korean BBQ with tatami seating?
When I was in New York city I was invited to eat Korean BBQ. It involved sitting on the floor with a group of friends. The meal started with soup and salad, then various cuts of beef and vegetables to grill were brought in. It ended with a selection of delicious red bean, green tea, and mango ice creams.
I am looking for a place similar to this. I know Korea Garden has it, but I've never seen anyone besides Asian men in business suits eating in the tatami rooms and I'm not quite sure if they have a grill. My only experience there is eating a strange fishhead soup, bulgulgi, and sushi rolls.
Does anyone know of any places offering a similar atmosphere and menu as I had in NY, or even anything good to say about Korea Garden if that is my only option for tatami seating?
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
Shilla has grills on their booth tables and offers a few different bbq options. I've admittedly never been in a group large enough to make the bbq option worthwhile, but I do like their hotpot and bi bim bap. They have at least one tatami room, but I've never been in it. I would assume they have a grill on the table and reserve it primarily for large groups who want to do the table-side bbq.
Chosun Galbi, the new Korean restaurant next to Shanghai near Highland, has the best Korean BBQ in town that I've tried. I don't know if they have tatami rooms, but the restaurant is huge by Korean restaurants in Austin standards so they very well might.
They do have gas grills in the booth tables.
First of all, Koreans don't do "tatami." Tatami is exclusive to Japanese. Koreans have traditional rooms and furniture that tend to be very Joseon era. Korea Garden doesn't sound very "korean" if they're using tatami rooms. It sounds more like a Sarangbang, which could be a Yangban's (nobleman's) receiving room or a study. Koreans don't have sushi rolls, they have kimbab (seaweed rice), which is similar to sushi but never has meat. California rolls are more comparable.
Your best bet would be to find an actual Korea Town near you. They're more likely to be authentic than just some Korean place that mixes all the wrong things together. The whole purpose in "China Town" or "Korea Town" is to give locals who moved to America some little place just like home, so that they don't get so homesick. That's why they'd be more authentic.
unfortunately, Austin doesn't have a "Korea Town" and several Korean restaurants serve "sushi," in addition to "Korean" fare.
Since posting in 2009, Korea Garden has closed and is now a ramen restaurant. I've also found a few restaurants that serve "Korean BBQ," but none with the "seating" that I was describing. Perhaps because whatever I experienced in NY was "inauthentic," but that's not to say it doesn't exist.