwise to make something like spaghetti, and then dressed in vinegar and sesame seeds. I should see if I can replicate it at home.

Overall, an excellent meal with even better company. Now we just need to drag D-Bomb to KBBQ so he can see what real bulgogi's all about.

[1]Although! Let the record show that I started blogging again more frequently before our dinner together -- specifically after a glass of wine with Pride in Garfield Park and Miz Lois, who gave me a whole list of things to blog about.


Ms. Lois said...

Nice write up, Meg. Our sociable benefited by your dining with David. He called and asked about the sociable and he put it in his column. I was told by someone I didn't recognize that the Little House TV show is indeed still on television on the hallmark channel. Only someone who read David's column would have corrected me. :) btw we had a very nice turnout, much better than the last several years.

Empoprises said...

I know nothing about Korean food, but I gather that you thought that the wait staff was a little TOO attentive...

K said...

My recollection is that we had short ribs, rather than dolsut bibimbop (rice in a steaming hot stone bowl), along with the bulgogi and funky pancake. A fine meal, but it did feel a little fussier than the several other Korean BBQ joints we've frequented.

theabc said...

I love it when they flip and grill all the meat for you. that's service. did ajuma do the same for the other tables?

David Allen said...

Good recap of our meal, Meg. But K is correct. We considered bibimbap, but when you asked if I'd tried the dish before, and I said I had, you suggested the short ribs instead.

Also, didn't mean to imply you started blogging again after our conversation, merely that "of late" you've been blogging again. Which I'm sure all your readers (like me!) are glad to see.

Now if you could only get K to post now and then...